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Old 07-27-2007, 05:03 PM
 
Location: Noo Yawk, Noo Yawk
625 posts, read 1,351,881 times
Reputation: 626

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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheHarvester View Post
It doesn't help that many of the beggars are professionals who make more money than people who work jobs, as proven by several objective studies.
I find it hard to believe that beggars make very much, unless they are buskers (street musicians). I also don't resent someone just for making more money than me. Look at what they have to put up with to get it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheHarvester View Post
When I'm destitute, which is probable within about 2 years, I won't be begging and nobody will know of my situation.
Aaah, the Noble Poor.
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Old 07-27-2007, 05:26 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
1,231 posts, read 3,445,891 times
Reputation: 396
Quote:
Originally Posted by citychik View Post
I find it hard to believe that beggars make very much, unless they are buskers (street musicians). I also don't resent someone just for making more money than me. Look at what they have to put up with to get it.
No, that's exactly NOT what I meant. I mean people who have homes and their JOB is to stand at street corners and collect money. Have you honestly never heard of any of these studies? Sure, some of them have no choice, but how do we judge who is homeless and who is choosing to be a beggar instead of slaving away in a fast food restaurant?

I invite you to watch an intersection in Austin for a few hours and see how much is given to a person standing there with a sign. Several bucks an hour, easily, tax-free. Try making that in an entry-level job.

The system is broken. Do you get my main message? Change the system, stop salving your guilty conscience. (Pardon my confrontational style, but it tends to get better responses.)
Quote:
Originally Posted by citychik View Post
Aaah, the Noble Poor.
And there ya go. That says a lot about you. Your guilt is soothed by helping someone who begs, but the non-beggar gets your sarcastic contempt? I'm sure you didn't mean it that way, but look at what you wrote in context and tell me if it doesn't come across as your way of admitting that you think you're very groovy for feeding a hungry person on the street but you have no compassion for anyone who isn't there yet.
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Old 07-27-2007, 06:46 PM
 
Location: Noo Yawk, Noo Yawk
625 posts, read 1,351,881 times
Reputation: 626
Default Calm down

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheHarvester View Post
I invite you to watch an intersection in Austin for a few hours and see how much is given to a person standing there with a sign. Several bucks an hour, easily, tax-free. Try making that in an entry-level job.
"Several bucks an hour" is not much. Entry-level jobs at minimum wage don't really help people to live, either.
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheHarvester View Post
The system is broken. Do you get my main message?
Of course. I am intelligent. And I agree that the system needs to be changed.
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheHarvester View Post
Change the system, stop salving your guilty conscience.
I don't have a guilty conscience. You know nothing about me to make such a remark.
Quote:
Originally Posted by citychik View Post
Aaah, the Noble Poor.
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheHarvester View Post
And there ya go. That says a lot about you. Your guilt is soothed by helping someone who begs, but the non-beggar gets your sarcastic contempt?
I have nothing to be guilty about and I have no contempt for anyone.

Do you think all people who give money to the homeless are rich and feeling guilty about it??? What a cliche. In actuality, I grew up in extreme poverty and am barely hanging onto middle class right now, so don't assume anything about me. My comment about the Noble Poor was meant to illustrate your prejudice. Your attitude perpetuates the concept of the "undeserving poor." What you wrote indicates that you obviously think you are better than those who beg in the streets simply because you choose not to. That is an age-old classist way of thinking (ever read Shaw's Pygmalion?) and I am quite familiar with it because I subscribed to that notion for a long time, too. Having grown up poor, I always thought it would make me a better person not to accept a hand-out. However, I realized a long time ago that there is no disgrace in accepting help when you need it and I do not denigrate those who ask. I have learned to ask for help myself and that is okay. You feel you are more deserving of compassion than those who put out their hands and beg. Hmmm. I say judge each person on their own merits. Of course there are lazy slackers in the world, but not every person who is forced to ask for money in the streets is that.

If someone is begging in the streets and I can give something, I do. If I can't, I don't. I take care of myself first, but that does not preclude having compassion for the beggar as much as the one who struggles without begging. And I am a very good judge of who is an authentically needy person and who is a shyster. I trust my gut and intuition in that regard.
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheHarvester View Post
tell me if it doesn't come across as your way of admitting that you think you're very groovy for feeding a hungry person on the street but you have no compassion for anyone who isn't there yet.
Pffft. I am groovy, for many reasons -- none of which are what you incorrectly assume. I am a compassionate person and I understand suffering. Live in the streets and beg to survive, you have my compassion. Live in a stinking hovel holding onto your pride that you did not go begging in the streets, believe me, you also have my compassion. That was how I grew up.

I dislike it when people put down others who have money equally as much as I dislike it when people put down others who don't have money. Criticize me if I act like a jerk, not for how much money I have or do not have!
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Old 07-28-2007, 08:48 AM
 
Location: Austin, TX
1,231 posts, read 3,445,891 times
Reputation: 396
"Several bucks an hour" is not much. Entry-level jobs at minimum wage don't really help people to live, either.

- true

I am intelligent.

- clearly! that's why I enjoy debating with you.

You know nothing about me to make such a remark.

- true

I have nothing to be guilty about and I have no contempt for anyone.

- OK

Do you think all people who give money to the homeless are rich and feeling guilty about it??? What a cliche.

- very true, thanks for having the chutzpah to call me out on that!

...don't assume anything about me. My comment about the Noble Poor was meant to illustrate your prejudice. Your attitude perpetuates the concept of the "undeserving poor."

- Interesting. I have to look at that in myself, cannot respond easily because you're introducing me to something that I haven't observed in myself. I think we're kind of talking past each other and our differences in attitude aren't as large as they appear because we're using different paradigms for framing the debate. I think in terms of systems, you're concerning yourself (IN THIS DISCUSSION, not assuming anything else about you) with the immediate needs of people who are suffering. Both paradigms are valid and probably work best as a synergistic combo.

Sorry about assuming anything about you. That's a pet peeve of mine on forums, so I ask the same of you regarding me. I sometimes get defensive because of the assumptions people make. I had a privileged upbringing and have had a good education and a wonderful life, now everything has fallen apart, but the way I write makes me appear to be an upper-crust snob rather than a crest-fallen miserable SOB who has squandered his resistance for a pocket full of bad decisions. (And a few mumbles, such are promises...)

What you wrote indicates that you obviously think you are better than those who beg in the streets simply because you choose not to. That is an age-old classist way of thinking

This gets into assumptions and paradigms. I choose not to go there because, in my experience, it pits warring viewpoints in a never-ending battle for ideological supremacy while accomplishing nothing to alleviate suffering. I honor your choices and wish only to debate tactics and effectiveness, and I apologize if I was the one who turned this into a personal battle.

We know nothing about each other, my challenges to you were about tactics in combating poverty and social ills and I'm of the opinion that handouts on the street have a net negative effect on the problem because those resources could be more intelligently directed. If this is "classist" to you then we'll never achieve an agreement because I don't buy into the post-modern paradigm even though it informs a lot of my ideas. I guess I'd be more open to alternative views if dimestore labels like "class" and "race" were tossed out of the discussion because I believe you and I are both well aware that class and race are ginormous problems in America (and the world), so we don't need to constantly refer back to them for the purpose of attacking the other's argument.

However, I realized a long time ago that there is no disgrace in accepting help when you need it and I do not denigrate those who ask. I have learned to ask for help myself and that is okay.

This gets quite personal, as I do, indeed, feel UNWORTHY of assistance and while listening to a Buddhist-inspired audio book this morning about self-acceptance I was challenged to recognize that my biggest fear is the fear of simply asking. Asking for a job, a date, help with moving, company for dinner --- there's an over-riding terror of rejection, of imposing on or annoying people. So I just keep to myself. Thus, my appearance of self-righteousness is rooted in a reality of self-loathing, as is often the case (especially in our culture.)

Thank you for re-framing that part of the discussion.

...I am a very good judge of who is an authentically needy person and who is a shyster. I trust my gut and intuition in that regard.Pffft.

Pffft? Well, good on you, I've been conned so many times that I don't trust my gut when it comes to helping people. I'm good with trusting people in other situations, but I'm a sucker for helping people so I've had to shut myself down in that realm and choose my battles where I know the people I'm helping instead of assisting strangers. Sad, eh?

Your responses have been tremendous, and I hope that our discussion is of use to others in a general way because I think we are representing two of many dominant viewpoints about how to deal with the topic of "bums" (ugh, that word again... )
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Old 07-28-2007, 10:26 AM
 
Location: Texas!
332 posts, read 359,100 times
Reputation: 108
I think the Homeless in Texas are very friendly. Atleast the ones I've met and seen.
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Old 07-28-2007, 01:13 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
1,231 posts, read 3,445,891 times
Reputation: 396
Quote:
Originally Posted by madmann101 View Post
I think the Homeless in Texas are very friendly. Atleast the ones I've met and seen.
Agreed. But what I've learned the hard way is that there are a lot of con jobs that happen in large parking lots or even on a door-to-door basis. The usual scam is about how "my wife and kids are sitting in the car and we just need to get to..." That is a lie about 99% of the time. Another problem in parking lots is when people approach you to ask for a small amount of money and then beat the cr@p out of you and take everything you have.

It's important to be alert to the various scams that prey on those who are compassionate and vulnerable.
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Old 07-28-2007, 11:57 PM
 
Location: Texas!
332 posts, read 359,100 times
Reputation: 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheHarvester View Post
Agreed. But what I've learned the hard way is that there are a lot of con jobs that happen in large parking lots or even on a door-to-door basis. The usual scam is about how "my wife and kids are sitting in the car and we just need to get to..." That is a lie about 99% of the time. Another problem in parking lots is when people approach you to ask for a small amount of money and then beat the cr@p out of you and take everything you have.

It's important to be alert to the various scams that prey on those who are compassionate and vulnerable.
Usually the homeless people I've dealt with are very nice and friendly. Once me and mom were drving and her car started making weird noises and she pulled over. A homeless man came over and offered to help and indeed he fixed it...my mom offered him some money but he generously turned her offer down until eventually he gave in after begging him to take it,lol.
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Old 07-29-2007, 01:52 PM
 
Location: Noo Yawk, Noo Yawk
625 posts, read 1,351,881 times
Reputation: 626
Harvester, I appreciate your response to my post immensely. I was a little afraid to come back here and check out this thread -- I thought that perhaps I had been a little too harsh. That, and someone called me "bitter" on another thread (which I am not)! I enjoyed our debate as well, and it is satisfying to have my viewpoint understood. I do apologize for having made an assumption, too - I was trying not to, but it can be difficult when you only have someone's written words and your own experiences to draw upon to understand them. I agree that attacks and counter-attacks are unproductive (and boring!) so I certainly never had that intention.

I can totally relate to feeling unworthy and the fear of rejection. (Sigh) I wish there was an easy solution to that!
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Old 08-02-2007, 05:23 PM
 
Location: New York, NY
263 posts, read 801,287 times
Reputation: 117
Maybe Chicago's are considered nice, but they are all over. And they normally sit looking sad with signs. Sometimes they get close to you as they ask for money, but not often. I can't tell if they make Chicago dirtier, since it was dirty anyway!
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Old 08-02-2007, 07:07 PM
 
Location: Austin, TX
1,231 posts, read 3,445,891 times
Reputation: 396
I'm glad to see this thread bumped back up because I've been thinking about the homeless issue a lot since I last posted in here.

First, the word "bum" is horrible. What I've been recognizing in myself is that I've bought into the stereotypes and put-downs of panhandlers as a way of blocking my empathy. There is too much suffering and it can overwhelm the senses and make us crazy.

In America we're offered the opportunity to constantly shop as a way to ignore the fact that others can't even pay rent. This social inequity and the culturally-acceptable attitude of hating the poor is sickening and inexcusable in a 21st-century industrial nation.

Sadly, people think that poverty is caused by laziness and evil choices. Being born into bad circumstances, having below-average intelligence or looks, having physical disabilities, and just plain bad luck, these are all among the many causes of poverty. But the number one cause is a winner-take-all economy in which two equally qualified entrepreneurs end up in opposite circumstances for random reasons. One becomes Michael Dell and has a 13-car garage (and he does), the other is some anonymous guy who might end up indebted for life and possibly homeless at some point. This is sick. Our economic system is warped. WWJD? Buy a Mercedes and hang out with Rush in Palm Beach? Yeah... right.....
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