[When I first started working with students I served with AmeriCorps which meant that I earned a stipend and was eligible for SNAP (or food stamps). I received $195 per month, much more than this author’s measly $16. Instead of seeing myself as poor, I spent the time on SNAP and receiving the stipend marveling at how my income was only a few thousand less than the limit for a family of four. Four hungry humans were supposed to be able to subsist on barely more than I brought home. I’ll never forget looking at the tax returns of the mother of one of my students and seeing that she was raising two children on about $5k less/year than I earned.
Yet the author asks a different question: what does poverty look like? It makes me wonder what it would take to see myself as poor and even that thought has me grating against the realities and ingrained self-perception of my privilege. When a (white) family member recently lacked income for many months, I suggested she apply for SNAP. What did that feel like for her? How does she see herself? Could this experience help my (politically diverse) extended family find common ground on anti-poverty programs?]