The Poverty Dress Code

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We’ve all heard it. We all know someone who regularly shouts about it. We all know it’s happening. Why are we so quiet about it?

What I’m referring to is this demonizing of people on food stamps, or SNAP, because they don’t look impoverished enough to justify getting aid from the stance of our privileged worldview.

This is something that really pisses me off.

Let me break it down for you. Only 10% of those who qualify for SNAP are unemployed. The majority are the working poor trying to feed their families. SNAP takes an extremely small amount of our tax dollars to maintain, so I have no idea why it’s such a talking point for pundits to focus on, as if it’s bankrupting the nation. The thing bankrupting the nation would be CORPORATE WELFARE, not food stamps.

Many of the people on SNAP still need to dress well and have a cell phone for their jobs. Just because someone requires aid doesn’t mean they should immediately trade in their belongings for things that look appropriate impoverished just to make you feel better. Get over yourself. It’s a position of arrogance from privilege that leads to this viewpoint of the “moochers on welfare.” Fuck you.

These people are out friends, our neighbors, out families. These are people who haven’t been as lucky as you. Yes, lucky. In this economy, where there are 3 jobs for every 1 job seeker, and most of those jobs pay low enough so that you STILL qualify for SNAP to make ends meet, the fact that you don’t need it is luck. You were fortunate to land the right jobs, or be born with a bit of money, or be a young white male in America, so that you don’t necessarily have to know what it feels like to be hungry, and watch your children be hungry, through no fault of your own. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. You shouldn’t either.

Stop shaming the poor. Stop assuming that they should look more poor so that you feel better about the tiny fraction of your tax dollars that goes to them. Start at least acting like a moral human being and realizing that the world isn’t as simple as that.

Think before you speak.

Contributor: Robert Sacerich

Robert is a Philosophy of Science and Bioethics student, as well as blogger and science advocate/activist. He has worked extensively within the secular community for various secular nonprofit organizations and public communication causes.

See his full bio!

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