Working Families And The Work Of Social Services In West Baltimore
In the 1990s Sociologist Patricia Fernandez-Kelly was a research scientist at the Johns Hopkins Institute for Policy Studies when her research into what effects de-industrialization was having on city residents took her into West Baltimore. She immersed herself in the lives of several families, working to understand their experience and in particular, the relation between them and government.
The result is the book Fernandez-Kelly published this spring: The Hero’s Fight—African-Americans in West Baltimore and the Shadow of the State. Patricia Fernandez-Kelly joins us on the line from Princeton University, where she’s now a senior lecturer in sociology.
You paint a picture of a very warped relationship between government agencies – local, state and federal – and poor people. You basically say government workers view the poor – who in the city are overwhelming black – as burdens, not people.