Just how exactly does the face hate, or even indifference look like to you... The other night I had a dorm mate at the Herb Jamieson shelter yell out of the window at about 3 am. to a man screaming at someone else in another dorm. This fellow shouts, "Shut the f--k up you f--kin' Tee-Pee crawler or I'm gonna come out there and kick your ass!" immediately I reacted back with a quick "What's with this Tee-Pee crawlin' bullshit... you f--kin' di-kh-ad!" and just as quickly and almost simultaneously others chimed in with "quit yelling out the window ya idiot", and the like. Straight away this said redneck then ducks back into his bunk.
Now I know I'm supposed to be patient with those of limited intelligence but derogatory remarks like that just burn my butt especially since on the previous evening he made remarks to one of the workers who just so happened to be a cute Asian woman. As she walked out of the dorm he stated something sexually rude and then called her Pocahontas. I said nothing then, chalking it up to just one mans ignorance, and I do not believe that she heard him either.
The next evening as I walked into the dorm and sat on the edge of my bed, a gentleman in the bunk next to mine said to me " I know you, I've seen you around". So I tell him that I've been around, then go about to untying my boots. "You got angry with jesse last night." he added, and this is when I noticed jesse out of the corner of my eye. The redneck with the intelligence handicap walks up to our bunks, and so I say "Ya, what the f--k is with that Tee-Pee crawling bullshit last night." Then right out of the blue jesse pulls up his t-shirted sleeve and attempts to flex this massive bulb of fat curled around his upper arm. Don't get me wrong, he is a muscularly stalky fellow. His chest almost nearly matches his belly, and one arm easily shadows mine. It is in my experience though, the size of a man's arm does not make the man.
So just as I was about to stand up, jesse pulls down his sleeve, sits on his buddies bunk next to mine and says, "just kiddin', but you know what... he was white!" Ha, I replied, "Well, I knew that... I could tell from his voice." causing an uproar of laughter in the room with the boys. So with a rednecks version of a half hearted apology, we carried on with much quieter evening... Jesse was ejected from the building for drinking shortly afterward, lol.
I've had to deal with this kind of discriminatory attitude from others most of my life. Sometimes it goes unnoticed for years, but then it always resurfaces to show its horrid face someplace in society. However, there are so many ugly faces of discrimination in this world, racism is but one. Have a look at this eye opening video...
You can say whatever you like about how you would react in a situation like this. But when faced with the reality of it, take a hard look at yourself. I mean seriously look... how many times have you walk passed Billy and said to yourself, "let him sleep it off". Perhaps something like, "how could a person let himself go like that?", or even "disgusting drunk". Hey, I live with these people and a few of them are my close friends, even I have moments of disgust. Never have been much of a drinker but I've had my moments, I've been there, laying on the sidewalk up against a building. Sleeping on a park bench or staggering down the street all dirty and smelly from a night in the bush after a good bender on dope.
Look at the despair in Linda's face when none would help. The sheer anger towards God for allowing the world be in such the state as it appears to be. Although the anger may be misdirected, it does not negate the love this woman has for her fallen brother. We who live on the streets can perfectly identify with this woman. We've been there and have seen it first hand. Many are lost in all sorts of addictions out here, any real help in our worldly view appears to be nonexistent. So we react in cycles of anger, despair and then numbing.
There are so many out here with some sort of mental and emotional disorders as well. Some of us simply are not comfortable functioning in mainstream society. It is only here on the streets that they, or we fit in. In a drop-in, nobody really cares if you talk to yourself as long your not arguing too loud with the voices . Even when this person comes from a well to do family they may be looked upon as different. Perhaps it is believed by many that those with such disorders don't quite see or experience the world as "normal folk".
Truth is, just because some peoples senses and/or maybe their bodies don't quite operate the same as most others, does not mean they see or feel differently as well. Listen closely to yourself the next time you're in public and come across an individual who appears to act strange. They start to flail around, or talk to someone who we can't see, any sort of thing. What are you telling yourself in those moments? Do you sympathize or do you empathize? Or why should we feel anything at all? Could we not just accept them as we would anyone else who is walking about their day all normal and plain and straight and automated.
Have a look at this video...
Amazing isn't it? How sometimes we forget that inside every human husk there is a living soul with hopes and dreams as well as the desire to be looked and treated no differently than anyone else. Well... except for me of course. Remember... my mommy said I'm special so I would like to be treated like a prince. Looked upon as though I'm not hangin' a booger, I want lasagna, pizza, and let's not forget the huge pot of ground beef with macaroni and cheese with a side of hot sauce! Oh yaaaah...
Seriously though, even on our toughest days, let's just stop for a moment before we look at our neighbor with pity or hate, or even mistrust. Choose to embrace with love and respect before judging by misconceived ideals. Remember that they, that we are this whole other person with all the same feelings and emotions you yourself enjoy as much as dread. LET'S STOP BEFORE we begin to look down at our children as though we are looking at property... something to be pulled out of their room when we want something to play with, a thing we can control.