The Repubican GOP recently announced a bill that would allegedly stop recipients from eating unhealthy food by banning cookies, chips, energy drinks, seafood and steak. According to lawmaker Rick Brattin “”The intention of the bill is to get the food stamp program back to its original intent, which is nutrition assistance,”
Oh is THAT the reason? Because it sounds a lot like its conservatives have found yet another way to police what they think that poor people deserve. Again we are battling the stereotype of the black “welfare queen” who is living it up throwing lavish parties and rolling around in a BMW while hard working white people foot the bill. But poor people shouldn’t ENJOY their lives. No no no. Poor people are supposed to be struggling so they need to be happy with hot dogs, bologna and Top Ramen. You can’t but cookies and chips to put in your kids lunch and you can’t buy steak to celebrate your partners new job. Not on the GOP’s dime. Apparently all poor people should be eating is chicken, pork and the “poor” cuts of beef. It sounds like the exact conditions that brought us cultural delicacies like chitlins. I bring up the cultural traditions of chitlins and other innards because this story sounds eerily similar to the ways in which slavemasters dictated the dietary conditions of their slaves. “They should be glad they have anything to eat.” If this bill does in fact make it into law, how exactly does a group of privileged men who probably don’t even make dinner in their own homes let alone buy all of the groceries in the home decide what people “deserve.” According to the lawmakers logic, poor people should not be buying anything that they as established political figures can’t afford. But how much of what they “can’t afford” is subsidized by food allowances from the state? Because I guarantee that they are not sitting around eating fatty cuts of beef so that they don’t bust their budget. They aren’t living on cold beans or Top Ramen. They are at places like Whole Foods buying expensive, organic, grass fed steaks and kale. Who are they to tell underprivileged they are not allowed to live the same healthy lifestyle.
It reminded me of an article I wrote that was originally published on Black Girl Dangerous last year about the fight for food justice in urban communities. You can read it here:
“Chitlins, Traditions & Food Justice”