Friday, October 28, 2011

More on Occupy and class prejudice

Lead story in the SF Chron today, saying the Occupy SF camp site has moved upscale from "largely a crash pad for chronically homeless people, with a contingent of activists thrown in" to "a kind of cross between an antiwar demonstration and a company picnic."

So now it's a "real" protest, they imply. Because "Suddenly, there were people who looked more like office workers than hippies strolling among the 50 tents pitched on the concrete and grass." Oh, well, then, what a relief, the protesters are suddenly full-sized people who the middle-class Chronicle reader can recognize as human, so it's suddenly all right to approve of the protest when it wasn't before... Because we're to take it as axiomatic that homeless people can't ever be activists -- that, below a certain economic line, people uniformly become apolitical freeloaders. What crap.

Sadly, the article is by Kevin Fagan, who of all the SF Chron's writers should know that homeless people are as various as the members of any other social group. Maybe, again, this has to do with his tendency to focus on people he views as picturesquely (or picaresquely) hopeless, and to confuse them with homeless people in general. Homelessness is a housing status, not a state of mind.

Similarly, old compadre RG Goudy, who never lost his activist drive for lack of money, forwards this sad report from New York. It says the Occupy Wall Street kitchen is taking steps to discourage freeloaders -- and the article anyway, if not maybe the protest group itself, is characterizing the freeloaders as "the homeless." Again, come on. I'm sure there are also undergraduate freeloaders who show up trying to look cool and don't ever take a turn peeling potatoes. Be fair here.

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