Monday, October 15, 2012

Oh SNAP!

So earlier today some chick on twitter starts going on about food stamps. Some young, white chick got into a little convo with me about food stamps and people taking advantage of the system and tax dollars and whatnot and I got to thinking.
How many times do people complain about their tax dollars going to support lazy people who refuse to find work or who milk the system?
All the time.
So many people assume those on assistance are lazy and/or don’t really need the help. But regardless, here’s the deal….
The people who are on assistance actually do need it. How do I know? Because they won’t give you assistance unless you need it. I love how everyone thinks that you can just walk into an office, say “I want food stamps,” and they just give it to you and say “have a nice day.”
Wrong.
But since those who complain about it have never needed assistance, they wouldn’t know. They don’t know that you have to give every bit of information about yourself. Name, birth date, birth certificate and SSN of everyone living under the same roof, all sources of income, bank accounts, how much cash you have in your wallet, whether or not you own ANYTHING, etc. Then they call you in for an interview to get further proof.
If you make too much or are too young or too old or have no children (cash assistance only) then you are ineligible. My mother was making $25,000 to support 5 kids and she DID NOT qualify for food stamps. When I was 21, I had a newborn and couldn’t work because I had no childcare. I didn’t qualify then because (even though I paid rent) I was living in my mother’s house. If they gave food stamps to just anyone, don’t you think we’d all have them.
And what’s more important is this….
Food stamps buy food. Food feeds children. So why are you complaining about feeding children? Are you that upset that your precious tax dollars are used to feed children who may not otherwise eat?
Let’s take a second to break it down and see how much of your hard earned money actually goes towards food stamps.
According to www.whitehouse.gov/2011-taxreceipt 3.7% of your tax money goes towards food and nutritional assistance. Which includes, food stamps (now called SNAP), free and reduced school lunch programs, and WIC (provides nutritional foods for pregnant/breastfeeding women and children under the age of 5). Only 3.7%. For a single person making $25,000 a year (which is $10,000 more than minimum wage), only $65.68 of your hard earned money goes to all 3 programs combined. That’s less than $3.00 a paycheck.
$3.00.
Are you really that bent out of shape over $3.00? Is that $3.00 so important to you that you’d rather starve a family? People are really disgusting. Instead of complaining about food stamps, you should be more concerned with what our national defenses are taking.
24.9% of our tax dollars go towards national defense. 24.9% goes to Lord knows what and you’re complaining about 3.7% and we know exactly where it goes. To feed people.
Really it’s simple when you look at it, but everyone would rather remain ignorant and complain that they have to spend money (that they have) on food while those who are too poor get help.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Portrait of Gentrification

In 1996, my family was fortunate to move into a home that we built through Habitat for Humanity. Our house, which my mother now owns outright, is in the Woodlawn neighborhood of NE Portland. In the past 16 years, I've watched the neighborhood change drastically.
Earlier this evening, I had a conversation with my mother. About a year ago, they made one of the cross streets into a bike path and in the name of safety, they painted a mural in the middle of our intersection to grab drivers' attention and slow traffic. She told me they were having a block party to touch up the mural and that someone may be coming by to get supplies from her. Upon hearing how excited she was about it, I simply said, "I refuse to help these white folks in their gentrification of my neighborhood."
Of course she got upset with me for disagreeing with her. I wasn't trying to argue, just stating that I wanted nothing to do with the white people who were changing this community unless it involved uplifting our people. And we all know the only kind of uplifting they want for us is to lift our asses up out of here and send  us towards the outskirts of town.
At first my mother somewhat denied the fact that this area was being gentrified. And then I reminded her that when we moved in there were only 3 white families on the block and now there are only 4 Black families. Looking at the census, in 1990 58% of the Woodlawn neighborhood was Black, in 2000 32%, and in 2010 26%. Even the neighborhood schools have always been the "Black schools" like Jefferson, Woodlawn, Tubman, Whitaker, and King. What used to be a predominately minority neighborhood is now teeming with white hipsters, their bikes, Subarus, band practices, and hemp products.
We've all seen the city being gentrified over the years. They come in, raise rent, increase taxes, take away street parking, move us out, take over and then rename our streets after our historical figures. Union became MLK, Portland became Rosa Parks, 39th became Caesar Chavez. (If they ever do get a hold of Jefferson High School, I wouldn't be surprised if they renamed it after Malcom X.)
I'm just tired of it. I'm tired of acting like its not happening. I'm tired of these bastards smiling my face every morning knowing they just can't wait for our Black asses to leave and raise their property value. Im tired of my mother receiving letters and phone calls for the white couple begging to buy and repair the house that we literally built with our own hands. I'm just tired.
But unfortunately, my fatigue means nothing.
Fin.

Thursday, May 17, 2012