The Purpose Of Food Stamps

Jun 4 2012 @ 7:36am

Karina Briski recounts how a stranger berated her and a housemate for considering food stamps:

She got on us about the starving people in the U.S., about the people who live in the projects just down the street from us, about draining resources that are meant for truly needy populations of people.

Our irony had fallen on the wrong ears. “But that’s what this service is for,” my housemate responded, relaying the simple facts of our less than part-time (mine) and nonexistent (his, currently) incomes. “How is it wrong?”

“Because you’re overeducated white people,”  she said. “Just get a job.”

Briski's message:

Being young, privileged, and poor is not a fun twenty-something adventure. I’m not one cheeky fourth of Girls. This is not an audition for the Bohemia life before I return to my family’s house in the suburbs, or get a job at a financial firm owned by my father’s friend. I don’t have a family in the suburbs, and my father doesn’t have those friends. Moving in with my mom or dad is less an option than it is a death sentence for my professional life, barely existing as is. For me, my need is simple numbers. It’s not the social poverty we know from textbooks and nightly news. It’s transitional and temporary, though there is no guarantee I won’t again find myself in a similar spot.