Human Kindness vs the Media

A couple of nights ago, the boyfriend and I were walking through town after enjoying a comedy club night, when we passed by a homeless man. I won’t divulge our kindness towards him because I find people who gloat about their charity rather vulgar; however, the sense of selflessness and pride as we walked away from him was very strong. I hope that that man hasn’t completely given up on human kindness.

Talking about it the following day with the boyfriend, he suggested a way that he could have helped more to make life easier for that man on the street. My reply, whilst agreeing with his suggestion, was that we have to be careful, you can never know what people are really like. That man could have been addicted to drugs or alcohol; he could be a thief.

It was then I realised that my hesitation to the boyfriend’s suggestion was shaped by the media. We constantly hear about people, at pretty much every level of society, who are cheating people out of money, being violent towards others.  Murder, theft, riots… almost every piece of news is about a person who is corrupt, or angry. How are we supposed to trust anybody in this world? We’re being programmed to trust nobody but ourselves. There is no way that those in need are going to get any form of help if the rest of society believes that they are lying about their situation; that they are money-grabbing, drug addicted, violent scumbags.

Watching Russell Howard’s Good News, there is a segment called “It’s not all doom and gloom” which showcases people who are doing good, and have genuine kindness to others. One episode featured a man who helped to solve a rape case and was given a sunbstantial amount of reward money, but instead of keeping it for himself, he gave that money to the victim of the crime, feeling that she deserved it more than he did.

There are genuinely kind people out there and people who genuinely deserve help, but it is not prominent. Most of the clips Russell Howard uses in that segment are from local tv stations. If it wasn’t for his show, these acts of human generosity would not be seen by a big audience. We need more media like this to highlight that not everybody is pulling some sort of scam, that there are people out there that genuinely need our help.

Faith in other people needs to be restored.

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This entry was posted in charity, culture, gratefulness, Journal, kindness, life, media, news, opinion, people, reflections, society, thoughts. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Human Kindness vs the Media

  1. Dramatic news sells, so media churn out more of the same. Until and unless the majority of the public take a stand and voice their opinion on what they want, things tend to stay the same.

  2. I hear you…I really do…but then remember the ‘homeless’ man in our city that is known for being a con-man – he has a comfortable home, his clothes have been made to look ‘lived in’ – he even has a dog with him for dramatic effect. He’s robbed a friends shop twice. He can make several hundred pounds a day from ‘gifts’ – worth sitting on a piece of cardboard in the rain for… (This is fact by the way, not hearsay…) He now makes me doubt the other people we see that could truly be homeless.

    The homeless charities in the city did a big campaign a few years back, asking people to NOT give money to people on the streets, but instead give it to the charities that can give them a roof over their head and a hot meal – giving them the money could just get them closer to their next fix or bottle of booze…

    And then of course, if you try give some food or a hot drink instead of money, there are far too many instances of ‘I don’t want that rubbish! I don’t eat xxxx, yyyy…’ (Again, fact not fiction unfortunately….On a positive note, there are some that actually say thanks, or appreciate the gesture…some)

    So all in all I find it’s a hard choice / decision. I do give money to some (and always feel bad about it, remembering that campaign, or as I walked away, realising that they weren’t sober or clean but not able to think about their dog not having something to eat, or worse, seeing them somewhere a few days later with a bottle in their hand…) I daren’t offer to buy them a hot drink or some food… I do buy something called ‘The Big Issue’ – a magazine printed by a charity foundation where a fixed amount of the cover price goes to the seller – sort of a ‘wage’. Although I’ve started looking for the legit ID they wear around their neck showing they’re ‘approved’ by the scheme – too many guys rummage around in bins for discarded copies and give the ‘it’s my last one – do you mind if I keep it….’ effectively ‘selling’ something that’s for a great cause, but that they invested nothing in to, and nothing from the ‘sale’ goes back to reinvesting into… (http://www.bigissue.org.uk/get-involved/how-become-vendor) Yes, I’ve become THAT cautious that the right people get my support.

    We don’t see the kind of homeless people we’ve seen in the US – yes, there are some we see at night curled up in doorways in their old sleeping bag or cardboard boxes, both of which are folded neatly in the morning, left where they hope no-one throws them away or steals them (they’re the ones I don’t feel bad about giving something to when I recognise them during the day), but we don’t see the folks pushing trolleys full of cans, or filled with plastic bags containing their ‘possessions’ – both of which we’ve witnessed in the US. It’s getting really hard to distinguish between the ‘real’ needy, and those that are scamming us all.

    Makes keeping the faith hard…but the point is I don’t stop thinking about it, or trying to help the ‘right’ people – hopefully that keeps making the difference…

    • sophie king says:

      You are right, there are people just trying to pull a fast one; something I don’t understand, can sitting out in all weathers for a few quid really be worth it when you are already better off? Fake needy people must be the worst kind of human. I understand that we need to be aware of the scams that some try to pull but it detracts from those who really are in need. Don’t think the man we saw as we walked through town was scamming though; it was midnight and freezing cold; I’d like to think that the scammers wouldn’t be that committed. He was very grateful too, seemed genuine.

      That campaign to put money into homeless charities sounds like a good idea, they’ll probably have some way of dealing with the drunks and druggies, and the scammers won’t want to get involved with an organization in case of being caught out. Think I’ll have a look and find the nearest homeless shelter to me, see what I can do to help. It’s got to be a better way to give to the homeless without questionning if the man in the street is a con artist or really is genuinely homeless.

      It’s such a shame that the few con-men spoil it for those really in need.

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