As a child growing up in the 70s I was used to reading headlines ” Black Man robs drug store”, or “John Doe, black, was arrested for”, With the civil rights movement and more recently the trend toward political correctness, the days of media targeting black males are on the decline (at least we pray), however now they have decided to target a new group of humans, the homeless.
I see many similarities in the general attitude or prejudice of homeless people too much in common with the old and too often present attitude against Blacks or Hispanics. I try to get up dress neatly and put on my makeup, each day. Why do I do this? Because I believe a part of my survival depends on how I appear. Is that what it felt like to “pass”? I can’t say, but in many ways that is what I am attempting to do in hope of avoiding danger and promoting a kinder reception when I am in contact with others. Fortunately I have access to a daily shower unlike many homeless people. I too find myself shying away from people who smell of urine and body odor, so I understand why this is a problem for those who do not have access to a daily shower or bath.
I locked at one of the local news websites and I found this little Headline:
“Homeless man robs Walgreens, police arrest him before he leaves” http://www.wate.com/story/19826996/homeless-man-robs-walgreens-police-arrest-him-at-store-entrance
I ask why does the fact that he is homeless warrant the headline of the story? I imagine the answer from many is “why not?” I say because it is a stereotype no different that lumping all African Americans or all Hispanics together in a group to fit stereotypes. It puts those of us who happen to not have a home at this time, to be a part of this stereotyping. This isolates the homeless people (remember we are still people?), from the public: at a time when he or she may need people the most.
Sometimes we just need some kindness. As I type this blog I am relying on the kindness of the owners of the laundry mat I wash my tiny one or two loads of clothes weekly. When I mentioned to the owner that I had my dogs in the car, she told me to bring them in. She invited me to come do my school work inside using their free wifi and electricity. I explained my more difficult task is finding places with power to charge my gadgets that include parking places in the shade.
You see when the sun hits my van the temperatures inside can rise to a dangerous point very fast! If anyone leaves an animal in a vehicle, one should be sure it is in the shade. This applies to winter as well as summer, because when the sun hits the metal and glass, the vehicle becomes a solar heating unit rapidly.
Most important, do not become a bum! Accepting kindness from strangers is one thing, Frightening their customers away is another. Keep yourself neat and respectful. Do not ask customers for money , rides, cigarettes, or anything else. Act like you are in someone’s home and respect it. This is why other homeless people are not allowed inside. Some were actually sleeping inside at night. This puts the owner at risk of losing his or her business license. Think of it from the customer’s side. If you are just wanting to do business somewhere, you do not wish to wash clothes for example, in a place with some intoxicated bum, or a bag lady begging for money or bothering you.
If you would like to donate to help keep the dogs and I safe during this time you can do that here https://www.wepay.com/donations/katie-kirkendoll
*special Thank to the owners of A1 Coin Laundry http://www.a1coinlaundry.com/
Until Next time Katie and the CriterZ