On my way to tutor a kid in East Los Angeles I walked past a homeless man lying on the ground. The homeless community here in L.A. is quite prevalent so to see someone sleeping on the sidewalk was nothing new for me.  In fact, I almost dismissed it completely until walking back after my tutoring session…

Standing over the homeless man was a teenage kid who had one hand gripping the man’s jaw and the other hand holding a cell phone. He was talking to the police.

When I walked up and asked if everything was ok he responded, “Dude! This guys like dying over here!”

I immediately looked down at the homeless man whose body was jolting every couple of seconds. I saw an empty vodka bottle lying next to him and realized he was in fact just hiccupping, and had passed out from being too intoxicated.

This teenager couldn’t tell the difference – Bless you kid.

Here is a man who probably has little to no people in his life who actually give a damn about him and you, a perfect stranger, a kid, are trying to save his life – even when it doesn’t need saving (or so we are taught).

When the emergency response team arrived they handled the man in such a careless, condescending manner that it had me wondering…at what point do you become immune to the harsh realities of life?

Just 35 minutes before this, I walked by this homeless man and thought nothing of the situation – barely even noticed him in fact.  Yet, unlike me, this kid was outside his own world and DID see the man and because of that, at the very least this man will get to spend one night off the streets in a bed.

Perhaps the boy was naïve in his gesture; he probably didn’t save this man’s life. Yet, for him it was such an innocent, natural response to help this man.

Why did I not feel the same way?

I think there comes a point in our life when we stop being affected by things around us. If something becomes a constant in our life we don’t regard it with the same earnest nature as we did when it was new and fresh. I’m beginning to realize that this is true of many of the injustices people face on a daily basis – poverty being one of them.

We are SO disconnected from the world around us that too many people fail to comprehend the extent of the issues people face on a day-to-day basis – or disregard it completely as “unsolvable.”

How did we become like this? When we were kids we were told we could do anything we wanted as long as we put our mind to it. Yet, somehow through the years, we have lost the courage to overcome and have instead become complacent with the idea that LIFE IS A BITCH and that’s just the way it is.

We have grown so insensitive as a society that it’s no wonder we fail to move forward when we’re inadvertently tearing each other down. It’s like humanity has become so overwhelmed with obstacles that we have just become stagnant and barricaded ourselves in this self-deprecating environment.

The saddest part is now our kids are starting to take on this mentality. I’ve worked with a lot of kids from impoverished backgrounds and the biggest difference I found with kids from the United States is this underlying belief that they are incapable of changing their lives – where you come from determines where you’ll end up.

The disparities that we have chosen to accept in this world are startling and go against our ability to work together as a human race.  What we need are people to break these walls down; what we need is for people to start caring about one another instead of just themselves.

There are many issues we face as a human race and the only way we will overcome them is to allow ourselves to face these issues every day and work together to solve them.

Let us not forget that life is in fact GOOD and we should all be allowed to experience this regardless of the life you were born in or the circumstance you’ve come under.

Let us not continue to become immune to the social injustice we see in this world.

 

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