Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Homeless Culture: Distrust of Societal Authority

The homeless have been roused by the police in the middle of the night to be told to move, or simply to be threatened. They are often rousted by the police, even if they are doing nothing that would even give suspicion of criminal activity. They could be ticketed or arrested by the authorities which puts them into the justice system. Once in the justice system, they are often given fines or requirements they cannot fulfill, which keeps them in the system and frequently gives them jail time. Churches may seem to want to help, but most volunteers, secretaries and even pastors are overly authoritative, disrespectful and angry to even be dealing with the needs of the poor. Government help is bureaucratic and often too complex and insisting in too many requirements for the homeless to fulfill.

All of this builds onto a basic distrust of all authorities. Among the homeless communities, authority is not questioned because it is already assumed that authority is manipulative, self-serving and rejecting. This does not mean that there is not the desire for justice, but it is rare that one of the homeless community sees that there is a possibility of justice in societal systems.

This also leads to a resistance of authoritative action. If someone insists that another obey them because they have authority, the homeless person will automatically resist this approach. They will insist upon reasons they can understand, not yelling, not a title, not violence. While someone with a gun or a title might convince them to act in a certain way, it will never develop into respect or obeying the authority for authority's sake.

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