What Else Would You Ban from Me?

If there are two things we know incontrovertibly about poor people, it is that they are stupid and obese. What with their drinking of soda and purchasing of cheap, unhealthy foods. Don’t they know that’s why they’re all fat? No they don’t, because they are uneducated and also obviously bad decision makers. I mean, if they chose to be low-income, can they really be trusted to make other, smaller choices correctly? Good thing millionaire NYC Mayor Bloomberg is right on top of that with a ban just for food stamp recipients on “sugary drinks”.

Of course, these “sugary drinks” largely don’t contain real sugar. They contain High Fructose Corn Syrup, which indeed has been linked to obesity, moreso than plain sugar. So why are these drinks called “sugary” and not “fructose-y”? DUH.

So if HFCS is SOOOO bad that it must be banned, why not ban it from everyone? Why just poor people? Why can’t poor people make their own choices?

Ooooh right, because A) poor people have no power, and B) SO WE CAN EXPERIMENT ON THEM!

The mayor requested a ban for two years to study whether it would have a positive impact on health

That sounds ethical. Non-consensual human experimentation while infringing on the autonomy of a specific demographic of citizens? Yeah.

Charing Ball at the Atlantic Post writes:

Despite the many years of research, our politicians have yet to figure out why obesity and socioeconomic class are often interconnected.

…Moreover, not everyone…can afford to spend his or her “whole paychecks” on “organic” and “healthy.” Can someone explain to me why a 1,000 calories bag of potato chips is cheaper than a 44-calorie apple? Oh yeah, that right: because our government subsidizes many of the food items found within that bag of potato chips as oppose to fresh fruits and veggies, which we are suppose to eat.

I probably wouldn’t be so outraged at this ban if it also came with a plan – and funding – to address the issue of food insecurity in many of these lower income communities, many of which are more likely to have several fast food restaurants and no adequate supermarket. Giving grocery stores tax incentives for doing business in low-income neighborhoods is just as effective as food bans at giving these lower income families access to healthier options.

How about this: Don’t make rules that only apply to one group. Especially if that one group is historically oppressed by the group making the rules. Condescending government paternalism doesn’t change the real reason why many impoverished people experience obesity. It isn’t poor people’s “fault” for our cultural and social conditions that have ramped up obesity and other illness… it is the fault of corporations who have something to gain. Why punish the victim and let the perpetrator go unscrutinized?

What else does it “make sense” to you to ban from me and my poor brethren? Cookies? Jello? Potato chips? Is there anything else that you higher income people would like to ban from the poor? Let’s get it all out now so I can start planning how to do without.

Why ban it from me but not from yourself? Oh right, I’m spending your tax dollars on a soda. Since food stamps are about 1.6% of the federal budget, which is half of the interest we pay on the national debt, and 1/10th of the Defense Budget, clearly my soda purchases, which come directly from your paycheck, are what’s wrong with government today. Let us recall that we aren’t talking about shrinking the food stamp budget, so ban or no ban the amount of the budget the program goes up or down only based on how many people are poor.


Poor people can't handle the high level of maturity that soda-drinking requires.

Here are articles by two of my fave bloggers explaining this point
better than I could:
Womanist Musings

Also read Why the Food Stamp Soft Drink Ban Is BS at A Black Girl’s Guide to Weight Loss.