Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Brief Open Letter to Newt Gingrich, Regarding Food Stamps

Dear Speaker,

My name is Rosie. I'm sixteen years old, and I work in a grocery store. Recently, your comments about getting African-Americans off food stamps and onto paychecks made the news. I have a couple of things to say about those comments.

Mr. Speaker, I work in a grocery store, and most of the time, I run register. Although I live in what is probably the whitest state in the nation, I've certainly had African-Americans come through my checkout line, and I've also certainly had people on food stamps. And you know what? Not once have those two groups overlapped. I have never had an African-American on food stamps come through my register. In fact, if you want to help eliminate the need for food stamps, I suggest you focus on young white men, because that's the largest demographic group I've seen who have paid with food stamp cards.

Also, I'd like to just quickly point out that having a paycheck is not automatically equal to not needing food stamp assistance. Two or three times, people who have paid in food stamps have been wearing the uniform of the grocery store where I work– clearly, they have jobs. They're getting paychecks every Thursday just like I am. But they're also working minimum-wage jobs, and those sometimes just can't pay all the bills. It's hard to make ends meet as an adult in a job like that.

I'm just saying, Mr. Speaker, that you can't make assumptions about people like the ones you made in those comments. It's not fair to the people you're wrong about, which will undoubtedly be most of them.

Yours Sincerely,
Rosie Politika

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