There’s the bulletproof one percent, and there’s the self-made giant. That’s how we perceive the spectrum of social status. But we seem to not see the grey area in which the marginalized outcast is held, lethargic and with no chance for a swift, full comeback. But what does ‘outcast’ really mean?
Is he a vagabond who steered away from a normally functioning existence, a stray individual who offends public sensibilities? If so, is he to be pitied or punished?
Is he a success story who stopped being successful, a luminary who’s now severed from the orderly, tax paying world of ours? If so, is he to be funded?
Is he a decorative item that stands at the outskirts of human worth and on the threshold of oblivion? If so, is he to be moved elsewhere?
What’s for sure, however, is the fact that the outcast represents one of our many nightmares, has the degrading duty of accommodating the negative stereotypes that society manufactures in bulk, housing all stigmas, and rekindling a sensitivity which we thought we’ve once got rid of. But the worst part is that he has no other choice, no say in what happens to him.
Presently, society is just satisfied with calling these shadow people non-citizens, unemployed, homeless, bums, drunks, beggars, thieves, piranhas, trailer trash, etc. and ignoring anything that goes further; i.e. bad social security policies, bad housing policies, bad economy, lack of social mobility, social inequality, drugs and alcohol and other addictions, civil conflicts and migration and other destructive dynamics, mental illnesses, etc.
Now, if we were to pity them, wouldn’t we feel bad about them, but then, after not knowing how to help, wouldn’t we feel guilty for leading a normal to lavish lifestyle. That’s a whole lot of drama to take in!
Again, if we were to fund them, wouldn’t we feel scammed or cheated, wouldn’t we look naive and silly if their misery turns out to be a theatrical ploy that earns them easy money while we go to work and wrestle with the demanding market?
But, if we were to generalize our immediate perceptions or shallow assumptions and move our shadow people elsewhere because they don’t look good near touristic sites or behind TV screens, wouldn’t we be called monsters?
This is puzzling indeed!
But what should become of the people who really need help? People left with nothing but basic needs, low spirits, and a dying past… people who are neither criminal nor immoral… people who rely on public consciousness in order to stay alive and feel human once again, people whose last resort is a stranger’s kindness and the streets’ pavements.
It’s the same old story of how a few bad apples spoil the bunch. Henceforth, our job is to make the right decision about whether or when we should intervene, and to not let the bad ruin the good. Tricky and tough, but definitely doable! We just have to start somewhere because there’s always, always a way; otherwise, what’s the benefit of being intelligent creatures.
What will you do? Personally, I have nothing binding to implement. I don’t have the legislative tools of a government; not the wide reach of the media industry, not the reformative plans of an NGO. What I have, though, is a beating heart, a loud voice, and a pen name. These gifts shall help me get by this crazy maze called life.
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