So I live in a pretty cool little neighborhood in Milwaukee (as most of you probably know since I talk about it ALL OF THE TIME) but anyway, I try to stay involved within the community now that I have a little more free time on my hands. In the wonderful world of the internet, a few Facebook groups were formed for the neighborhood. A few a pretty cool places to post items you have for sale / trade.. I can get down with that, but then there are these other 2 groups which started out as basic information of things going on around our neck of the woods, but it seems like it’s slowly turning into people complaining about EVERYTHING. Yes, I know.. I’m complaining about complaining right now. Deal with it. Basically, I usually skim through the posts and keep commentary to myself about rowdy teenagers and other really stupid arguments that occur on there.. but today there was one thread in particular that really bothered me. It was about homeless people in our neighborhood.
It all started with this video:
if you didn’t notice, the description that goes with the video states this:
“This is a short video of some homeless men living under a bridge in the Bay View neighborhood of Milwaukee. Notice the construction going on around them as they grill out. There appear to be about a half-dozen or so men living under and around the bridge.
This is a new bike path being built for all of the liberals and yuppies in the area. Hope the homeless don’t ruin their view of the river!”
Obviously, this made some local people pretty upset. Hipsters never like to be called hipsters, and especially not liberals or yuppies. The thread immediately blew up with some of the most socially ignorant things I’ve read in a really really long time. It was super disappointing to think that such a progressive neighborhood can have such basic and elementary thoughts. There were a few examples that stood out to me:
“Please DO NOT FEEL SORRY for homeless people they are more then likely HOMELESS because the way of life the choose. Drugs and alcohol play a big part in that. They are also rapist and pedofiles. I know this for fact my mother used to try to help them.”
I wanted to throw up when I read this. First of all, think of how ridiculous it is that people are complaining about a homeless person on the internet, from the comfort of THEIR HOME. You are making judgments about a group of HUMAN BEINGS that are never going to even be able to read this post because they aren’t as privileged as you are! Think outside of your tiny little box for one minute, and try to consider.. hey, maybe I shouldn’t just assume that ALL homeless people are pedophiles — excuse me pedoFILES or rapists but rather some people that may be down on their luck or have had a rough go at life since the beginning.
Chances are, if you’re sitting at your computer, replying to a community forum in the middle of the day, your socio-economic status is above poverty.. and even that word “poverty” is subjective. Either way, let’s try to go back to the beginning. If you’re sitting at a computer on the internet right now, you’re more privileged than 70% of the entire world. Seriously. Only 30% of the entire world has internet access. So besides the fact that you’re already at an advantage to the majority of the population, now you’re casting judgements on people, on the internet, that you know nothing about. Cool.
Moving on, I’d like to get to my second favorite quote from this discussion thread:
“Homeless people are kind of scary, whether they are innocuous or no. Sorry, but that’s the same with mental illness.”
Mind fuck. I thought my brains were going to spill out onto my desk upon reading this. I know that ignorance is alive an well in this world, but jeeze.. generalizing about the homeless AND mentally ill in one post.. are you fucking kidding? What happened to people being understanding or stopping for one second to think about what they are saying. I know better than most what it’s like to have your foot in your mouth, and yes, from time to time we all make fools of ourselves. I just ask that if you’re reading this you take one second of your time to think about someone you know who has a disability, would you ever want to make them feel bad or would you categorize them as “scary”… how about someone you know that might be going through a rough patch? lost their home, can’t afford rent, barely making ends meet.. should we cast them out too? Well of course not right? Because we know them and we love them.
Look, I guess the whole point of this rambling anger post is that we have no idea where people came from, why they are the way they are, what ended them up in that place. So how about instead of casting a judgment on a public forum, where you’re helping no one and fueling the fires of hate, you try volunteering. Help someone else for a change, or get out and make a change because groupthink is definitely not helping fuckall.