Starving People is Bad or Starving People are Bad?

By: Joshua Oliver  

After the end of World War II the western world decided that the act of starving people is bad. The aftermath of Stalin's hunger based genocide in Ukraine, famine in India, and the ravages of the Great Depression prompted governments around the world to institute domestic and international food security programs, including school lunch initiatives. Currently the United States school lunch program focuses on feeding 30 million students each year. However, the foods that are offered to these students are notoriously unhealthy. Moreover, these programs, by design and impact, exist at the intersection of institutional racism and classism in American society today. Recent years have seen massive cuts to food based welfare programs alongside increasing negative public portrayals of the people who benefit from these programs. The combination of these cuts as well as increased stigma and stereotypes against those who benefit from these programs show a growing perspective that starving people are in and of themselves bad. This research will examine the racial and socio-economic biases exhibited by the U.S. school lunch program by analyzing Free and Reduced Lunch, demographics of Free/Reduced Lunch Participants, nutritional value and health consequences of U.S. school lunches, and how school lunch programs in different parts of the world operate. The research will also analyze what the goals of the federal government in the United States are with school lunch. Do they exist because starving people is bad or because starving people are bad?

School Lunch Hunger
Food, Politics, and Cultures
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Joshua Oliver

Undergraduate Student, Political Science, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, United States
-, United States

Virginia Tech Class of 2020