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Monday, June 16, 2008

The New Jack Bum

Ladies and Gentlemen: the face of poverty has changed.

The next individual to beg you for a dollar ore a quarter won’t be a disheveled person down on their luck the media portrays. They won’t be a poor mother looking for money to feed her kids. They’ll be young spoiled and Black.

I’ve had the misfortune of running into people wearing $1000 leather jackets, $200 sneakers $250 jeans, Bling, Bling, necklaces, watches, gold and all types of jewelry walking up to me to ask for a quarter or something to eat. Mostly they’re young Black or Latino Males, and the occasional female of color . Usually they start out with some sad story about coming out of jail, being put outdoors by their woman, coming out of the hospital before they ask for cash. Some of the more brazen ones just roll up on me and ask for cash. One brought his son with him to solicit in a supermarket. Who the hell is raising these people?

I don’t want to hear any explanations. Since when did it become okay to for an able bodied person who is dressed better than me and has no job to walk up to me and ask for money? What entitles them to my money? What happened to THEIR money? The cash they were supposed to pay for food, transportation, rent and light and gas? Oh wait, they spent it on those fly sneakers that Bling and the latest gear.

No, I don’t have it. Not for a bunch of spoiled little brats with an over exaggerated sense of entitlement. You want something to eat? Hock that gold around your neck or those diamonds on your wrist. You want a ride on the Bus? Sell that $1000 Pelle Pelle jacket or those $200 sneakers or use that cell phone you love to yak it up on to call a cab Don’t ask me for my money when yours is burning a hole through your pocket. You want money? GET A JOB.

Why do these new age bums offend me? Seven years ago I worked with the homeless population. I met people with nothing and less than nothing. I grew up poor on Section 8 and welfare. I struggled through seven years of unemployment. I’ve been poor and Black. I know what it is to do without; I haven’t bought a new anything since 2001. If it weren’t for Christmas and birthday gifts I wouldn’t have anything. It makes my blood boil to hear some spoiled brat in the latest panhandling when they have a home and enough money to buy designer clothes, sneakers and jewelry. I’m sure they have other words for people who sponge off people and make no efforts to work towards making their own living. Call them Hustlers, gangstas, pimps, ballers, thugs, rappers, Artists, poets, musicians writers: But in my book if they walk like a bum, talk like a bum then well, they’re a BUM.

Here’s my message to today’s new age bum: Life is a struggle. I’m not suffering and neither are you. Get up off your ass and do something.