feels-like-fire:

meganphntmgrl:

I’m starting to think that instead of vampires as a metaphor for oppressed people, we really need to start using vampirism as a metaphor for privilege.

Like, yes, you’re a vampire and you probably can’t help that, and sometimes people will freak the fuck out when you’re coming at them even if it’s just to ask if you can borrow a cup of sugar for your blood muffins or something, and you’re like, “Hey, don’t judge me just because I’m a vampire!”

And then a human’s like, “Um, well, historically, vampires tend to attack us humans and drink our blood.”

And sure, your first instinct is to go “Hey, I’m one of the good vampires! I have a subscription service at a blood bank and everything!”, but… that… doesn’t change the fact that historically, yeah, vampires have survived by eating humans. Any changing perception of vampires is going to have to start with vampires.

So instead of protesting your innocence, you have to start by going to find other vampires and being like “Hey guys, we have to stop eating humans.”

And unfortunately, a lot of vampires are gonna think they’re already doing everything they need to to be Good Vampires, and this needs to be combatted. Being a Good Vampire is a never-ending struggle, and it’s not very rewarding, but it’s what has to be done.

And some humans will never, ever stop being suspicious of you, and you’ll have to accept that. Humans don’t owe you their respect just because you’re doing them the basic service of not flapping into their bedrooms at night and biting their necks. That’s like, the bare minimum of not being an asshole vampire. And some humans will probably still make jokes about how vampires can’t go in the sun without burning up and how they have no reflections and how for some reason they think “Alucard” is actually a cute baby name, but you’ll just have to deal with that, because they’re coping with the fact that this is an entire population of things that historically have always eaten them.

But it’s not about you. It’s about making the world safer for humans, and combatting it every damn time you see another vampire planning out a good old-fashioned round of feasting on virgins in nightgowns, and saying “Okay, no, that’s really offensive” the next time one of your vampire buddies refers to a human as a bloodbag, and generally working overtime to present a pro-human standpoint.

Because really, what good does it do to make the monsters the oppressed ones?

Lit nerd here! I took a class on vampires in undergraduate, and went on to take lots of other classes on the macabre, the gothic, the theme of monsters in literature, etc. Over the course of my undergraduate career, I wound up reading “Dracula” as assigned reading 3 separate times, so I’m awfully familiar with the book. If you’ve never read it, it’s definitely worth a read, as it’s short, and also one of the most famous epistolary novels ever written; if you need an example of that art form, you won’t find a better one than “Dracula.” (An epistolary novel is a work written as a series of documents—say, letters from one character to another, or supposed journal entries, that kind of thing.) Although one of the genre’s best examples, Dracula was NOT the first modern, fictional vampire—that title goes to John William Polidori, who wrote "The Vampyre" in 1819. (The short story was often attributed erroneously to Lord Byron, on whom the titular character was loosely based.)

I love this essay. Hilariously, despite the recent turn some vampires have taken in culture (I haven’t read the Twilight series, and I’m not familiar with any iteration of True Blood)—-vampires were never meant to read as oppressed, at least as they appear in works of fiction, as opposed to Eastern European folklore. They were ALWAYS meant as a metaphor for the following things: the aristocracy (Dracula in the novel being the classic example, although the vampire Lestat as an actual rock star is a pretty stellar example as well), invading foreigners & how they’ll ruin ~our~ culture (xenophobia was alive and well in Bram Stoker’s writing), fear of germs/contagion (international travel had already brought a series of dangerous diseases to British soil, including repeated waves of cholera epidemic), and a few other things. But all the people who defeat Dracula are meant to represent the good things about the “common man”: faith in God, sensible thinking, a reliance on scientific thinking and new technology to drive out ancient folkloric wickedness—a metaphorical triumph of science (common man, things accessible to everyone) over corrupt power and dark magic (obtained via privilege, accessible only to the aristocracy).

Lots of other vampire stories, particularly from this time period (late 1890s, early 1900s) carry this out, as well as some other novels with similar themes—like “The Picture of Dorian Grey.” Always, the privileged person appears unnaturally beautiful and powerful, usually at the cost of countless hidden deaths of common people or other wickedness, and is often ageless too; almost always, the privileged person acts alone, as opposed to working in groups. (Vampire covens are a more modern addendum to the story.) Even if there is more than one vampire, it’s always a privileged minority into which one must be invited—you can never become a vampire by simple hard work; you have to be chosen. (A great fictional metaphor for the troubles of the common man/peasant class is actually the trope of the werewolf, but that’s a subject for another essay.)

Last thing: Interestingly, in Eastern European/Slavic folk lore, vampires weren’t nearly as evil as they wound up portrayed in fiction. They didn’t have fangs, and they didn’t necessarily drink blood; instead of being pasty or white-skinned, they were usually ruddy in color; they often had no neck; and they were blamed for everything from illness, to crops dying, to sick farm animals, to money troubles, to the weather. And if you wound up a vampire, it was usually an accident: you died in a liminal period of life (like an unwed pregnant woman, or a soldier in battle) … or sometimes it was just as simple as a black cat jumping over your body before you’d been buried properly. At any rate, being a vampire was an unlucky fate, but it didn’t mean your soul was cursed or you were doomed to never make it to heaven or the afterlife—more like you had just gotten stuck en route. 

codenamecesare:

clawfoottub:

prokopetz:

alithea:

canisfamiliaris:

Is Junk Food Really Cheaper?
The answer is NO.
The “fact” that junk food is cheaper than real food has become a reflexive part of how we explain why so many Americans are overweight, particularly those with lower incomes. I frequently read confident statements like, “when a bag of chips is cheaper than a head of broccoli …” or “it’s more affordable to feed a family of four at McDonald’s than to cook a healthy meal for them at home.”
(via sunfoundation)

this bullshit fills me with a very specific kind of rage. so, TIME TO DEBUNK!
that meal from mcdonalds takes virtually no time to acquire AND is available almost anywhere.
the second meal? that “salad” is lettuce … with nothing else, not even dressing unless its just olive oil or some milk i guess? gross.
also thats the price of each serving, not an entire loaf of bread, a bottle of olive oil, etc. that stuff adds up which means you have to have a lot of money at one time to buy it all.
that meal probably took an hour and a half to make, which is a long fucking time when you work multiple jobs or are caring for a lot of people or dont have help! seriously, if you are a single parent of three who works, is spending an hour and a half every night preparing a meal a likely option?
same with beans and rice! also, you know whats a fucking bummer? eating beans and rice every night because you are poor. ask any person who has done it and they will tell you (you can start with me).
there is a “nutrition” argument here that lacks a follow up: poor people are more likely to be doing physical labor and need more than 571 calories per meal.
you know who is less likely to know how to bake or prepare a chicken? people without access to the internet, or libraries, or who werent taught how to by their parents because their parents worked all the time. access to healthy foods is a classist issue and classism is cyclical, you fucking morons.
seriously, these sorts of infographics make me want to fucking flip tables. do you know why people don’t eat more fresh fruits and vegetables? because fresh fruits and vegetables are expensive, because they take a long time to prepare, because they dont live near a grocery store that has a decent produce section, because they dont have reliable transportation to get groceries to and from the grocery store, because they dont have the energy to plan all of the shit that is involved in making healthy, intentional, filling, balanced meals. basically: poor people get fucked, and then we get BLAMED for being lazy.
eating “healthy”, aka access to fresh fruits and vegetables, is a privilege, first, foremost, always. so fuck you new york times and your ignorant goddamn infographic.
there are SYSTEMATIC REASONS that we do not have equal access to fresh fruits and vegetables. they are very REAL problems. besides, you know, systematic poverty in america, the total mis-distribution of farm subsidies is a perfect place to start. read about that, then either get bent or start working on the actual problem.

11. On top of all this, even if there’s a grocery store with excellent produce selection right down the block and your income is reliable enough to enable you to make periodic large purchases and you have sufficient free time to cook it all, purchasing raw foods in bulk is only cost-effectiv if you’re able to properly store it. You might be surprised how many low-income families don’t own full-size refrigerators, and fewer still own a good high-capacity chest freezer, both of which are necessary to get full value out of bulk food purchases.

And I mean I wouldn’t know, but can you really buy a whole chicken for $5 in NYC? Does anybody think poor people literally eat McDonald’s every meal and don’t eat beans and rice?
With a quick google, it looks like groceries are cheaper in NYC than they are in most parts of the US,  but chicken breasts range in price from $5.51 to $13.23.

All of the above. My personal least favorite flippant answer to the fast food-obesity connection is “McDonald’s has salads.”
They do. So if you’re running to McDonald’s to eat lunch before going back to work, you can choose a salad, and be hungry again in a couple of hours, or you can choose a sandwich, and go til the end of your shift. How do I know? From working at McDonald’s. Several of us started out eating the salads for lunch, but we couldn’t make it through the rest of the work shift without getting hungry again. A sandwich would last through closing. Salad for lunch is fine for desk jobs, which don’t burn as many calories as working on your feet all day. And at a lot of desk jobs, you have the freedom to snack if you get peckish after lunch. But that’s more time and money spent on food.
That’s another hidden cost of eating healthy that’s rarely acknowledged. You usually have to eat more often, for the very same reason that vegetables are recommended for dieting: you can’t digest the cellulose, aka insoluble fiber, in vegetables. So you’re filling up on fiber that your body can’t get any nutrition or energy from. Once that food makes it through your stomach in 2-3 hours, you haven’t gotten many calories from it, so you’re hungry again. That’s fine if you can keep eating more vegetables to keep your stomach busy deriving nutrients and expelling the cellulose, but if you don’t have the time or money for more food, you’re working hungry. There are high-fiber and high-protein foods like beans that give you more food value as well as bulk, but the tradeoff is often flatulence, which is uncomfortable and unpleasant for most people, and a real problem if you have a service job.
Plus, research suggests that eating processed food with its starches and sugars perpetuates some strains of gut flora while killing off others. Rats with more of the starch-fed flora gain more weight compared to rats with balanced flora even when both eat the same diet & same amount of calories. It seems like once your gut flora composition gets screwed up, even changing your diet has a limited effect unless you include specific foods that repopulate your beneficial gut flora. And McDonald’s doesn’t serve kefir or sauerkraut.

codenamecesare:

clawfoottub:

prokopetz:

alithea:

canisfamiliaris:

Is Junk Food Really Cheaper?

The answer is NO.

The “fact” that junk food is cheaper than real food has become a reflexive part of how we explain why so many Americans are overweight, particularly those with lower incomes. I frequently read confident statements like, “when a bag of chips is cheaper than a head of broccoli …” or “it’s more affordable to feed a family of four at McDonald’s than to cook a healthy meal for them at home.”

(via sunfoundation)

this bullshit fills me with a very specific kind of rage. so, TIME TO DEBUNK!

  1. that meal from mcdonalds takes virtually no time to acquire AND is available almost anywhere.
  2. the second meal? that “salad” is lettuce … with nothing else, not even dressing unless its just olive oil or some milk i guess? gross.
  3. also thats the price of each serving, not an entire loaf of bread, a bottle of olive oil, etc. that stuff adds up which means you have to have a lot of money at one time to buy it all.
  4. that meal probably took an hour and a half to make, which is a long fucking time when you work multiple jobs or are caring for a lot of people or dont have help! seriously, if you are a single parent of three who works, is spending an hour and a half every night preparing a meal a likely option?
  5. same with beans and rice! also, you know whats a fucking bummer? eating beans and rice every night because you are poor. ask any person who has done it and they will tell you (you can start with me).
  6. there is a “nutrition” argument here that lacks a follow up: poor people are more likely to be doing physical labor and need more than 571 calories per meal.
  7. you know who is less likely to know how to bake or prepare a chicken? people without access to the internet, or libraries, or who werent taught how to by their parents because their parents worked all the time. access to healthy foods is a classist issue and classism is cyclical, you fucking morons.
  8. seriously, these sorts of infographics make me want to fucking flip tables. do you know why people don’t eat more fresh fruits and vegetables? because fresh fruits and vegetables are expensive, because they take a long time to prepare, because they dont live near a grocery store that has a decent produce section, because they dont have reliable transportation to get groceries to and from the grocery store, because they dont have the energy to plan all of the shit that is involved in making healthy, intentional, filling, balanced meals. basically: poor people get fucked, and then we get BLAMED for being lazy.
  9. eating “healthy”, aka access to fresh fruits and vegetables, is a privilege, first, foremost, always. so fuck you new york times and your ignorant goddamn infographic.
  10. there are SYSTEMATIC REASONS that we do not have equal access to fresh fruits and vegetables. they are very REAL problems. besides, you know, systematic poverty in america, the total mis-distribution of farm subsidies is a perfect place to start. read about that, then either get bent or start working on the actual problem.

11. On top of all this, even if there’s a grocery store with excellent produce selection right down the block and your income is reliable enough to enable you to make periodic large purchases and you have sufficient free time to cook it all, purchasing raw foods in bulk is only cost-effectiv if you’re able to properly store it. You might be surprised how many low-income families don’t own full-size refrigerators, and fewer still own a good high-capacity chest freezer, both of which are necessary to get full value out of bulk food purchases.

And I mean I wouldn’t know, but can you really buy a whole chicken for $5 in NYC? Does anybody think poor people literally eat McDonald’s every meal and don’t eat beans and rice?

With a quick google, it looks like groceries are cheaper in NYC than they are in most parts of the US,  but chicken breasts range in price from $5.51 to $13.23.

All of the above. My personal least favorite flippant answer to the fast food-obesity connection is “McDonald’s has salads.”

They do. So if you’re running to McDonald’s to eat lunch before going back to work, you can choose a salad, and be hungry again in a couple of hours, or you can choose a sandwich, and go til the end of your shift. How do I know? From working at McDonald’s. Several of us started out eating the salads for lunch, but we couldn’t make it through the rest of the work shift without getting hungry again. A sandwich would last through closing. Salad for lunch is fine for desk jobs, which don’t burn as many calories as working on your feet all day. And at a lot of desk jobs, you have the freedom to snack if you get peckish after lunch. But that’s more time and money spent on food.

That’s another hidden cost of eating healthy that’s rarely acknowledged. You usually have to eat more often, for the very same reason that vegetables are recommended for dieting: you can’t digest the cellulose, aka insoluble fiber, in vegetables. So you’re filling up on fiber that your body can’t get any nutrition or energy from. Once that food makes it through your stomach in 2-3 hours, you haven’t gotten many calories from it, so you’re hungry again. That’s fine if you can keep eating more vegetables to keep your stomach busy deriving nutrients and expelling the cellulose, but if you don’t have the time or money for more food, you’re working hungry. There are high-fiber and high-protein foods like beans that give you more food value as well as bulk, but the tradeoff is often flatulence, which is uncomfortable and unpleasant for most people, and a real problem if you have a service job.

Plus, research suggests that eating processed food with its starches and sugars perpetuates some strains of gut flora while killing off others. Rats with more of the starch-fed flora gain more weight compared to rats with balanced flora even when both eat the same diet & same amount of calories. It seems like once your gut flora composition gets screwed up, even changing your diet has a limited effect unless you include specific foods that repopulate your beneficial gut flora. And McDonald’s doesn’t serve kefir or sauerkraut.

"Capitalism means male baldness research gets more funding than malaria."
dkyubey:

heretherebdragons:

dancingloki:

prochoicegeneration:

Best post

Also, Lily Potter would have never wanted an abortion, because she was a financially well-off white woman starting a family in a happy marriage with a secure place at the top of wizarding society.
The question you should be asking is what if Merope Gaunt, an impoverished and uneducated single woman who escaped from a severely abusive family only to become pregnant with the unwanted child of a man who wanted nothing to do with her, had had access to an abortion and not had immense social pressure brainwashing her into carrying to term?

Perfect commentary is perfect.

Zach look

dkyubey:

heretherebdragons:

dancingloki:

prochoicegeneration:

Best post

Also, Lily Potter would have never wanted an abortion, because she was a financially well-off white woman starting a family in a happy marriage with a secure place at the top of wizarding society.

The question you should be asking is what if Merope Gaunt, an impoverished and uneducated single woman who escaped from a severely abusive family only to become pregnant with the unwanted child of a man who wanted nothing to do with her, had had access to an abortion and not had immense social pressure brainwashing her into carrying to term?

Perfect commentary is perfect.

Zach look

"But I am afraid we must face the likelihood that he [Shakespeare] wrote bawdy, not because the audience insisted on it, nor his fellow actors, nor even the aristocratic followers of his work, but just because it amused him."
"I remember working with a law school in which white men heavily dominated the faculty. They used lots of sports metaphors (doing an end run, Monday morning quarterbacking, and so on), with legal jargon thrown in for good measure. I suggested that this was not a particularly welcoming trait in their school, that in fact it was sexist, but they paid little attention. I made my point by speaking for about five minutes in dressmaking terms: putting a dart in here, a gusset there, cutting the budget on the bias so it would be more flexible, using a peplum to hide a course that might be controversial. The women in the room laughed; the men did not find it humorous….Language is power, make no mistake about it. It is used to include and exclude and to keep people and systems in their places."
Frances E. Kendall, Understanding White Privilege (via brute-reason)

soyonscruels:

witchpriest:

OK THE PACIFIC RIM CLASS POST

we have people of colour, badass ladies, badass disabled people, can there be more?

yes, yes there can because as far as i can tell our leads are working class. 

"Safe zones that only the rich and powerful can buy their way into" [Pentecost] said. “What about the rest?"

i’m going off both the movie and the novelisation here, but let’s start with stacker pentecost, and idris elba. idris elba is from one of the poorest areas of london, and he has an Accent, which he uses for stacker. that alone is an argument, but according to the novelisation, stacker is from tottenham. 

Born December 30 1985,  Tottenham, England. Parents Obadel, laborer, and Viviane, club performer. Family loosely involved with organized crime. Father died 1995 of wounds suffered in a knife fight with nightclub owner. Stacker, then 12, burned the club down and attacked father’s killer. Sent to ministry school, realized suitability for military service.

i don’t know how canon this is now, since it doesn’t mention his sister luna at all but jesus christ can you get more working class, particularly london working class and black. and even if that’s not canon his family are military which often attracts working class kids, if not outright targeting them.

and this is the guy who saves the world, because pacific rim might be about how you need to work together and have meaningful connections, but pentecost keeps the jaeger programme together, a black, working class man from a potentially criminal family depending on how canonical the novel is, who probably has a criminal record, this is the leader of the resistance, because he won’t let poor people be crushed by the kaiju, he will not stop defending the entire fucking planet, he’s literally a christ figure he had a HALO, his last name is PENTECOST. and he’s still educated and culturally sensitive and obviously a great dad and a good fucking person

and then for raleigh, charlie hunnam is from newcastle and while he’s playing an american he’s using the same accent he’s used to play white trash jax teller. i’m going to steal from postcard actually, because charlie hunnam’s current accent is ‘two mixed-together accents both of which are almost exclusively found in the way they sound in his mouth on shaggy-haired filthy men in biker gangs’. the novelisation says his family have been to a lot of different countries but he still doesn’t feel not working class? so maybe there’s military there; or a fic suggested an embassy worker parent. and then obviously there’s his predisposition towards construction, and just his general everything. also, again, working class person who is culturally sensitive and emotionally sensitive and a good fucking person. 

i don’t feel comfortable analysing mako’s class background in depth, because i’m white and english and know fuck all about japanese class systems, but her dad was a swordmaker, which is the definition of working with your hands, at least and she lived in a small village, and had never been to toyko before she was there when onibaba attacked. and then she was raised by stacker, of the aforementioned background. 

the point of this post is WORKING CLASS PEOPLE OF COLOUR SAVE THE WORLD, ACCOMPANIED BY THE ONE DECENT WHITE DUDE WHO IS ALSO WORKING CLASS, AND DISABLED SCIENTISTS WHO ARE HUGELY IMPORTANT IN THE WORLD SAVING, NO REALLY WHERE DID THIS FILM COME FROM

yeah like i’ve wanted to say for a while that i’m OBSESSED with stacker pentecost’s ‘today we are cancelling the apocalypse’ speech because his speech patterns are 100% working class london — cancellin’, not cancelling — and there are very, very few films that give a speech of such gravitas and importance to someone who is allowed to keep non-RP speech patterns like that if they’re british

and this really matters, guys. it matters if you’ve gone to see english-language films all of your life, often with british actors in them, and you’ve basically never heard anyone who sounds like you in them. and idris elba not only gets to be that person, he gets to be the leader. the messiah figure of the jaegar program drops his g’s, he sounds like he’s from a council estate in hackney, he gets to be not only a figure of authority but a figure of inspiration and of hope. that’s fucking HUGE. i’d be really, really hard-pushed to give you more than a few examples of hollywood films with british actors in any role that’s even remotely comparable.

"I don’t expect gay people to prove to me, a straight person, that there’s actually homophobia. I don’t expect poor people to prove to me, a Harvard grad, that hunger and poverty are widespread problems. And if someone asked me, as an Asian person, to “prove” to them that racism exists, I would laugh all the way back to Chinatown. Marginalized groups are not responsible for explaining their marginalization to you. If you are actually concerned, you would take the initiative to do some research yourself instead of showing up at some oppressed group’s door step demanding a list of citations for things (racism, sexism, etc.) that are proven time and time again in the real world."
iamthespacecadet:

sylviasybil:

elainemorisi:

aiffe:

chainofaffection:

“Have you ever come across a homeless individual and felt totally uncomfortable?

You see them and you know they are in need, but you are not sure what to do. You know that handing them money is not the best thing. But, you also see that they clearly have some needs. Their lips are chapped. They are hungry. They are thirsty. They are asking for help.

How can you help?

Here is a simple idea - blessing bags.
This was such an easy project. We are now going to keep a few “Blessing Bags” in our car so that when we do happen to see someone on the streets who is homeless, we can hand them a Blessing Bag. I first learned of these bags from my friend, Julie. I am using the picture of her bags (see above) because the ones we took were taken in horrible lighting and turned out really grainy and hard to see what is inside of them.

If you’d like to make your own Blessing Bags, this is what you would need:

Gallon size Ziplock bags
items to go in the bags, such as:
chap stick
packages of tissues
toothbrush and toothpaste
comb
soap
trail mix
granola bars
crackers
pack of gum
band aids
mouthwash
coins (could be used to make a phone call, or purchase a food item)
hand wipes
you could also put in a warm pair of socks, and maybe a Starbucks gift card

Assemble all the items in the bags, and maybe throw in a note of encouragement. Seal the bags and stow in your car for a moment of providence.

This would be a great activity to do with some other families. Each family could bring one of the items going into the bags (ex: toothbrushes). Set up all the items around a table and walk around it with the ziplocks and fill the bags.”

http://kwavs.blogspot.com/2011/05/blessing-bags-how-to.html

Hey, words from an actual former homeless person here.
Those people you see who make you uncomfortable? Those aren’t homeless people, they’re beggars. Well, some of them are also homeless. Some of them are not. NOT ALL HOMELESS PEOPLE ARE BEGGARS. (Also, they’re not all addicts, though some are. You literally know nothing about a beggar’s life except that they are beggars.)
Beggars have a uniform like any other kind of worker. They have to look as bedraggled and dirty and pathetic as possible. If you gave a beggar a chance to shower and wash their clothes, you would be damaging their earning potential. They make their money by manipulating the feelings of people who don’t know much about poverty. That means they have to play to stereotypes, some of which are like a hundred years out of date.
When I was homeless, I did not beg. (I stole, dealt with charities, sometimes even worked. Yes, you can be homeless with a full-time job. I’ve worked 60 hours a week and been homeless. And I mean sleeping in a car or a tent homeless, not on somebody’s couch homeless, though that’s an under-counted form of homelessness. I asked for food once or twice, but I didn’t look like a beggar.) I kept myself clean. I looked like anyone else. That person you pass in the store, on the bus, someone who looks just like anyone else, they could be homeless. The sales clerk who helps you for minimum wage. They could have lost their apartment because you can’t pay rent on that salary.
I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with begging. And it’s true that some people do actually just look like that because due to mental illness or addiction they sincerely can’t take care of themselves. Some of them are honestly nothing more than scam artists who have no real need, though, playing off people’s sympathy for those who genuinely do need help. But let’s assume that you were giving these to an actual homeless person.
- soap is not that difficult to come by if you are so inclined to have/use it. Many public bathrooms have it. Homeless shelters will give you a bar of it. If you have $10 or so for a truck stop shower, soap is provided. Running water is a lot more difficult.
- believe it or not, they may already have a toothbrush and toothpaste, and if they don’t, it’s unlikely they have any interest in using them. Homeless people commonly cache useful items wrapped in plastic in a bunch of hidden places. If you want to help the homeless, next time you find one of those caches, don’t throw them away. I mean, think about it. If you had to start living on the street, would you stop brushing your teeth? I didn’t either. Plus, if everyone gave homeless people one of these packs, they’d have more toothbrushes than they did teeth. Same with the deodorant—one stick lasts a long time, and they give them to you in shelters. This kind of mismanagement and waste is incredibly frustrating. People are willing to flush money down the toilet to avoid helping you TOO much.
- food is nice! But keep in mind that not everyone can eat stuff you give them. Dietary restrictions like diabetes and Crohn’s unfortunately don’t go away when you become homeless. Maybe this is why they were hoping for cash? Also, some (though not all) homeless people have access to food already through food stamps, soup kitchens, charities, etc. A granola bar is nice, but they likely have other problems. If they need food, they will usually have a sign asking for food, or ask for it verbally! Otherwise food might not be a problem for them.
- I’ve given medicine to beggars when it was asked for. Medicine can be super useful if you have a need of it. But when you don’t have a place to put your shit, you realize what a luxury it is to be able to store shit you don’t need at the moment. At best, it could go into one of those caches, if that individual uses caches, or into a shopping cart if they haul one of those around. Or in a car if they have one.
You know what’s useful, lightweight, and portable? MONEY.
You know what money can be used for?
- the nightly fee of some pay-shelters to keep you out of the elements.
- minutes for a pay-as-you-go phone, which can be used for emergencies, scheduling appointments with therapists, doctors, and addiction counselors, even searching for jobs or housing. There is a TON of bureaucracy involved in getting help when you have nothing, and that shit burns through your minutes. Payphones? What is this, 1980? I still have and use a phone I bought while living in my car. It was $10.
- gas for a car, if they have one. (Commoner in rural areas.)
- a hot shower at a truck stop.
- medicine, including prescription medication.
- items that protect against the elements, in their size!
- transportation. News flash, no bus will let you on for pocket change.
- items you might not even think of, like pet food (some homeless people have pets!) sanitary napkins (even if they don’t look female—remember how the homeless rates go up if you’re queer? Yeah.) condoms (possibly for sex work? Not something you want to assume though!) diapers (adult or otherwise! seriously! You don’t know their lives!) or pretty much anything else THAT IS BOUGHT AND SOLD WITH MONEY.
Does that include cigarettes, drugs, and alcohol? You bet it does. But you know what, if that’s what they need, you’re in no position to judge. I’ve never been through withdrawal, but I’ve seen people go through it, and it’s complete shit. If that were you, yeah, you wouldn’t want to get drug sick, are you fucking kidding me? Offset it with a contribution to a rehab center, whatever helps you sleep at night.
And all this is assuming the person giving you a case of the guilts is actually homeless. When they may not be. And other people you don’t notice around you almost surely are.
That uncomfortable feeling you get, though? That has a name. It’s called INEQUALITY. It means that you know you have shit other people don’t have access to. You probably have resources so that even if you were in trouble, there’d be safety nets. You have the kind of money that you can buy a bunch of care packages to assuage this horrible guilt you feel every time you’re in bed in the rain and you know someone else out there isn’t. Those feelings are right. The world shouldn’t be this unequal. We shouldn’t have houses standing empty while people live on the street. We shouldn’t have food sitting in warehouses till it spoils while people starve. We shouldn’t be punishing people for trying to medicate away the pain we gave them.
If you want to REALLY help the poor, go buy a pen and paper and write to your representatives. Stop blaming “generational welfare users” for being “leeches on the system.” Tell them you want to see real aid going to people in your community. Tell them to fund the mental health system, which is inadequate for the demand and constantly getting slashed. Tell them you don’t want to see food stamps cut for bad grades! Tell them a stitch in time saves nine, and if they helped people who were losing their homes, maybe there wouldn’t be so many homeless. Tell them to decriminalize drug use and prostitution. Tell them to support programs like Insite. Support universal healthcare, because you’d be surprised how many people end up homeless due to illness, either in themselves or a family member. If you’re ever in a position of power, such as a landlord or employer, don’t discriminate against people who don’t have a current address. Also don’t discriminate against marginalized groups by race, gender, orientation, ability, etc. These people are more likely to end up homeless because of this BS. Check out charities in your area doing actual outreach with the poor, many of whom are not beggars and not visible. And if you’re going to give a beggar something, either ask them what they need or just give them fucking money.
You can’t make that uncomfortable feeling go away with the wave of a magic wand. You can’t buy exemption from the fact that you HAVE and others DON’T with some soap and granola.

And if you’re going to give a beggar something, either ask them what they need or just give them fucking money.

Was waiting to reblog this until it got some good commentary, because I knew the OP was patronizing and classist but couldn’t articulate why.

AH yes good I have been waiting for this post because a “blessing bag” is just as like so gross to me even the name is gross I’m grossed out.

iamthespacecadet:

sylviasybil:

elainemorisi:

aiffe:

chainofaffection:

“Have you ever come across a homeless individual and felt totally uncomfortable?
You see them and you know they are in need, but you are not sure what to do. You know that handing them money is not the best thing. But, you also see that they clearly have some needs. Their lips are chapped. They are hungry. They are thirsty. They are asking for help.
How can you help?
Here is a simple idea - blessing bags.

This was such an easy project. We are now going to keep a few “Blessing Bags” in our car so that when we do happen to see someone on the streets who is homeless, we can hand them a Blessing Bag. I first learned of these bags from my friend, Julie. I am using the picture of her bags (see above) because the ones we took were taken in horrible lighting and turned out really grainy and hard to see what is inside of them.

If you’d like to make your own Blessing Bags, this is what you would need:
Gallon size Ziplock bags
items to go in the bags, such as:
chap stick
packages of tissues
toothbrush and toothpaste
comb
soap
trail mix
granola bars
crackers
pack of gum
band aids
mouthwash
coins (could be used to make a phone call, or purchase a food item)
hand wipes
you could also put in a warm pair of socks, and maybe a Starbucks gift card
Assemble all the items in the bags, and maybe throw in a note of encouragement. Seal the bags and stow in your car for a moment of providence.
This would be a great activity to do with some other families. Each family could bring one of the items going into the bags (ex: toothbrushes). Set up all the items around a table and walk around it with the ziplocks and fill the bags.”

Hey, words from an actual former homeless person here.

Those people you see who make you uncomfortable? Those aren’t homeless people, they’re beggars. Well, some of them are also homeless. Some of them are not. NOT ALL HOMELESS PEOPLE ARE BEGGARS. (Also, they’re not all addicts, though some are. You literally know nothing about a beggar’s life except that they are beggars.)

Beggars have a uniform like any other kind of worker. They have to look as bedraggled and dirty and pathetic as possible. If you gave a beggar a chance to shower and wash their clothes, you would be damaging their earning potential. They make their money by manipulating the feelings of people who don’t know much about poverty. That means they have to play to stereotypes, some of which are like a hundred years out of date.

When I was homeless, I did not beg. (I stole, dealt with charities, sometimes even worked. Yes, you can be homeless with a full-time job. I’ve worked 60 hours a week and been homeless. And I mean sleeping in a car or a tent homeless, not on somebody’s couch homeless, though that’s an under-counted form of homelessness. I asked for food once or twice, but I didn’t look like a beggar.) I kept myself clean. I looked like anyone else. That person you pass in the store, on the bus, someone who looks just like anyone else, they could be homeless. The sales clerk who helps you for minimum wage. They could have lost their apartment because you can’t pay rent on that salary.

I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with begging. And it’s true that some people do actually just look like that because due to mental illness or addiction they sincerely can’t take care of themselves. Some of them are honestly nothing more than scam artists who have no real need, though, playing off people’s sympathy for those who genuinely do need help. But let’s assume that you were giving these to an actual homeless person.

- soap is not that difficult to come by if you are so inclined to have/use it. Many public bathrooms have it. Homeless shelters will give you a bar of it. If you have $10 or so for a truck stop shower, soap is provided. Running water is a lot more difficult.

- believe it or not, they may already have a toothbrush and toothpaste, and if they don’t, it’s unlikely they have any interest in using them. Homeless people commonly cache useful items wrapped in plastic in a bunch of hidden places. If you want to help the homeless, next time you find one of those caches, don’t throw them away. I mean, think about it. If you had to start living on the street, would you stop brushing your teeth? I didn’t either. Plus, if everyone gave homeless people one of these packs, they’d have more toothbrushes than they did teeth. Same with the deodorant—one stick lasts a long time, and they give them to you in shelters. This kind of mismanagement and waste is incredibly frustrating. People are willing to flush money down the toilet to avoid helping you TOO much.

- food is nice! But keep in mind that not everyone can eat stuff you give them. Dietary restrictions like diabetes and Crohn’s unfortunately don’t go away when you become homeless. Maybe this is why they were hoping for cash? Also, some (though not all) homeless people have access to food already through food stamps, soup kitchens, charities, etc. A granola bar is nice, but they likely have other problems. If they need food, they will usually have a sign asking for food, or ask for it verbally! Otherwise food might not be a problem for them.

- I’ve given medicine to beggars when it was asked for. Medicine can be super useful if you have a need of it. But when you don’t have a place to put your shit, you realize what a luxury it is to be able to store shit you don’t need at the moment. At best, it could go into one of those caches, if that individual uses caches, or into a shopping cart if they haul one of those around. Or in a car if they have one.

You know what’s useful, lightweight, and portable? MONEY.

You know what money can be used for?

- the nightly fee of some pay-shelters to keep you out of the elements.

- minutes for a pay-as-you-go phone, which can be used for emergencies, scheduling appointments with therapists, doctors, and addiction counselors, even searching for jobs or housing. There is a TON of bureaucracy involved in getting help when you have nothing, and that shit burns through your minutes. Payphones? What is this, 1980? I still have and use a phone I bought while living in my car. It was $10.

- gas for a car, if they have one. (Commoner in rural areas.)

- a hot shower at a truck stop.

- medicine, including prescription medication.

- items that protect against the elements, in their size!

- transportation. News flash, no bus will let you on for pocket change.

- items you might not even think of, like pet food (some homeless people have pets!) sanitary napkins (even if they don’t look female—remember how the homeless rates go up if you’re queer? Yeah.) condoms (possibly for sex work? Not something you want to assume though!) diapers (adult or otherwise! seriously! You don’t know their lives!) or pretty much anything else THAT IS BOUGHT AND SOLD WITH MONEY.

Does that include cigarettes, drugs, and alcohol? You bet it does. But you know what, if that’s what they need, you’re in no position to judge. I’ve never been through withdrawal, but I’ve seen people go through it, and it’s complete shit. If that were you, yeah, you wouldn’t want to get drug sick, are you fucking kidding me? Offset it with a contribution to a rehab center, whatever helps you sleep at night.

And all this is assuming the person giving you a case of the guilts is actually homeless. When they may not be. And other people you don’t notice around you almost surely are.

That uncomfortable feeling you get, though? That has a name. It’s called INEQUALITY. It means that you know you have shit other people don’t have access to. You probably have resources so that even if you were in trouble, there’d be safety nets. You have the kind of money that you can buy a bunch of care packages to assuage this horrible guilt you feel every time you’re in bed in the rain and you know someone else out there isn’t. Those feelings are right. The world shouldn’t be this unequal. We shouldn’t have houses standing empty while people live on the street. We shouldn’t have food sitting in warehouses till it spoils while people starve. We shouldn’t be punishing people for trying to medicate away the pain we gave them.

If you want to REALLY help the poor, go buy a pen and paper and write to your representatives. Stop blaming “generational welfare users” for being “leeches on the system.” Tell them you want to see real aid going to people in your community. Tell them to fund the mental health system, which is inadequate for the demand and constantly getting slashed. Tell them you don’t want to see food stamps cut for bad grades! Tell them a stitch in time saves nine, and if they helped people who were losing their homes, maybe there wouldn’t be so many homeless. Tell them to decriminalize drug use and prostitution. Tell them to support programs like Insite. Support universal healthcare, because you’d be surprised how many people end up homeless due to illness, either in themselves or a family member. If you’re ever in a position of power, such as a landlord or employer, don’t discriminate against people who don’t have a current address. Also don’t discriminate against marginalized groups by race, gender, orientation, ability, etc. These people are more likely to end up homeless because of this BS. Check out charities in your area doing actual outreach with the poor, many of whom are not beggars and not visible. And if you’re going to give a beggar something, either ask them what they need or just give them fucking money.

You can’t make that uncomfortable feeling go away with the wave of a magic wand. You can’t buy exemption from the fact that you HAVE and others DON’T with some soap and granola.

And if you’re going to give a beggar something, either ask them what they need or just give them fucking money.

Was waiting to reblog this until it got some good commentary, because I knew the OP was patronizing and classist but couldn’t articulate why.

AH yes good I have been waiting for this post because a “blessing bag” is just as like so gross to me even the name is gross I’m grossed out.

"The food movement has been slow to recognise the fact that worker rights and working conditions should be a key part of any discussion about the ethics of food. Reforms to the food system need to incorporate workers and their welfare, not just better farming practices, more humane treatment of animals, and other measures focusing on food as an end product. Food is also a process, and the people involved in that process have a right to fair treatment, something they don’t have currently. The continued marginalisation of farmworkers and the focus on other issues in the food movement speaks poorly of the movement overall, and reveals some telling attitudes about labour, race, and entitlement."