Sunday, October 07, 2007

Stuck-up street people: An amusing thing happened to me today, and I wouldn't mention it except that something very similar happened just a fews days before.

Roughly 90% of the panhandlers that hit me up for money are black in a town that's maybe 15% African American. The rest are white--I cannot recall a Hispanic ever asking me for money. And we are not talking a small sample size. In many parts of town, I cannot get out of my car to fill up the tank without someone delivering some lame story why they need my loose change. And I usually give them the coins in my pocket just so they will just leave me alone.

The other day, a very experienced bum approached me, saying something incoherent about needing change to cash a check for $20 (I thought, "Huh? Are you serious with that?"). I reached in to draw out my normally abundant load of change, and discovered that I had one dime. I told him all I had was the ten cents, and handed it to him. Then the amusing part happened: he totally snubs me! He gave me a haughty look, turned away coldly, and made me feel like a dirty beggar!

Then, today, someone sent a girl over to me with a story about them needing gas money to make it home. So I reach in and hand her about 75 cents, and this 12 year old hustler gets a sour look on her face and marches away irritated--and forget about her saying thanks.

I'm thinking about starting a march where I hold up a poster that reads: "To all you panhandlers: I am a Man!"

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Tell panhandlers this:

"Aw man, you need money too? I was just about to ask and see if you had any. My house got foreclosed on, my wife left with the kids, my job has been outsourced, my savings have run out, and Im going to have to live with my brother above his garage even though that wife of his hates me. This car is all I have left. Im down to drinkin' aqua velva just to cop a buzz. Life is unfair, isn't it?"

Peter said...

Never give money to beggars. It just encourages them. In fact, I believe that it should be illegal to give money, as that would be a much more effective deterrent than outlawing begging itself.

RobertHume said...

You're right about no Hispanic beggars. Let's have some insightful comments about that.

Kurt9 said...

Where do you live?

We have panhandlers in Portland area (where I live), but they are not aggressive in the manner in which you described.

If the panhandlers were as bad as you described, I would consider moving somewhere else.

Anonymous said...

I live out by Jersey City and Newark. Plenty of black panhandlers and some whites. But as one poster said, no hispanics as far as I can tell. The hispanics I see are actually trying to sell something like flowers or bottled water on hot days and are not aggressive. In fact, they are pretty polite and don't try and block traffic or intimidate you. I can respect that.
I do remember the beggars and bums in Washington DC as being especially aggressive though. I never give them anything, it only encourages their behavior. And God only knows how much of my money is spent on services for these addled crackheads, winos and assorted derelicts.
Ignoring them works, and if they get aggressive, tell them to Fuck Off. They are often shocked by it because they expect people to cough up the cash. Of course, you could also get jammed with an AIDS infected needle too.

Peter said...

I live out by Jersey City and Newark. Plenty of black panhandlers and some whites. But as one poster said, no hispanics as far as I can tell.

Same thing in Manhattan, very few Hispanic beggars.

Anonymous said...

That's nothing. I've had beggars ask for money for food, but when I offer them some food I happen to be carrying or even offer to go into a store to buy them a sandwich or something, they give me that same angry rejection look.

Food is just their excuse, and they don't like their bluff called.

I used to always give money when asked, but now I just don't support the occupation.


- Rain And

Anonymous said...

More on Hispanic begging.

- Rain And

Peter said...

Another thing I've noticed is that white beggars, at least in Manhattan, tend to be much worse-looking than their black counterparts. Some black beggars, especially those who "work" the subways, are relatively clean and decently clothed. In many cases you don't even realize they're beggars until they begin their spiels.

White beggars, in contrast, often can be seen - and smelled - a long way off. The typical white beggar is filthy, dressed in ragged dirty clothes, and often looks like he has one (gangrenous) foot in the coffin.

RobertHume said...

The comments suggest that in heavily hispanic areas there are hispanic beggars, but in general that they are under-represented compared to whites and blacks.

I think one important point is that hispanics and asians don't mind crowding into a tiny apartment and sharing rent. This minimizes homelessness which is at the root of lots of begging, I imagine.

Whites and blacks are more individualistic and want more space.

Perhaps where there are lots of hispanics many have been here for many generations and have adopted a more individualistic mode.

Also, perhaps the hispanics (but not Asians I would suppose) have the macho culture and hence begging is beneath them.

Sure hope the inductivist can mine the GSS for some hard data.

Anonymous said...

Great quote from the movie, Liar Liar:

Bum: Got any spare change?
Fletcher: Why not?
Bum: Well, could ya spare some?
Fletcher: Yes I could!
Bum: So, why don't?
Fletcher: Because I believe you will buy booze with it! I just want to get from my car to the office without being confronted by the decay of western society!... Plus I'm cheap! AHHH!

MarcZ said...

I got attacked by a beggar in Baltimore when I wouldn't give him change. Not seriously attacked, the guy was too drunk/high/crazy whatever. Just kind of clumsily shoved at.

I had another guy follow me for two blocks yelling at me for being "stuck up" after I gave him a disgusted look when he asked me for money. Sorry, but it got old after a while.

Both were black. Black beggars in Baltimore are the worst I've ever encountered.

Anonymous said...

Today I had a lady (who was black) approach me at a bus stop and hit me up for money. She said it was for a coffee & a danish.
I said, no.
Then I watched as she literally chased people walking down the street, and people pulling into parking lots.

I was actually pretty appalled by what I had witnessed.

She was so brazen about it.

I have never -- could never -- would never BEG for money on the street.