As with every form of prejudice, knowing the people we are fearful of will often reduce the fear. But we have to be willing to take that step.
I’m the type of guy who goes out of his way to avoid homeless people. If I see one within 30 feet of me my first instinct is to cross over to the other side of the street or walk on the outside of my friends so I’m less accessible. And when one asks me for change, I generally mutter something about not having money (even though I do) before walking away quickly. In some rare cases, I do give the person a dollar or two, but that is only if the person is friendly and seems less likely to try and gnaw my face off.
I’m aware of the fact that I needn’t feel guilty about doing any of this. Pretending homeless people don’t exist has become the social norm. No one thinks any less of me whenever I refuse to acknowledge a homeless person’s plea or give them…
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