I read this article in the New York Times yesterday. It’s about two issues/causes I am interested in: homelessness (eliminating it, of course!) and Occupy Wall $treet. The gist of the piece is that a lot of homeless people are joining the OW$ protests (I like to call it the people’s movement, it’s move inclusive, less territorial) all over the country. There are mixed feeling and opinions about this. One camp (ha, ha, pun intended) believes homeless people are natural allies and represent the very social issues and problems OW$ and it’s progeny are highlighting and protesting about. In the other tent are those who think homeless people are a smelly and disruptive presence (sound familiarly bougie?) And then there are the mental cases…
Following in s quote from the NYT article: “There are a lot of them here that have mental problems and that need help. They are in the wrong place,” said Jessica Anderson, 22, who is herself homeless, sitting with friends on a tarp at the Los Angeles site. “They have been creating more problems. There was one guy who showed up last night and he would not shut up: Saying all kinds of crazy stuff all night.”
I am so tired of smack-talk about us, mentally ill individuals that is, homeless, crazy, smelly or not. I am just really, really tried of the idea that it is okay to put down, degrade, label, name-call, judge and re-stigmatize people with mental illnesses. We are all existing on this planet together, and the Left cannot afford to throw away its own.
Hello, Earth to Jessica Anderson, you’re part of the problem, not the solution. Cuz, sister, when, as a homeless person, you smack-talk other homeless people, you create an us v. them situation that is at the very root of American social injustice, some of which OW$ is trying to address. When, as a human being you put down another human being based purely on their mental health status, it simply puts your own inhumanity on display.