There is so much about the subtext of food stamps in this piece I don't even know where to start other than to say I wish more people who qualified for them took advantage and I wish our stupid culture didn't act as if being poor meant you were justly cursed by god.
Young, Privileged, and Applying for Food Stamps | The Billfold
One recent Friday morning, I went to work. Not to any glass-blocked high rise, or a sprawl of windowless office buildings, but a corner cafe, four minutes from my apartment. With my $1.50 cup of coffee in hand, I dropped my bag and sat down next to my housemate, also a freelancer-slash-struggling-painter, and a new friend. At some point, our casual conversation turned to the stack of papers sticking out from my seam-busted bag: My application for food stamps. Turned out, this new friend had been on them for a few months. I hadn’t even noticed them tighten, but in a second, my shoulders slumped at ease.
“Go to this grocery store,” she said. “They let you buy beer and toilet paper.” I smiled slightly, less because of the beer, and more out of relief to be talking with someone who’d been through this sort of thing. I’d never been on any form of government assistance. I’d also never been more unsure of how I’d make rent in a few weeks.
As we volleyed ideas for the most obscene items to buy with food stamps (a cheese wheel from Whole Foods, we decided), a woman seated next to us leaned forward, her words darting out faster than we could dodge them. “Excuse me, but you’re all disgusting. And if I had time to spare, I would report you.” We were silent, which was her apparent cue to continue. She got on us about the starving people in the U.S., about the people who live in the projects just down the street from us, about draining resources that are meant for truly needy populations of people.
Our irony had fallen on the wrong ears. “But that’s what this service is for,” my housemate responded, relaying the simple facts of our less than part-time (mine) and nonexistent (his, currently) incomes. “How is it wrong?”
“Because you’re overeducated white people,” she said. “Just get a job.”