Applying Racial Equity to U.S. Federal Nutrition Assistance Programs - Flipbook - Page 54
Below are a few vocabulary words for this report
Hunger: Hunger is more than the stomach pains we associate with skipping meals. The U.S. Department of Agriculture
measures hunger using the concept of food security,227 or whether a person or household has regular, reliable access to the food
needed for good health. A food secure individual or family is able to consistently eat enough nutritious food with no indication
of problems with gaining access to food.228 People with low food security may be forced to buy cheaper but less nutritious foods so
they can feel full for less money, and they may worry about running out of money for food altogether.229 The USDA category
very low food security includes people forced to skip meals or otherwise “reduce their food intake.”230 The nutrient-poor diets
associated with low food security frequently cause or worsen short-term and long-term health problems.231
Equity: Equity is a state in which all people in a given society share equal rights, access, opportunities,232 and outcomes that are
not predicted or influenced by their identity characteristics,233 including race, gender, and class. Equity is achieved by providing
targeted investments to support people in different circumstances in benefiting equally from opportunities. Such equitable
opportunities lead to equal outcomes. There are many types of equity, such as racial equity, gender equity, and class equity.
Equality: Equality has traditionally been defined as “treating everyone the same.” But doing this cannot lead to equal or
optimal outcomes because it does not account for different circumstances and needs or the impact of historical discrimination.
By accounting for these factors, equality would foster equitable outcomes.
Racial Equity: Racial equity is achieved when communities of color are supported in ways that help compensate for the
structural discrimination they encounter. Targeted investments provide equitable opportunities for communities of color that
lead to equal outcomes among communities of color and their white counterparts and eventually to optimal outcomes for each
community. For more on this, see Appendix, Tool 2.
Racial Equity Lens: Applying a racial equity lens is the process through which providing opportunity and access to opportunity
become equitable. Applying a racial equity lens provides targeted support to communities of color to create equitable
opportunities that eliminate racial disparities and eventually lead to optimal outcomes for communities of color.
Equity-Centered Approaches: Equity-centered approaches are designed to move people toward equality by providing
targeted, equitable support based on circumstances or need.
Centering: In general, this means focusing on the needs of marginalized communities. In the context of this paper, it means
focusing on the needs and barriers that communities of color face. As a result of focusing on these needs and making informed
decisions to address them, programs and policies become more racially equitable.
Access: The ability to attain a particular good, opportunity, or treatment. Individuals do not face geographic, transportation,
monetary, linguistic, time, or cultural barriers to “entering,” nor do they face such barriers when receiving or participating in a
treatment, opportunity, or good. This definition enables people to see that access is “only fair.” For more, see the section on the
curb-cut effect on page 12.
Concentrated Poverty: Concentrated poverty means that 20 percent or more of a community’s households live below the
poverty line.234 Concentrated poverty is associated with a variety of deserts, including food deserts, transit deserts, and assetbuilding deserts, where neighborhoods with predominately residents of color lack access to full-fledged grocery stores, public
transportation, equitable financial institutions, and many other goods. Concentrated poverty can exist in urban, suburban, and
rural settings, including reservations.
People of Color: People of color are all people who are not white or of European parentage. The U.S. census problematically
categorizes some people of color as white, including non-black Latino/as and people of Arab descent. In this paper, the term
includes all people of color but emphasizes communities of color in the United States that have the highest rates of hunger. This
includes Indigenous communities (Alaskan Native and American Indian), African American and Pan African communities,
which can include black Latino/as; Latino/as (an ethnicity that can encompass black, Indigenous, Asian, and other), Native
Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, and some groups of Southeast Asian descent (Laotians, Cambodians, and Burmese).
Note: Latino/a is used instead of Latino to include both Latinos and Latinas.
Racial Nutrition Divide: The racial nutritional divide refers to a set of nutritional disparities between people of color and
their white counterparts. Applying a racial equity lens would result in communities of color having equitable access and
opportunity that would eliminate such disparities.
APPLYING RACIAL EQUITY TO U.S. FEDERAL NUTRITION ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS: SNAP, WIC AND CHILD NUTRITION