Myths vs. Reality

Posted: July 3, 2007 in Civil Rights, Discrimination, Homelessness, Misconceptions

One thing that all human beings have in common is that we cling to certain myths, legends and misconceptions.

Tomorrow is July 4th. It is the day that we celebrate the birth of our nation. But there are certain inaccuracies that we cling to.  

For example: we tend to think of the 4th of July as the day won our independence from England. However, as a nation, we didn’t become free of British rule until around 1783.

We celebrate the 4th of July because that’s the date on the Declaration of Independence. However the majority of Continental Congressional delegates didn’t sign the "official" copy until August 2nd of 1776.

There are many people who think that "We the People" is the opening phrase of the Declaration of Independence. It’s not. "When in the Course of human events…" is how the Declaration of Independence begins.

As I said, all human beings share certain myths, legends, and misconceptions. But we cling to them because, after all, they are our myths and legends. And for the most part, even our misconceptions can be harmless enough.

But there are misconceptions we have that are harmful. They create barriers between us and others. They can also create prejudice and discrimination toward others who are "different" than we are. And that’s when it becomes necessary for us to rethink what we believe and why.

In this community the majority of people have predefined misconceptions of what homelessness is about and why it occurs.

Certainly there are those homeless who are so because of bad personal choices, drug abuse, alcoholism and the like, but there are just as many who are homeless due to unforeseen occurrences that were beyond their abilities to control or change.

As a result of these misconceptions, many of the homeless who are trying to achieve the American dream of raising their standard of living are discriminated against and kept prisoner in a lifestyle that they would give everything to leave behind.

The Declaration of Independence states:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness."

Yet, because of misconceptions, many homeless are denied these "unalienable rights."

So the question I must ask is:

When will the homeless be seen as being more than just homeless?

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