People were unhappy and vocal about it when they saw Keke Palmer’s Monday morning tweet about food. “Imagine if your EBT card could only work on healthy items …” Palmer wrote. The replies flooded in quickly with many people seeing the Hustlers star’s post as a slam on poor people and trying to dictate how people should live their lives (via Newsweek).
One user tweeted, “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.” Other comments were pretty similar. Like this reply, “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?” And another reading, “so we should dictate what low income individuals should and shouldn’t indulge in? do we not deserve pleasure in comfort food?? not to mention that organic, ‘healthy’ food is typically more expensive.”
Others brought up the difficulty for some of getting to grocery stores or places with healthier food options, like this one noting, “Also a lot of poor people lack transportation and they barely put grocery stores in the hood. Sometimes their only option is to walk/bus to little corner stores and get food. Unless they take 2-3 buses to Whole Foods or Kroger.”
Palmer tried to repair the damage with follow up tweets
Palmer tweeted in reply to try to clarify her position, “Damn! I thought it was a nice suggestion considering I know so many people consoling they can’t afford the healthy food with they EBT cards. My bad! Everybody don’t feel the same that’s okay lol.”
Some saw the positive side to her comment because of how it has helped shed light on the issue of food deserts, which is an issue of low-income communities not having easy access to healthy food that’s also affordable (via USDA), like this tweet saying ” Well I find Keke’s comments reprehensible I like that she (unintentionally I’m sure) started a conversation here among us about the food deserts that exist. And I love seeing us educate each other on here.”
Another potentially positive take reads, “I think people misinterpret this as EBT card SHOULD only work on [healthy] items. But I read your previous tweets for context and you’re definitely not saying that. You’re saying it SHOULD be expanded so ppl don’t have to omit healthy (fresh) foods from their shopping list.” However you may read the intent behind her tweet, the actress managed to kick off a spirited debate about access to food and privilege with just 11 words.
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