“Imagine hating poor people this much.”
You know Keke Palmer — actor, singer, and a host of Good Morning America.
Bryan Bedder / WireImage
This morning, after tweeting about her own recent pivot to healthy eating, Keke posted this on her page:
@KekePalmer / Via Twitter
EBT, also known as food stamps or SNAP, is a government-run program that gives individuals with low incomes a small budget every month to buy groceries. And the idea that the government should control EBT recipients are allowed to buy is a talking point often made by conservatives who would like to see the program either reduced or cut entirely. (Trump, for example, has proposed getting rid of EBT and replacing it with preset boxes of food, in which the recipient has no choice in what they get.)
Bonnie Biess / Getty Images
Suffice to say, Keke was ratioed pretty hard on Twitter for her suggestion — generating a lot more comments than likes.
@KekePalmer imagine hating poor people this much
Many folks were upset that Keke — a very wealthy person — was trying to control what poor people eat.
@KekePalmer why is the urge always to police poor people’s behavior in ways you’d never tolerate yourself? it’s just hostile, condescending paternalism & it helps no one.
One Twitter user called the concept “disturbing” and questioned, “Why should poor people be denied that small pleasure that impacts you in no way?”
@KekePalmer You woke up with this on your heart and that is disturbing. Do you exclusively eat whatever it is you deem to be “healthy”? Do you only eat for sustenance? Why should poor people be denied that small pleasure that impacts you in no way?
Others suggested that instead of trying to limit what people living in poverty can eat, we work to actually fix the poverty itself:
@KekePalmer Further means testing & controlling poverty? Poor people can’t have a snickers….. Imagine if the super wealthy & corporations actually paid workers a living wage……
Several people in Keke’s replies pointed out the existence of food deserts . Food deserts are areas — often low-income neighborhoods — where residents do not have access to fresh, healthy food, because grocery chains and farmers markets aren’t doing business there:
@KekePalmer as a new yorker, food deserts are everywhere and provide barely anything healthy. we need to get people to healthy food by making the food more available in their neighborhood
@KekePalmer People can use Snap/EBT at farmer’s markets in a lot of locations to get fresh fruits/veggies for reasonable prices. Problem is most farmers markets don’t set up stands in low income neighborhoods
A few commenters reminded Keke that healthy foods often come with a higher price tag. If you’re living on a tight monthly food budget, the costs of fresh meat and produce could be prohibitive, and they’re hard to stretch out over a few weeks:
@KekePalmer Spoken like someone who has never known what it was like to only have $200 to buy groceries for a month for two people. I was lucky growing up. Neighbors brought us meat from their farms and my stepfather had a big garden every year or we would have starved.
And this Twitter user reminded Keke that people living in poverty have just as much of a right to enjoy junk food as anyone else — whether it’s for indulgence, convenience, or any other reason they want. How they eat is their business!
@KekePalmer Ooh Keke I gotta disagree here. Poor people are allowed to buy Doritos. We shouldn’t be policing the poor. If they have a craving for ice cream, or wanna stock up on TV dinners cause they have to work late, then they are allowed.
Keke has engaged with a lot of the backlash she’s receiving on Twitter. She deleted the initial tweet, and in subsequent tweets, she amended her stance to say that she believes healthy foods should be free to those with EBT cards:
To clarify my tweet was pertaining to issues w/ healthy foods being 2 expensive & thinking it should be free for those w/ EBT cards. This was not a suggestion for solving all low income issues. Solely a hopeful solution 4 those with EBT that want to run it up w/ meat & produce.
She then tweeted at Vice President-elect Kamala Harris to see if she could make that happen:
Hey @KamalaHarris I know you just started but me and my friends were talking about it and we think EBT cards should swipe free on all items considered HEALTHY. Xoxo
Keke added that her own family has used EBT in the past, and said it’s “nothing to be ashamed of,” and that “they should make it better.”
Yea but some people DO need EBT. That’s nothing to be ashamed of. My family has used it! They should make it better. https://t.co/QG8L0G3q43
The TV host further addressed the controversy on Instagram, writing in part: “…Imagine if you could get whatever healthy foods you wanted on your EBT card. Like all the healthy foods could swipe for free. Pretty much a reward for being healthy but even more so giving homes a break that want to eat healthy but can’t afford it!”
@kekepalmer / Via Instagram
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