Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Please Understand

The Following is from an older blog I did some time ago:

One of my guys needs an apartment so that's where I come in. I help find that place. The search has been a tedious one, but most people are accomodating and kind. I do online searches, word of mouth and even newspaper hunts. One newspaper I was looking through showed an advertisement for a reasonably priced 1 bed room. I gave a ring and left a message, hoping to set up an appointment soon. The next day I got a ring back from a kindly sounding man who inquired about me needing a 1 bedroom for myself. I explained that I worked for an agency and what my purpose was. Understandably he wanted to know more about the agency and how this individual would be able to pay for this place. I explained what we do and that the agency itself would be paying for the place, to which he wanted to know if the gentleman was "section 8". (Section 8 is subsidized housing for people in need financially and/or because of disabilities.) I explained that he was not, but that the payment for the place was similiar to section 8 because you could definitely guarantee the money would be there since it was coming from an agency. Then the man said,"I'm just concerned about section 8 people being a disturbance to the other tenants.""I don't follow" I said, but I was afraid I really did follow, but didn't want to."You know. I've seen it time and time again. Section 8 people are a disturbance to the other tenants around them.""I'm sorry I still don't understand what you mean by disturbance.""Yelling, screaming, filth, trash every where. I wouldn't want to live next to that. Would you?" He said abrasively."Well no I would not, but I can assure you that this is not something you'd have to worry about with this individual." I couldn't believe what I was hearing."I've just seen this over and over again with people who are on section 8 and I don't want to bring that to my place."I was furious. "So are you going to meet this person and show them you're apartment or are you not even willing to show them your place because they're of a financial position to where they would need the services of section 8.""No. I'm not going to show him my apartment."With that I hung up the phone.One adult male human being had just stereotyped a whole demographic population. He had just seriously told me that people who need assistance from the government to pay their rent were filthy, disruptive and not worth giving the benefit of a doubt or the time of day. The year: 2007. The belief: not that far from precivil rights, presocial services boom of the early 20th century. There are still people that walk this earth and fear people with special needs. They fear the poor. They fear what they do not understand. " Do not wax indignation. Understand."Maybe the next time you see someone who acts a little different from what you're used to seeing, don't let the fear of what you don't understand define that moment. Just know that they're on your level even if they can't convey that. Maybe you walk this walk every day of your life, then thanks for being one more voice and one more body to offset the ignorance that still plagues our society. I'm not naive. I know this world is full of ignorant people. I guess sometimes you just hope for a bit more.

1 comment:

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