A Seattle Man Demands Attention from a Beggar

Comments

1
Jesus. Magnificent, as usual, CM. Thank you.
2
I’ve felt the same impulse toward a veiled woman in Europe against a wall, on her knees, her forehead on the ground, a cup in front of her.

It had nothing to do with Hegel and a lot more to do with placing someone.

It’s like acknowledging the humanity of someone for all of half a second before placing your order.

It goes a long fucking way.

*knuckles eyebrow*
3
@2 Wha?

One thing that could be added here: although no evidence whatsoever the 'well dressed white man' in this vignette was a right-winger it does seem like the fact that the right tends to be for charity while vehemently opposed to government services for the disadvantaged tends to boil down to their desire to have their generosity acknowledged, to make certain that those on the receiving end are appropriately humiliated and express an appropriate level of gratitude.
4
@2

I wondered at that. One of the worst things about being homeless and begging must be being so intently ignored. You aren't an inconvenience to passers by. You just don't exist as a fellow human being at all.

It isn't meanness, I don't think. It's the limits we have of where to spend our compassion, where to invest emotion. My friend's kid in trouble has a claim on me I must meet. An employee with A sister in law needing help, he or she does too but not as much. A stranger on the street forces me to decide how much I can afford and stay able to be who I must for clients and family and friends.
At that point it's pretty easy to say I won't be bothered. So we say 'he's only going to buy drugs with it' and refuse even to look at the man or woman begging on the offramp. And to be fair probably that's true. Charity given to organizations experienced in meeting the needs of the dispossessed will just do a better job than $5 given to a random stranger. But at the cost of ignoring a fellow human being in trouble.

Maybe this guy thought money bought the right to command this woman. Mr. Mudede, in his worldview certainly believes that. Or maybe he wanted to recognize her as a human being like himself but less fortunate, which could be a greater gift than the $5.
5
@3

Bullshit. That's as pointless as someone on the far right fringe saying "leftists want to spend my money to express their charity."

By far, most people are decent. They think themselves and the way they do things best, not out of malice bit genuine belief. The best thing we can do is openly listen to them, whatever our disagreement. The worst is the kind of bigoted knee jerk reaction you just spewed out.
6
@4/5 - well said
7
Shorter #3 - Reads Mudede’s piece, one or both of them decide a man in a suit in Seattle(!?) is a right winger, says those on the left do not provide handouts of their own accord.
8
@4,
It's the limits we have of where to spend our compassion, where to invest emotion. My friend's kid in trouble has a claim on me I must meet. An employee with A sister in law needing help, he or she does too but not as much. A stranger on the street forces me to decide how much I can afford and stay able to be who I must for clients and family and friends.
At that point it's pretty easy to say I won't be bothered.
So I guess all those homeless people with no families, or whose families are often in abject poverty (often minorities) can go fuck themselves?

Taxing the rich to fund public welfare and universal health care would do a lot to improve these people's lives. But if we did that, then the families, friends, and clients of wealthy people (very often white) won't get as much charity from their families.

"Sorry son, I can't loan you the down payment you need to buy your second home because the government forces me to buy soup for all those homeless bums on the street."

Compassionate conservatism.
9
@8

Had to fight a knee jerk reaction.

Why does race creep into your narrative? I see nothing in the original article to say it was a factor And for that writer any excuse to inject the accident of skin color into his screeds will be used well beyond reason.

Otherwise we have robust social programs alreadu. Many of the homeless refuse them if they find the conditions (drug or alcohol free, no pets etc) aren't to their liking. Some are deeply mentally ill and won't use them out of irrational fear. Some have outstanding child support, arrest warrants or other issues they don't wish subjected to scrutiny.

And many are genuinely down on their luck in a very expensive place to live, obviously.

I will say this. Seattle's budget for homelessness should do the job. About $7000 per year per homeless person is enough to house in dorm style those willing to accept it. If that money already is ineffective throwing more at it seems a poor idea until the reason why is clear.

10
@ Numbers

Prior post, Seattle spends $63 million for an approximate population of 10,000 homeless according to a quick Google search. The rest is math.
11
@9,

I'd originally written a longer, more rambling comment but deleted most of it because, well, it was rambling. Here's the gist though, and it was partially motivated by @3 and your own comment @5, and you'll see how race made it in too...

It's pretty common knowledge that most people who are born into wealth remain there (and their future generations do too). Same with those born into poverty. Sure there are exceptions, but they're called "exceptions" for a reason.

One of the core conservative beliefs is that everyone is personally responsible for their own outcomes in life. If you're poor, you must have made bad choices. If you're rich, you must have made good choices.

One of the core liberal beliefs is that as a society, we're all responsible for each other and that people's outcomes in life aren't always due to their own personal choices, sometimes it's the inequalities in society that cause people to be rich or poor.

The problem with the conservative belief, that one's personal choices are the cause of one's outcome in life, is that it falls into the fallacy of the "just world hypothesis":
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Just-world…

A hypothesis that, unfortunately, doesn't bear out in the real world (i.e., sometimes the bad guys do win, sometimes people don't get what they deserve)

That's what hit me when I read both your comment @5
By far, most people are decent. They think themselves and the way they do things best, not out of malice bit genuine belief.
and then your comment @8:
Many of the homeless refuse them if they find the conditions (drug or alcohol free, no pets etc) aren't to their liking. Some are deeply mentally ill and won't use them out of irrational fear. Some have outstanding child support, arrest warrants or other issues they don't wish subjected to scrutiny.
That right there is the "just world hypothesis" at work. Your genuine belief is that the homeless don't use shelters for a variety of "poor personal choice" reasons, not that they don't use them because they're often full (a society problem).

I made the aside about race because it relates to this somewhat, though more as a question I think conservatives should be introspective about because of its implications...
How many white CEOs are there compared to black CEOs? The population of the US is about 70% white and about 10% black. There are currently only 5 black CEOs in fortune 500 companies. That's way under 10%. So blacks are not in the top company positions in representative percentage.
Why is this?
If you believe in the "just world hypothesis" then it must be because blacks make poorer choices than whites. Essentially, that blacks are inferior to whites. Most conservatives don't like to say that. I've always wondered what they really think about that though.

Finally, the reason this comes back to @3's comment is that he/she does actually make a good point that, if you believe that personal choices lead to one's outcome, that conservatives abuse charity. They only give to people they personally believe are worthy (as you even commented @4) and not those who might truly be more needy, because they disagree with their "poor lifestyle choices," which may not even have been choices in the first place. They dislike anonymous charity, or government "charity"/welfare because then nobody important sees the "good deed" they've done, and remember, in their mind, everyone believes in the "just world," that what goes around comes around, and their charity needs to be visible and noticed or else they won't get their reward later.

That's my probably too long response to your response.

12
yeah totally - the feral bums deserve to be given money w/o fear of a weird look or expectation. i think its like a UN regulation.
13
I assume there's a German word-phrase for causing yourself to look your worst while attempting to drum up some good virtue
14
@4&9, @11 UF,
You & thecentetisright are having a good civilized exchange. I'm learning something.
I'd like to add to your dialogue.

First of all, I'm a conservative, that is I "have a disposition to preserve with the ability to change". I believe Edmund Burke coined the definition. I've never heard of the "just world hypothesis" until this evening.

You wrote "One of the core conservative beliefs is that everyone is personally responsible for their own outcomes in life. If you're poor, you must have made bad choices. If you're rich, you must have made good choices." I contend that strongly. I don't nor do many conservatives believe humans are totally responsible for the outcomes in their lives. However they are responsible for some (most?) of their choices.

I also don't agree with "One of the core liberal beliefs is that as a society, we're all responsible for each other and that people's outcomes in life aren't always due to their own personal choices, sometimes it's the inequalities in society that cause people to be rich or poor." I believe liberals believe that government is responsible. I don't believe that people should be treated 'equally' but 'fairly'. Some of us male, female, white, black, Asian (or any combination thereof), straight, gay, rich, poor (or something in between) etc. Humans are simple not going to make the same decisions.

What we're quibbling over are the definitions of 'conservative' & 'liberal'. While my politics are right of center, I don't believe I'm an ideologue. I do like engagement otherwise, I don't learn much.
15
not sure who is a bigger jerk - the ass-hat with the money, or CM for just creepy voyeruistic activity and not saying something to the jerk. even a half-hearted 'dont be an asshole' or something kind to the woman on the street. Failure to call out asshole behavior when witnessed is what keeps guys like that feeling entitled.

assumign this is all true. i find myself doubting the veracity of CM's stories more and more as time goes by
16
@14,
Fair enough, though listen to how frequently conservatives talk about "personal responsibility" when something bad happens to someone. A person gets sick, they lose their job, etc... all "personal responsibility"... if they'd prepared/acted better, they wouldn't have had that happen. Conservatives don't always say that, no, but pretty damn frequently. So much so that "personal responsibility" has become a buzz word with them. Actually, I should clarify that... it applies when bad things happen to someone else, when bad things happen to them then there's always someone else to blame. If some stranger gets sick it's because of their unhealthy lifestyle, if THEY get sick it's because someone sneezed on them. That, by the way, is another phenomenon related to the just world hypothesis. In this case, it's the tendency to attribute internal (personal) factors to other people's problems but internal (society) factors to their own problems, the "fundamental attribution error":

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fundamenta…

When you wrote:
I believe liberals believe that government is responsible.
Are you implying that liberals think government should be responsible for making sure things are fair and equal? Or something else? Liberals think government should be responsible for what?

In my own view, I'd prefer if government didn't have to be responsible for caring for the needy. It would be great if we lived in a society where people actually cared about each other. Almost... I don't know... christian. But of course, we DON'T live in a christian society and since it's pretty obvious that the well off won't give sufficient help unless they're forced to, then I believe we need an enforced government taxation system. If private charities were able to deal with poverty and homelessness and poor health, they would have done so by now. They've failed. People don't want to help, unless it's only to help themselves and their family. So we either let the suffering continue to suffer, or we force those who are able to give more to help the suffering. Conservatives argue for the former (more accurately, they argue to do nothing, or that nothing CAN be done), liberals for the latter.

I also believe all races, genders, etc. should be treated fairly. They should also be treated equally... equally as human beings. Of course not everyone is exactly the same. Different people have different abilities. However, those differences are spread around mostly evenly. Blacks are just as capable as being CEOs as whites, I believe. But there's not an equal representation of black CEOs to white CEOs in terms of population stats. In MY opinion, that's because there's discrimination, inequality, and white privilege. I could be wrong though. But what's the only other possibility? That blacks are NOT as capable as whites for being CEOs. That's racism. That's the literal definition of racism. I don't believe blacks are less capable than whites, but some people definitely do.
17
@Urgutha

Part of the problem is that we're discussing stuff entire schools of philosophy and economics haven't resolved. I'm lucky in being self employed but the time either of us has to convey our different understandings of the very complicated ideas involved is limited. Ah well.

But, there are a couple of tbings. Your just world hypotheses has some merit but some limits too. It is simply true that a person prepared for bad luck will fare better than one who isn't. Two people could have a water heater fail on the same incone, for example. One buys coffee each morning, the other puts that $5 per day in a savings account for household maintanance. It doesn't make the saver a better human being.
They may be a jerk or abuse their spouse. But it does make them better able to bear the cost of a new boiler.

I think you missed what I was saying about charity a bit. Across ideological grounding there are charitable groups helping the homeless in our area. If I have $100 to spare they're experienced in making that money most helpful to those needing help. Giving it $5 a time to panhandlers might help, or it might make things worse for an addict. I don't need a framed certificate of my giving but do want the limited amount I can give to do the most good it can.

Racism, income of one's parents and a host of other things affect where we start in life. But one thing I've told nephews (and accepted the eye rolling) is this- if you've worked the system by obtaining an education or trade, given your boss an hours work for an hours pay, paid bills on time or communicated with a creditor if you couldn't and so on and still can't get ahead the system or racism or whatever may be the problem. Until then you are.

I guess shorter form is I prefer the illusion I control my destiny to the illusion that I don't.
18
15) I understand your point but narrative motion made me slow down what happened very quickly. I did stop, but because I was startled. I did not believe what I had just heard and what was happening. And by the time I realized what I was watching the man was up and gone. And I was even more startled as I more and more processed what I had just watched.
19
Good Morning UF & thecentetisright,
Again, an outstanding exchange. I wish SLOG was more like this. I can't comment right now. But can say, I appreciate your missives very much.
20
I enjoy these exchanges as well. I don't often engage in them since Slog is typically so... I don't know how to put it... transient and casual? But every so often the opportunity comes up.

@Thecentetisright,
I get what you're saying and I agree that everyone should, at the very least, put forth their own effort to succeed BEFORE blaming failure on outside influences. Still, I wish more people wouldn't resort to "blaming the victim" when they see failure. We really have no idea why someone is homeless and on the street until we've walked a mile in their moccasins.

You like to believe the illusion that you control your own destiny. That's fine. I, on the other hand, believe in the illusion that we don't control it. Not that our actions are worthless, they're not, and it's definitely worth the effort to try to succeed, it's just that the random things that happen out of our control are far more powerful than most people like to admit.
21
@14 I don't know about this statement that liberals think 'the government is responsible' but one thing to keep in mind is that liberals tend to think that the government should be, even if it does not quite measure up to it most of the time, representative of society, in a free and democratic country. So saying that liberals believe 'we're all responsible for each other' and 'government is responsible' are not exactly two different things. Of course the right tends to have an adversarial view of the government. It is not 'by and for the people' to most of them, but some malignant overlord hell bent on taking their money and telling them what they can and cannot do with their god-given property.
22
Capitalism seems to work for the majority(meaning higher than 50%) of people. They get to engage in consumerism to their hearts content, and if they can't afford consumerism given their means, lots of for-profit companies are willing to extend revolving, short-term credit at a high APR. The problem with socialism and communism is the same thing that is wrong with capitalism; it's a product of human beings who by nature are very self-centered, self-focused. This leads to exploitation, and eventually totalitarianism as the masses are powerless in the hands of the few. At least capitalism is honest with everyone in that you know where you stand. Be a (productive) member of society, consume, and if you get into trouble you're pretty much fucked/on your own.
23
@21

I think that's a fairish way of putting it.

I'd have said most conservatives think government a necessary evil requiring sufficient power to do what it's Constitutionally required to- and not a bit more at the federal level. But also requiring constant vigilance to protect against over-reach. The state and local level are the arenas for responding to popular changes- like desegregation or gay marriage. When those changes reach critical mass the feds must weigh in either by court or legislation under their authority to regulate interstate commerce.

I know. Pollyanna. In fact government is a messy business whose boundaries are constantly changing. Conservatives just want those changes to be respectful of the cultural and legal establishments and traditions that made then possible in the first place

However conservatives and liberals and all the rest are human beings certain of error. We should recognize the need for opposition if only out of selfish desire to find where those errors lie. Too bad that seems am outdated notion at either side of politics at the moment.

24
“ In Hegel's conception of the master and slave dialectic (or struggle), the master demands recognition from the slave, but he does not reciprocate this recognition; the slave goes unseen or is seen only by those who are unseen by their masters.“

You outlined the Hegelian terms, and failed to deliver, Mudede.

In this case the So-called master demanded recognition. It was given. And the so-called Master reciprocated by giving her $5.

So he is not a Master. And she is not a Slave. She does not go unseen.

He may have demanded she acknowledge him, but who knows why. Considering your strong inclination towards raciakizing everything, I suspect you favored the cynical reasoning of his request.

It very well could be he was wanting to connect with her on a personal level. It could be he wanted to let her know that he is aware of her humanity. There is few ways to give recognition to another’s humanity that facing one another, and looking into one another’s eyes.

He didn’t ignore her. He invited her into a moment, and she chose to be there with him. He didn’t treat her as nothing more than a cup, needing to be filled with change. He went beyond the money.

But all you see is a White man, and a beggar that happens to be White. And from that all you know to see is a slave and a master. This isn’t a critique about those two, it’s a critique about the place where you see your self. It’s about you.

Hell, you didn’t even take a penny out of your pocket and offer it up.
25
The irony of all this is the woman didn’t go unseen by the young business man. She went unseen by YOU.

26
@25, i did not make the hegelian side clearer. i will next time. i can only do so much in a post. but the situation of beggars in this city is such that i have to always have cash in my pockets. i have to remind myself to put coins and notes in my pockets not for the bus or some other like purpose but to help beggars, who numbers are growing. the rich do not gave a damn about them. that's how bad the situation is. i will
write about this next.
27
#26

Thanks for your response.