346 words“You can’t leave until you’ve cleaned your plate…don’t you know there are starving children in Africa?” Your mother may have used this phrase on you before. Yes, there are starving children in Africa—and in the United States. What is the relation between a spoonful of peas in Boston and a child with a barren belly in Nairobi?
With more than 1.3 million nonprofits providing international aid and 21.3 billion dollars spent on U.S. foreign aid, do we focus too much on the child in Africa when the homeless man on Comm Ave may be starving just the same?
The hunched man draped with a black garbage sack clutching a used McDonalds paper cup catches my attention, as I walk by the Kenmore T-stop entrance on my way to school. On the way home, he’s still there. Every day—same place—his presence no longer seems shocking but blends with the backdrop of the city—a Bostonian landmark like the Prudential building or John Hancock tower. Did I become immune? Does the commonality of the homeless man make it less shocking, less important?
“He should really get a job. His clothes aren’t too tattered—he doesn’t look that poor off. I can’t believe this man is getting more money on the street than I do working at an office all day. Look—he’s smoking—I don’t want to support his bad habits.”
Do you ever find yourself judging?
We judge and rationalize the petitioning person, until the human aspect doesn’t affect us. When we diminish the humanity, the ignored man becomes a rejected statue. Yes, he may be asking for money at an inconvenient time. Yes, he may use your precious dollar to perpetuate a dirty habit. Yes, he may not need your money—but he may need your acknowledgement that he is human too. Don’t judge.
Maybe that dollar could be the difference between his six-month old baby living or dying in a cardboard box under the overpass from malnutrition. Don’t feel bad. Don’t give money. Don’t stop—or DO. Either way, just don’t judge.