Don’t Let Them Eat Cake

“My family always received SNAP and TANF benefits…. and as long as mom didn’t trade too many of our bennies for cash, we could buy fast and easy garbage food with SNAP so that us kids could leave her alone and feed ourselves. I was never taught how to do anything remotely like “cook an actual meal,” “work with raw ingredients,” or “make time to prepare and feed myself nutritious food.” I could not do any of that stuff as a kid and was not magically inculcated with that knowledge as an adolescent or young adult. I did not have a mentor or adult friend who could show me the ropes, so I was flying completely blind…  I ate like that for a really long time because I didn’t know how else to eat. It became an undeniably clear class marker in adulthood, and it made me so embarrassed. Other than white potatoes, I didn’t eat a single vegetable that was not from of a can until I was 24 years old. Dude! Let people buy shitty food with SNAP. We don’t have time to cook or there is no one to teach us or it’s either another pack of ramen or nothing.I don’t care about bootstraps. I don’t care if you were able to take care of yourself without asking for help. Good for you, really, but I don’t care. Proliferating your luck and your choices as the ultimate ideal of self-sustainment does absolutely nothing but shame people who are already suffuse with shame, people who aren’t lucky — yes, LUCKY — enough to possess the resources and wherewithal to get themselves out of the quicksand. What I do care about is that there are thousands (millions!) of people who are in the same position I was in for the first half of my life, and if bills like this continue to be embraced by the public at large, tacitly or silently, we will continue to move toward a society in which those people will start to go hungry even more often than they already do… But I would not have been able to make it if the government had been stepping in to prevent me from eating the only food that was easy enough for a child to prepare by herself. This is real. Please think about this before you get angry when you see a poor person buying a cake.”

Commenter on a Metafilter discussion about Wisconsin’s legislation barring SNAP/food-stamp recipients from buying certain foods.