VOICES FROM THE STREETS: It's about homelessness, stupid

A little over a couple of weeks ago, a homeless man who was sleeping in a subway station in South Boston was beaten and urinated on by two brothers who were drunk and returning from a Red Sox game.

When they were caught by the police, one of the brothers made a remark that Donald Trump was right and that all illegals should be thrown out of the country. The gentleman whom they assaulted is Hispanic and is, as it so happens, an American citizen. Of course, every news outlet in the country grabbed on that little sound bite and, of course, used it to talk about what seems to be the media’s and everybody else’s favorite topic these days: Donald Trump.

We also found out among other things that the two brothers who assaulted this man lived with their mother illegally. This poor woman is now in danger of losing her housing. Lost in all this is the poor guy who was beaten and humiliated for no other reason than the fact he is Hispanic and homeless. No one seemed to care about him other than he had a few broken bones but would be alright.

There was no one to ask who he was, how he ended up on the street and how could we help him. Think about it: every time there’s a person found halfway frozen to death in the woods or some other person-in-distress story, the media is right there with a mic pointed somewhat uncomfortably in the person’s face, and in a few short days, we know more than we want to know about the person complete with a GoFundMe page.

Not for this poor guy. And you know why boys and girls. Besides his race, which, of course, made it all about Trump, he was homeless, and where’s the story in that? Right.

A story about a contest to name the new K-9 pup was more important than the homeless guy who got punched out and beaten with a pipe and pissed on. Nothing to see here folks. The other thing about this that gets me is how no one, not even more than a few homeless activists around these parts can still say we don’t need hate crime legislation for homeless people.

I won’t even entertain you folks with the monumental load of you-know-what that people come up with for reasons we don’t need it, including my all-time favorite: “Well we already have legislation for people of color and all the rest.”

Yeah, well none of that matters when people are homeless.

Would this story have gotten any airtime if not for this man’s race? Not as much as it did. Maybe a brief mention on the local channels and, perhaps, on the back pages of the local paper. And will these two brothers be prosecuted to the full extent of the law or will they just get probation like the two men who battered a homeless man who was just panhandling? It’s not just about race folks and it’s not about what’s-his-name, it’s about a homeless man who was beat down for nothing.

James Shearer

James Shearer is a writer and co-founder of Spare Change News.

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