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.