Poverty and racism: How we think and talk about poverty reduction matters


  • Jacob Alhassan University of Saskatchewan
  • Colleen Christopherson-Cote Saskatoon Poverty Reduction Partnership




Poverty reduction, advocacy, anti-racism, discourse


There is a close connection between poverty and racism yet insufficient literature integrates anti-racist praxis in poverty reduction work. We draw here on the first stage of a project that brought together the Saskatoon Poverty Reduction Partnership (SPRP) and the Saskatchewan Anti-Racism Network (ARN) to explore possibilities for better alignment of the advocacy of both organizations. We conducted a media discourse analysis of 462 newspaper articles systematically extracted from grey literature site Factiva on how poverty reduction is framed and how media reportage links poverty and racism in Saskatchewan. We find that very few newspaper articles published on poverty reduction focus on the connections between poverty and racism. Additionally, there are four dominant ways of framing poverty reduction namely: i) the cost framing of poverty reduction ii) the shame and embarrassment framing of poverty reduction iii) the human rights framing of poverty reduction and iv) the root cause analyses of poverty reduction. The cost and shame framings of poverty reduction may further marginalize or de-center those living in poverty compared to the human rights and root cause framings. More explicit connection needs to be made between poverty reduction work and anti-racist praxis for effective advocacy. 

Author Biographies

Jacob Alhassan, University of Saskatchewan

is an Assistant Professor in Community Health and Epidemiology at University of Saskatchewan. He is trained in health administration, global health, African studies and population health from the universities of Ghana, Durham, Oxford and Saskatchewan. He is an activist scholar interested in the poverty-racism-health nexus. Email: jacob.alhassan@usask.ca 

Colleen Christopherson-Cote, Saskatoon Poverty Reduction Partnership

is the coordinator of the Saskatoon Poverty Reduction Partnership. She been working in community economic development for over 15 years across Saskatchewan. She has extensive knowledge on the complexity of human service systems and the intricacies of how policy and practice indirectly and directly impact community, particularly those who are most vulnerable, marginalized and oppressed.


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How to Cite

Alhassan, J., & Christopherson-Cote, C. (2024). Poverty and racism: How we think and talk about poverty reduction matters. Engaged Scholar Journal: Community-Engaged Research, Teaching, and Learning, 10(1), 34–44. https://doi.org/10.15402/esj.v10i1.70848



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