Just recently I stumbled upon the following Tumblr post:
This is probably one of the most ridiculous false attempts at activism I have ever seen and let me tell you why: ‘walking in their shoes’ is a false equivalency to actually experiencing what someone has experienced to get them where they are. I’ve never liked the “mile in her shoes” movement among army members and this idea that you can ‘live on the streets’ for four days and know what it’s like to be homeless is a lie.
It’s a way for you to go out for a few days, knowing you have security, safety, a job, everything you need, to return to whenever you feel like it. There’s no worry that you’ll have nothing and you will not feel the same emotional whirlwind that any actual homeless people feel because there is more to their story and they don’t know that they’re going to have a job and a house in half a week. This is just a fake opportunity to make yourself feel better about being a shitty person. This is a way to give yourself moral pats on the back, take selfies, and write about how great of a person you are while doing minimal work to help the people you’re using to give yourself attention.
Behind truly homeless people are unseen, unheard of struggles. You have vets who have suffered PTSD and who may not have healthcare. You have people struggling with addiction, individuals kicked out of their family for one reason or another–and all of these people have one thing in common that these ‘activists’ do not: they do not know where they will be tomorrow. They do not have the promise of a warm bed and food and good living that the ‘activists’ have to return to once their ‘retreat’ is over. This isn’t a retreat for them, this is real life.
Living on the streets for 4 days and pretending you’re homeless doesn’t help the homeless in any way. The blog post does mention donating to some of the organizations around town, but there’s no way to tell whether that’s true or not. The fact that there is a rule against donating your OWN money to the homeless makes this reek like a scam…
But there’s more than the blatant disregard to the plights of the homeless.
What ‘events’ like this do also provide certain people with moral superiority. I’ve seen it in arguments and I’m sure you have to. Imagine you’re talking about how to help the homeless and a friend of yours says, “Uhm, Becky, have you ever been homeless? Have you ever slept on the sidewalk and eaten at a soup kitchen? No? Well I have. I have gone to a retreat and learned what it’s like to be homeless. I know them better than you Becky and because you’ve never been homeless but I have, you can’t talk about it. You have no right to talk about it, but I do.”
Ploys like this are often deployed by leftists (but I won’t say they’re the only ones because I’m sure they’re not). You see it all the time in other arguments:
“Oh, you’re not black, so you can’t talk about anything related to black people.”
“Are you gay? No? Then stop talking about gay issues because you’ve never experienced them.”
“OMG. You’ve eaten meat before. You’re not allowed to talk about liking animals.”
This blog post is spouting nothing more than a ‘morally superior’ camping getaway. If you want to understand homeless people better, work with them; talk to them. They have a lot to say. Bring them supplies, donate your money and/or your time. Be a part of their life and community, but don’t be such a lazy activists that you can’t even donate your own resources to help someone.
You grow more empathetic and caring by learning about real people, not pretending to be something you’re not. At the very least, just admit that what you’re doing is a moral scam and don’t pretend that eating at the soup kitchen when you don’t need to is not stealing.
Lady, you’re gross, selfish, self-righteous, and arrogant, but Tumblr has been the worst cesspool breeding ground for that for a while.