Applying Racial Equity to U.S. Federal Nutrition Assistance Programs - Flipbook - Page 12
Existing programs that have already been proven to work, such as SNAP,
WIC, and Child Nutrition programs, can become a larger part of the solution
by applying a racial equity lens. This would be a first step toward closing the
persistent racial divide in food insecurity rates. It would also contribute to
recipients of all races reaching an optimal nutritional status. (It is important
to note that there are other programs, part of a larger continuum of nutrition
services, that are not discussed in this report).
Moreover, nutrition programs alone will not end racial disparities in
nutrition or hunger, as shown in Figure 2. Other non-nutrition policies and
practices that impact hunger (as outlined in Figure 2) should also apply a racial
equity lens. Strengthening racial equity in these particular federal nutrition
programs is a key step toward gradually eliminating inequities.
There are also costs associated with failing to address racial disparities—
disparities are likely to worsen, pushing the United States further from its food
security and nutrition goals.
WHAT ABOUT FOOD
INSECURITY RATES AMONG
The U.S. Census does not report
food insecurity rates broken
down by ethnicity and household
type. Also, not all Southeast
Asian communities are included
in the current U.S. Census
database on food insecurity.
For a chart on food insecurity among
specific Southeast Asian communities,
not disaggregated by household type,
see Appendix 30.
Understanding the Curb-Cut Effect
As mentioned earlier, SNAP, WIC, and Child Nutrition programs have been effective in meeting families’ immediate needs.
Applying a racial equity lens to these programs will not only reduce hunger in communities of color more quickly, but will also
help food-insecure people of all races.
A paper in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, “The Curb-Cut Effect,”26 raised the
concept of equity benefitting the whole by using, as an example, curb cuts in sidewalks. Curb
that everyone has
cuts, which replace sections of the curb with small ramps, were originally designed to help
people with mobility challenges, particularly people who use wheelchairs, access sidewalks
the opportunity to
and streets more easily. Although they were put in place to help a specific group of people
take the bus. Equity
achieve equal outcomes, curb cuts benefit everyone who uses sidewalks—people with children
supplies the “curb
in strollers, people bringing groceries home in rolling carts, people moving into apartments
using hand trucks, etc.
cut” to help ensure
“The Curb-Cut Effect” also explains the differences between equity and equality.
that everyone can
Equality means that everyone has the opportunity to take the bus. Equity supplies the “curb
get on the bus.”
cut” to help ensure that everyone can get on the bus. (See glossary for terms in bold and see
the graphic below for the difference between equality and equity).
Curb cuts were the result of a conscious decision followed by implementation. They did not materialize on their own when
people who use wheelchairs
faced barriers to travel. This
is why applying a racial equity
lens is critical: deliberate
steps are needed to reverse
structural and institutional
discrimination. While this
report focuses on racial
equity, it reflects a pattern of
thinking that can be applied
to other forms of equity, such
as class or gender equity.
To learn more about the
wider economic benefits
of achieving racial equity,
please see the W.K. Kellogg
Foundation’s report on
the business case for racial
APPLYING RACIAL EQUITY TO U.S. FEDERAL NUTRITION ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS: SNAP, WIC AND CHILD NUTRITION