Two Cent Tuesday: Intent

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. :/

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Two Cent Tuesday: Intent

11 thoughts on “Two Cent Tuesday: Intent

  1. So true!…that there are as many different reasons why people are the way they are, as there are people! I think our brains can’t help but initially judge people, but we can always control what we say to others about what our brains have determined. I was always very careful about what I said around my children, since their opinions were just forming. Great post!

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  2. A really great post, Dawn. You’re so right that it’s too easy to judge people. “There but for the grace of God,” doesn’t trip easily from the lips. I often give to people who are trying to use what talents they’ve managed to salvage, to earn a few bucks. I’m sure your photo will pop into your mind next time you see a street musician, and maybe he’ll be lucky. 🙂

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  3. I wrote a big long thing (surprise!) and then I deleted it.
    We are all human. We live. We learn. And yes, we’ve been conditioned. Sometimes not always the way we would like to have been. Good post.

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  4. So often we find ourselves stuck between a rock and a hard place when it comes to situations like this. Perhaps it wasn’t so much about what you do for others but how much you could do for yourself – seems pretty clear that you are always learning and that is more than can be said for alot of people. Great post.

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