Tuesday, June 14, 2011

This is What Classism Looks Like

You guys, I love Snopes. It is one of the best things ever. Also, reading it regularly helps me look like I have a fantastic bullshit meter, heh.

It also functions as kind of a touchstone for what people get freaked out about. Which apparently includes the occasional purchase of fancy food with government assistance. If you visit the link, you will find that someone bought a bunch of lobster and steak with food stamps. They then attempted to resell those items, which is illegal, but a bare image of the receipt was emailed around, getting people riled up over the very idea that someone would buy lobster with food stamps.

This sort of thing drives me nuts. None of us make the best financial decisions all the time. (I'm referring to the idea of someone buying lobster, which is what the emailer got freaked out over, not the reality of someone trying to commit food stamp fraud.) Sometimes it's because we make a mistake, but a lot of time it's because we want something. And in those cases we often tell ourselves that we deserve whatever that something is because because because, yet we are far less willing to allow others to do the same.

You shouldn't have to trade your personhood for government assistance. Sentiments like "the card should be limited to beans, rice, milk, and fresh veggies" are paternalistic and dehumanizing. If your idea of charity requires people to trade their dignity for survival, that's not really charity at all.


  1. "Buying fancy food with foodstamsps" belongs in the same category as "Welfare queen" and other conservative scare-tropes.

    One of the most important differences between reactionaries and intelligent people is that the latter group can recognize that one or two examples of somebody taking advantage of a system does not in and of itself mean that the system is bad. The mouth breathers, on the other hand, hear one anecdote about a person gaming the system and go all "ZOMG NO MORE ASSISTANCE FOR THE POORS!!*!@#!@^"

  2. Exactly. Also, "welfare queen" has a nasty racist undertone to it.