Jane Galt links to my post on food stamps and mentions that when she was in the grocery store recently, she asked a cashier what the acronym “EBT,” something on the supermarket checkout machines, stood for. Jane is white. The cashier was black. The cashier stared at her and said, “That’s for food stamps.” Jane felt dumb, as many of us probably would, and could feel her privilege staring her in the face. She walked out feeling like the cashier was thinking that she was a stupid, rich white suburban idiot.
Jane’s commenters did not like this story. I’m not going to address their arguments because, well, they don’t really have any beyond “you thought that she thought that you were a white idiot? Well what if she was an uppity black?! REVERSE RACISM!,” which is just silly, considering that the cashier didn’t actually say anything to Jane other than giving her the answer to her question, even if it was delivered in an incredulous way. And yet the cashier was the one who, according to commenters, lacked graciousness and was rude.
In other news, according to Jane’s commenters, I’m “angry.”* Fair enough. Not having enough to eat, or only having access to low-cost low-nutrition foods because of where we happen to live or because of the families we were born in to, makes me angry. Sharing my country with people who apparently feel absolutely no responsibility or empathy for their fellow human beings makes me angry. Seeing undeniable racial lines when it comes to class, economics, and access to the basics like healthy food and a good education, living in a country with a deeply racist history that continues to thrive even if it’s easy for the economic elite to ignore, and then reading white people complain about “double standards” and “racist stereotypes against white people” as if the situations were anywhere near analogous makes me angry. Yes, I am angry. In the paraphrased immortal words of someone I can’t remember, if you aren’t angry, you’re not paying attention.
But it’s not Jane’s post that’s of primary interest to me (not to say that Jane’s post isn’t interesting — it is — and Jane is definitely an intelligent woman whose thoughts are worth reading, even if we don’t see eye to eye on everything). It’s this post from TJICistan that caught my eye. TJIC also links back to my food stamps/obesity post, quoting this paragraph:
What’s making you fat now? Food stamps.
The argument goes something like this: Low-income people are more likely to be overweight than wealthier Americans. Low-income people are often on food stamps. Therefore, we should re-vamp the foodstamp program because clearly federal food relief leads to obesity. Also, poor people today (read: uppity Negroes) feel entitled to things like food, unlike the humble poor of yesteryear (read: white people, as evidenced by the examples used by the conservative authors – the characters in “Cinderella Man” and “Angela’s Ashes”), who knew enough to be humiliated by their economic situation…
The amusing thing is that when the poster goes way overboard trying to exaggerate the Republican stance on things, she gets about halfway to my position.
Except for the word “uppity” – that’s not really my kind of phrase.
He’ll just stick with “Negroes,” thank you very much.
(And for the record, I wasn’t trying to illustrate the “Republican” perspective so much as the argument of the authors of the Hoover article. But that’s beside the point.)
Earlier in his post he writes:
Yeah, dumb, privileged middle class white Jane Galt stayed in school, graduated, didn’t get pregant, didn’t yell at her bosses for “dissin’ her”, and thus, quickly ended up in the middle class…where she generates sufficient wealth to allow her to pay for her groceries herself, as opposed to making bad choices, generating minimal value, and being a net drain on the productivity of others.
How much do you want to bet that he’ll throw a hissy fit when I say he’s racist? Double points if he comes back and tells me that no, I’m the racist, because he’s colorblind and just expects those lazy black folks to pull their own weight the same way that hard-working white people do.
*I know we’ve been over this before, but I’m always entertained when female bloggers are accused of being “angry,” as if it’s horribly unbecoming, while the boy bloggers are just as angry, but coming from them it’s “passion” or “righteousness” or simply “exactly what you’d expect from a politically opinionated person.” What’s the deal? Is it because the furrowed brow doesn’t go so well with the titties?