Liberating An Imprisoned
Mind from SNAP and EBT
The interruption of the
EBT – Electronic Benefits Transfer
system has sent a small panic to
families in 17 states. The
EBT system managed by the
vendor Xerox Corp was
interrupted by system failure.
Even the backup phone service
was not operational that allows vendors to call and find out
the amount on EBT cards.
Statements by U.S. Department of Agriculture spokeswoman
Courtney Rowe tried to reinforce that the outage was not related
to the government shutdown, but many people did not believe
these statements and claimed government interference. There
were no reports of violence, but the outage did cause panic in
families that are dependent on governmental assistance.
This brings to thought what if the government did decide to
cease or temporarily stop or the system was compromised in
some way for long periods.
A manager Barbara Colman, of Saco, Maine stated that
“You don’t want children going hungry tonight because of
stupidity, ” the facts remain that at some level this has happened
before and may happen again. What is to prevent this from
affecting so many families especially children dependent on
their parents or guardians?
One of the issues has been the educational level of those on
EBT status and their lack of education and marketable skill-sets.
Malcolm X’s historical statement, “by any means necessary,” has
educational linkage. People of Color “by any means necessary”
must obtain educational success. Education frees the minds and
behaviors of dependency and reliance on a system to dictate
when or if you are able to feed yourself and your children.
The government shutdown is in full effect; the linkage is that
thousands are reliant upon the government literally for life or
death; women, children and families. When examining the
educational backgrounds data from SNAP and other
governmental sites 40% to 60% of those receiving EBT are
educationally lacking, have no marketable skill-sets and less
than a high school education. Women that have multiple
children are more than capable in obtaining an education
instead rely on EBT they are not working to gain the necessary
education to support themselves and their children.
Demographic data, 43% of SNAP participants are white,
33% are African-American, 19% are Hispanic, 2% are Asian,
and 2% are Native American; http://www.snaptohealth.org/
Clarksdale, Mississippi is one of the poorest cities in one
of the poorest states in the nation. Many families
had to put back groceries when their cards failed Saturday
and even on Sunday and they couldn’t afford to pay for the
food with cash. The data from SNAP has shown that since
2007 from Bush era politics the numbers have grown for
SNAP participation and the continued economic instability
from years of war and wasting of resources has hurt Americans.
Even military families in some cases rely in EBT to feed their
Many attribute this to governmental changes, but the reality
in many cases is the lack of employable job skills in a changing
job market. Employers cannot obtained technical employees
when they do not have the knowledge, skills or mental agility
to be content creators, managers of data and interpret statistics.
Too many do have basic computer skills to apply for a job
or have criminal histories that keep them from being considered
Granted many families are in need because of lack of employment
opportunities, disabilities, advancement of age and other factors.
Since 2011 an est. 45 million persons were participating in SNAP.
The lack of education should not be one of the contributing
factors to be dependent on EBT or social services. This is a
form of servitude or slavery particularly if individuals are not
disabled mentally, physically or emotionally.
Being dependent on a system gradually destroys the desire
to learn to improve oneself, to obtain as much education as
possible and encourages complacent behavior. By
any other term is psychologically damaging and draining
of any desire to improve one self.
The disturbing aspect of the EBT system is that those that
continue to pass the “system mentality” on to their children
become trained to become dependent and reduced to
“property of the system.”
Property is only as valuable as the system sees fit,
property has no identity and loses its self worth and respect.
The past ASALH conference was an example the quantifiable
need for education, the building of the mind to reason, rationalize,
identify and for African Americans building a “negotiable
identity” (Eric Lincoln) where African Americans are deserving
of their communities respect. There should be a national direction
to liberate the mind-set from SNAP and EBT dependence through
Governmental actions show the disturbing numbers of those
dependent on the governmental system through EBT cards
not dependent on their intelligence, education and skill-sets.
The ASALH conference stressed the need for learning, to unlock
the mental potential in African American minds not to be dependent
and reliant on a system for an identity. African Americans must
move beyond a utilitarian purpose that is a purpose of servitude.
African Americans must be educated to be producers, creators,
innovators and of value to be valuable in a society of technological
The past week in Jacksonville, Florida was “Jacksonville Goes
To College”; promoting college education and the empowerment
for employment, financial stability, economic security and
community growth. It should also be for the freedoms of the
psychological chains and imprisonment by SNAP and EBT
dependence which can be taken away or denied.
U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan,
“The best economic development
plan is an education; it is a shared responsibility
that parents must encourage in their children.”
Video of EBT Services
Food Stamp Users Denied
What is SNAP
Florida Department of Children and Families