Target: Representative Markwayne Mullin (R-OK)
Goal: Issue apology for remarks propagating stereotypes about food stamp recipients and accusing them of fraud.
Rep. Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma recently addressed many of his constituents at a town hall meeting where he discussed the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and other social aid programs. He related a story in which he was waiting in line to purchase groceries and noticed, among many people paying with their SNAP cards, a couple he viewed as exceptionally physically fit. According to Mullin, this one experience of a family who did not look like his idea of people who should be receiving food stamps because of physical fitness indicates that “[a]bsolute 100% all it is is fraud…it’s all over the place. And there you go, to the fact that we shouldn’t be supporting those who won’t work.”
He went on to insist that the country would be in a better place if these programs were abolished, because everyone abuses them so as to avoid working at the expense of their taxpaying counterparts. However, contrary to what Rep. Mullin might think, SNAP fraud is at just one percent. In fact, according to ThinkProgress, “strict eligibility requirements…have disqualified one in four food insecure households for being too high-income, and are allowing at least 50 million people to go hungry.” Not only was Rep. Mullin deliberately misleading his constituents in order to build support for cuts in social aid programs, he also was contributing to widespread stereotypes and negative attitudes toward those who receive necessary aid from these programs.
By signing this petition, you are telling Rep. Mullin that this kind of propaganda is unprofessional, irresponsible, and unacceptable. You are showing him and other congresspeople like him that spreading vicious lies and stereotypes will not be tolerated. Furthermore, you are defending your fellow Americans in need of social aid, whom these stereotypes often prevent from receiving help, whether officially or due to peer pressure.
Dear Representative Mullin,
I am gravely disappointed in your recent remarks regarding individuals you see receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) aid because you have contributed to a culture of factless accusation and stereotyping when it comes to food stamp recipients. Not only were your comments — that food stamps and other social aid programs are steeped in fraud — vastly inaccurate, but also the underlying assumptions which you voiced, about food stamp recipients needing to look a certain way to have a legitimate need, only add to the oppression and uncertainty that those aided by SNAP experience every day.
I am calling on you to retract your statements and issue an apology for the falsehoods and stereotypes which you propagated. I am urging you to educate yourself on SNAP, which you will find has a fraud rate of only one percent, and other social aid programs, in order to better understand the situations which your constituents and other Americans are experiencing. Please take responsibility for your actions and your office, and refrain from speaking on an issue about which you have little to no knowledge or experience.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: USDA