Thursday, August 31, 2017

Homeless people are REAL people

or Toilet Paper and the 
reducing of others to mere Its.
Getting the average citizens of Sacramento city and county to have a more-positive sense of Homeless People is an important and laudable effort that must be pursued. But how, and to what end, precisely?
In recent days, Loaves & Fishes has had a campaign going to get citizens to buy toilet paper and to bring what they purchase to the Loaves & Fishes Welcoming Center/Warehouse.
Below is text about the toilet-paper drive, written, I believe, by Justin of L&F:
Toilet Paper Drive This Thursday
Access to clean fully stocked restrooms is one of life's most basic necessities. Providing those facilities is an essential part of Loaves & Fishes. We need your help to keep everything stocked and rolling.

Help us collect for those in need by donating a package of TP.

When: Thursday, August 31st, 7am-5pm

Where: Loaves & Fishes, 1351 North C Street, Sacramento, CA 95811
A toilet-paper drive is a common something that Loaves & Fishes has done. There was, likely, a drive of this kind every year in the Libby era. While it has certain benefits in creating interaction between the charity and its donors, the detriment of collecting toilet paper in this manner is overwhelming, particularly so at the current time.
Homeless people have been in the news a lot in the past year or so, most frequently for pooping against the sides of buildings or along the American River Parkway or in the proximity of where they’ve been “illegally” camping.
The reason for the feces problem is simple: Bathrooms have not been available. The bathrooms in Chavez Park that had been available for men and women were razed in order to build all new facilities for the new restaurant in the park that offers its restrooms for the use of customers, only. It is ironic that Cesar Chavez, after whom the park was named, was a proponent for poor folk, not for fancy restaurants.
Nonetheless, the Bee newspaper, in particular, has written badly-researched articles and published ill-conceived Breton editorials that have brazenly attacked homeless people for something they cannot avoid. All people need to piss and poop on a schedule that their body commands. These things cannot be put off indefinitely for want of a proper place to do one’s dirty bit of business.
But the problem is not simply a matter of nasty need; it is a matter of how homeless people are perceived and then treated.
If homeless people are put forward as “toilet-paper users” – if that is how they are to be presented, as is the case with Loaves & Fishes’ pernicious toilet-paper drives – then homeless people are being dehumanized, presented as disgusting animals and not as the unique, interesting, complex individual human beings that they are.
When I say that homeless people are being dehumanized, I ain’t foolin’ around. Drs. Lasana T. Harris and Susan T. Fiske have collaborated on a series of perhaps ten papers that document the dehumanization that occurs when homeless people or other marginalized groups, such as alcoholics, are pushed out of the flow of being perceived as mainstream human and become mere objects that are perceived as disgusting. See the Harris and Fiske paper in Sage Journal, titled “Dehumanizing the Lowest of the Low,” and from there you can see References related to articles that further document the degradation of being homeless and dehumanized.
As to the matter of getting toilet paper properly, I think that what would be best is for Loaves & Fishes to simply pay for the common commodity out of whatever is the closest thing to a Fund for Common Expenses and abandon the malicious [or, if not "malicious," or "thoughtlessly conceived," then highly ill-advised] practice of having toilet-paper drives, altogether.


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