I’m a work in progress.
I consider myself fairly liberal when it comes to diversity; people of different backgrounds, religions, ethnicities, cultures, social status, intelligence, and mental/physical ability/disabilities. But I am human.
I must admit that many times people who are different from me get labeled by my brain pretty quickly before my sense of morality and justice has a chance to react. Everyone has a story. I try to be mindful of that but it is not always my first reaction.
My friend Carole and I were in DC on Sunday. While walking to our destination at The National Gallery of Art we saw many blankets and trash bags of belongings stuffed into the doorways of office buildings. We saw homeless people gathered on grates of heat, no doubt created just for them. We talked about what it must be like to be out in this cold and live on the street like that.
Carole told me of a documentary she watched where someone lived as a homeless person to better understand why they live like that. I’ve seen enough of these types of films and read enough to know there are as many reasons as there are homeless people. We both agreed.
As we were walking to the Sculpture Garden after our tour of the Gallery a black man smoking a cigarette tried to stop us with “Ladies, just a quick question”.
I judged him as a fancy pants pan handler and kept walking. (He was smoking a cigarette! Ugh.)
I looked back and saw Carole opening her wallet. When she caught up to me I said “He’s just going to use that money to buy cigarettes”. “Well” she said “He must need it more than me”.
My stock answer on more than one occasion.
Later boarding the metro there was a man with a key board at the top of the stairs. Almost all the metro stops have musicians tending them. I took a picture of him. (When you have a blog you take a picture of all kinds of stuff because you never know when you might need it.)
The man threw his hand up just as I snapped. Grrr….
“Ma’am” he said “If you are going to take a picture, how about a donation?”
“You threw your hand up and ruined the shot” I scolded stepping onto the escalator.
And now, look, I am using the image for my blog. I wish I had given him a dollar.