“[T]he uprising in Ferguson was an inevitable reaction to the institutional racism coursing through the area for decades.” — Jack Kirkland
I’m homeless. At this writing, I’ve been homeless for exactly 3½ years.
When you meet a homeless man for the first time, you won’t notice his skin color. Not first. You’ll notice the condition he’s in. You’ll notice his clothes, his grooming, his conduct. Skin color is so far down the list, it might as well be left off completely.
Some disagree. They seem to think race is the only factor in poverty.
Against the notion that blacks victimize themselves by “acting black,” Princeton undergraduate Kristen Coke complains that “acting white” does not insulate her from petty racist insults. After all, she doesn’t act “ghetto.”
I’m not concerned about victimizations that occur when blacks “act white” in the presence of whites. In my world, there aren’t enough white people to matter. I’m concerned about the victimizations that occur when black people “act black” among blacks.
Schizophrenia is not a karmic matter. It is an organic disease just as much as cancer is. I don’t see how anything someone did in a previous life, or early in their current life, would bring this horrible thing on them. Anybody can develop this condition at any time, although it usually starts in young adulthood.
I gather we are both familiar with this disease.
It’s a mistake to condemn a person on the basis of his or her lot, and also can be highly misleading to say she or he “deserves” it.
I arrived at 15:45, and the gate was closed. I’ll explain why that did not disturb me. As I’m a “regular,” they’re supposed to hold my bunk for me until 16:00. Leo, another “regular,” arrived minutes later.
A closed gate at this hour as often as not means they’re doing a “count,” a comparison of the checkin logs (plural) to pin down exactly how many beds are left. Depending on who’s at the desk, this can take ten minutes — or 45. Continue reading Injustice at the shelter→
Blogging experts tell us to give our posts dramatic titles. I might not tell the story at all, but on the one hand there is an expectation that (though I seldom do) a homeless blogger will tell about the difficulties homeless people face. On the other hand, it provides occasion for me to set forth William Tell’s current approach to injustice.
The appointed Gospel text for Sunday was Matthew’s Parable of the Wedding Banquet, Matthew 22:1-14.
I was struck by verses 11-14 —
11“But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing a wedding robe, 12and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding robe?’ And he was speechless. 13Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ 14For many are called, but few are chosen.”
In August ’10 I became the first member of my family in three generations ever to be arrested, let alone jailed. It was the only time I have ever been arrested. I was locked up for 40 days before being sentenced to “time served” on one misdemeanor charge. I have no other convictions.
In the months following, I applied to all kinds of jobs, including at each of the half dozen major hospitals located in downtown Baltimore. I was applying for secretarial jobs, janitorial jobs, groundskeeping — anything I could possibly do, as remains so today.
Each of those hospitals has its own online application system, and they’re all very similar, so I don’t recall which specific hospital this story involves. You enter a “profile” into their database, that includes all your employment information, history, references, etc.; this takes 90 minutes to two hours. That information is kept in their database, and thereafter you can apply to any job listing with just a handful of clicks. You can also access a listing of the jobs you’ve applied to, and each application’s status.
One Saturday I was at the public library submitting applications online. Click, click, click, submit. Check out the next listing; decide “go” or “no go;” click, click, submit. I did a bunch of those, and then went to check the list of applications’ status.
A number of the applications I’d submitted in the previous half hour had already been turned down.
I really don’t think anyone was working in the HR office on a Saturday screening applications. Clearly, they had some automatic software set up to pre-screen applications and reject anyone who admitted a criminal record.
The question is whether reformed criminals can find honest work.