Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Page 143

I’ve seen a lot of witty pictures, opinion columns, and other articles flying around various social media sites regarding the working class opinion of recipients of welfare services; more specifically, that person at the front of your line using their “food stamps” at the market.  First, let me clarify that they are now called SNAP Benefits, although even the recipients of these benefits still refer to them as food stamps. 

Everything (and I am not exaggerating this in any way), I have seen has referenced the user’s perfectly manicured finger nails, their perfectly coifed hair, their brand new cell phone, their nice car (nicer than the author’s car), etc. 

Let me share a story about that woman using her snap benefits in line in front of you.  Those nails you claimed are perfectly manicured?  Those are her real nails that she cares for herself.  It’s something she does late at night when her children are in bed while she thinks about her day and the next day and how her family is going to make it through the month. 

That hair that is perfectly coifed?  She hasn’t been to a hair dresser in over a year because she can’t afford it.  She has learned how to stylishly keep it up, how to tuck the dead, frayed ends in so that she looks good for the job interview…  like the one she is on her way home from when you saw her. 

That NEW cell phone?  Well, it’s the one that she was able to get for free signing up for a contract plan with a provider so she could have a phone.  It’s the only phone she has.  She needs it for job interviews, to keep in touch with the schools should there be an emergency with her children, and email to SEND resumes for jobs.  She doesn’t have a computer because she can’t afford one.  That cell phone is her lifeline to a better life. 

Her nice car?  Well, that car was sold to her by her parents.  It is a nice car because they kept it nice.   She makes them small payments as she can afford it to reimburse them.  Because of their generosity and kindness, she has a reliable vehicle in which to transport her children and make it to job interviews and doctor appointments. 

How do I know all this?  I know this because I am a recipient of SNAP Benefits. 

I have no doubt there are recipients of benefits out there that are probably playing the system.  However, to lump all SNAP Benefit recipients into this category is somewhat prejudicial don’t you think? 
If you have nothing better to do, and have enough time to devote to judging that person using a SNAP Benefits card in front of you, then you need a new hobby. 

With all the current issues in the news of racism, prejudice, and homophobia over gay marriage going on in this world, do we really need to contribute to more out casting of members of our society?  The citizens of this country are turning on themselves!  It’s no wonder we are no longer the world dominator that we once use to be. 

As advanced as society is, one cold hard fact remains true…  You should NEVER judge a book by its cover.  

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