Sunday, March 1, 2009

Intro to Scratch Beginnings

Thursday, March 12, 2009.
Introduction to Scratch Beginnings.

Our group is fortunate enough not to be directly involved in the homeless subculture. Indeed, we are four students, going to College, living either at home or in the dorms, we don’t have to worry about our next meal or a place to sleep.

We can observe that subculture in many places, and it can be very disturbing. Since being in this situation is not the norm, many people tend to avoid them. Some cross the streets, some others walk faster to pass them, and some just ignore them. Also, during the day, most of homeless people beg and sit on the ground – there is an inferiority concept.

CJ: I have never being involved in volunteering for homeless people, not because I don’t care, but because it is easier to close my eyes on that subculture than any other. I feel guilty when I pass by some homeless people, because I have never had to worry about my survival; never had to worry about money, bed or food. I feel guilty because I know that it is not giving a dollar that will change their way of life. Moreover, I feel more willing to help some homeless people in the poor areas of Africa or Asia for example, because they don’t have the resources at all. In a part of the world as developed as Europe or the USA, I think it would be easier to get out of this condition. It might sound unfair, but it is the way I feel. I would rather spend my summer volunteering in Africa than serving soup for homeless people here or in France. As I am writing, I realize that is discriminatory, but the goal is to be honest and this is what I would rather do, which does not mean that I would not help at all.
It is easy to have stereotypes about that subculture like “they don’t try hard enough because you can achieve whatever the mind conceives.” However, I think there is a moment when they lose hope, and faith. We shouldn’t judge, their lifestyle is already hard enough.

NV: I, like most people, if not all people at this college have never been homeless. I am a white male from a middleclass family that grew up in America. I have learned or have been told through other people and society that I can become whatever I want. There are so many doors of opportunity in my future. I really have never given the thought of being homeless too much attention because of how far I am removed from it. I have a loving family, and if that didn’t work out I would be able to find other family members or friends that would help me out.
I come from a small town and I am really not used to seeing homeless people or bums. I have been to California a couple times over the last two years and my perspective really changed. When I was in LA, it really was intriguing to me to see people that lived on the streets. I remember seeing people with shopping carts piled high with, what appeared to me to be, junk. These people were sleeping in bushes in the middle of the day and oblivious to the hustle and bustle all around them. When I was in San Francisco, I visited the Golden Gate Park. Although the park does have plenty of visually stunning natural beauty, an image that I remember must vividly is all the homeless people. It looked like a camping event, except more grim. In this one area there were about 20 people all sleeping on the ground. Some had sleeping bags, others had blankets and some just had the clothes they were wearing. I was stunned by the fact that people had to live that way. Here was a big group people sleeping outside with next to nothing as tourists and locals passed by to enjoy a bountiful picnic in the park.
My personal biases towards the homeless may be wrong but I don’t think that the majority try. My experience is that with hard work people can achieve their goals. I really can’t see how people end up sleeping in bushes.

SS: I have never really had many personal experiences with the homeless culture, but my parents went to Hawaii and saw many homeless people. At first my mom thought that there were just people camping on the beach because it was covered with people, after looking closer she realized that they were all homeless people. It was a shock to see all of the people that did not have homes and were just living out of boxes. After that she started to notice them more and more and just on the beach.
Many times homeless people are there because they are too lazy or just not motivated to get out and get a job. However some of people there are trying to get out, but due to some financial or medical reason they are in the shelter. I will try to go into the book without any biases because I do not have a lot of background information about the topic and I want to learn more about it.

MB: I have lived in the country all my life, so I have not had much contact with the homeless culture. As a result, I do not have a good understanding of that subculture. I have developed some biases because I have not had enough contact with them. I had always thought that most of them just did not want to help themselves and get out of poverty. I figured they used most of the money they got to go buy alcohol or drugs. In reality, I think a lot of them are just experiencing a hard time in their life, and they need someone to them get back on their feet. As I am reading this book, I will have to keep an open mind and try to imagine myself as a homeless person trying to work my way out of poverty.

Just as many other subcultures that we don’t belong to, it is easy to close our eyes, either because we feel uncomfortable or awkward because we fear differences. The book will help us knowing more about that subculture, and will probably change our way to look at homeless people and even motivate us to volunteer for example.

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