Saturday, March 13, 2010

NCH Report on Pacific coast tent cities is a whale of a mess, Part II

A HUGE copy of the picture at right is on the first (title) page of the 75-page National Coalition for the Homeless report Tent Cities in America: A Pacific Coast Report. It's also on page 38 in the Sacramento section [pg 36-43], which is titled "Safe Ground, Sacramento, California / Formerly: American River Tent City."

My question is: Why in the world did the writers/producers of the 75-page report use that photogragh, from Tent City, prominently!? It presents homeless people in a disgraceful way that is atypical of what goes on. On the report's title page it is blatant that the woman appears equivalent to not wearing a top, and the man appears to be doing something vulgar or making a vulgar jesture. [Actually, he is just holding a pipe, that is a color similar to that of his pants, in front of this crotch.]

I certainly am not holding the two people photographed to blame. But I have to wonder what thinking was going on at the National Coalition for the Homeless when the picture was chosen. Was is intended to make homeless people appear ridiculous such that homeless-help agencies seem that much more needed!?

Why didn't the question come up at several points along the way, in the development of the report, that the photograph was inappropriate and non-representative?

I do not believe that I am being hypersensitive or a prude. I'm not offended by the photograph; it's the NCH researchers' and writers' disregard to having photography and text that best represents the truth of what's going on that is offensive.

The report will possibly be read in high percentage by people who are significantly ignorant of homeless people and homeless encampments. The report is likely to mislead many.

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