Mean tweets about homeless people are read by people experiencing homelessness.
I resolved that people, namely celebrities, who searched Twitter for tweets indirectly mentioning them were masochists. It’s no secret that people can be cruel, but there’s a deeper level of fiendish behavior that comes from the buffer digital interactions provide. People will provide commentary about subjects that they’d never dream about discussing in person. I mean the idea that someone would actually meet you at Temecula is a far fetched reality, so you really could “go-in” with reckless abandon.
I can appreciate public figures who can laugh at themselves, so celebrities reading mean tweets about themselves on Jimmy Kimmel Live is pretty funny. But seeing homeless people read vicious tweets about themselves? It’s cringe-inducing, heartbreaking, depressing, all of the sad adjectives one can think of.
“If home is where the heart is, then are homeless people heartless?”
It gets worse. This PSA from Canadian advocacy group, Raising the Roof , is one minute and nineteen seconds of homeless people reading the scathing tweets people write about them. From fake apathy to expressing desires to hurl change at them, the reactions, both verbal and non-verbal, were enough to obliterate my thug.
Watch “Homeless People Read Mean Tweets” Below:
Every time I watch the clip, I’m filled with an array of emotions. Most of those tweets were pretty hurtful, some being outright violent, and I can’t help but to wonder who the awful people are. Then I realize these are the people around me, in the hallways passing you, in the coffee shop next us. I know their are tons of misconceptions about homelessness. I can accept that. But these tweets go beyond the “I didn’t know my tweets were offensive”. The tweets speak to a deeper level of society that lacks compassion for homeless men, women, and children.
Sometimes I live in “Philanthropist Fairy-tale Land” and believe that if everyone had the chance to interact with homeless people, their views and, more importantly, their callousness towards them would change. I recounted how humbled I felt when I spent 2 hours walking through downtown Houston to pass out lunches on the hottest day of the year for the first #HashtaglunchbagHOU. I remembered how I felt talking with the men and women we encountered when we did it again. I recalled how much visiting Front Steps made me realize all the basic things that I took for granted, like washing machines, charging outlets, and my permanent mailing address.
So as I watched this video and fought back this engulfing pang of disgust, I realized that no matter how progressive we may be, we’re not doing enough to advocate for humanity. I won’t be convinced I’m crazy when I say that every person should have stable shelter. Homelessness is a problem that needs long-term solutions. We must all challenge ourselves and the people around us, whom we have the power to influence, to take part in changing the conversation to give those experiencing homelessness the help and compassion they need and deserve.
To learn more, help or donate visit RaisingtheRoof.org