Food Stamps and Black Pride


The November issue of Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine released harrowing findings from a 30-year study: 90 percent of African-American children will be on food stamps at some point. The recent recession could force those percentages higher.  AP medical reporter Lindsey Tanner digs a little deeper about the findings and reports:

"The estimate comes from an analysis of 30 years of national data, and it bolsters other recent evidence on the pervasiveness of youngsters at economic risk. It suggests that almost everyone knows a family who has received food stamps, or will in the future, said lead author Mark Rank, a sociologist at Washington University in St. Louis."

Those are crazy numbers. But I have to be honest: Food stamps become real appealing to adults when money is tight. In fact, a year after grad school, when the sizzling hot career was slow at getting started, a few friends and I decided to apply for food stamps to fill up the fridge for a month.  It helped, but the stress and humiliation we experienced at the Harlem food stamp center was too much for this well-raised, independent guy from Ohio. The workers were viciously condescending and rude. The other applicants were a combo of in-need mothers with children and psychotic crazies in need of a refill on the meds.  Not to mention those who were working the system like nobody's business.  I vowed never to need food stamps again.

Keith Josef Adkins is an award-winning playwright, screenwriter and social commentator.

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