Ready to be sick of both selfies and people? Apparently, “selfies with homeless people” is an actual trend–and no, this isn’t a story on the millennial version of Daria’s Sick, Sad World.
A new Tumblr compiled by @HEYFEIFER (aka Fast Company editor Jason Feifer, who notes that he does not advocate these awful photos and, in fact, encourages people to donate to organizations that assist the homeless) features images of people snapping oh-so-adorable selfies with human f’ing beings. You know, because people having to sleep on the street, beg for money and scrounge for food is like, the cutest!
If you’re not shaking with anger, you either have a really high tolerance for horrible excuses for human beings or you are simply on your way to punch a wall. Which, honestly, I felt like doing after seeing these pictures.
I have long been an advocate of not judging young people simply because they are young, so by no means do I think that all of America’s youth are sociopathic little shits devoid of empathy, but I do think we live in a culture that both glamorizes and trivializes homelessness. I don’t think this is some issue exclusive to kids, and I think adults perpetuate it to younger people by ignoring or jeering at individuals who experience homelessness. I would never wish homelessness on anybody, but I do hope that someday, all of these kids lose that safety net. They do not deserve comfort, and if they are old enough to use a camera and Instagram, they are old enough to have empathy and know better.
It is wonderful if you are lucky enough to have a safety net in the event that you lose your job, get evicted, get injured, have a medical emergency, require long-term hair, need to care for a relative, have to go into debt, have legal issues or anything else that requires money, but that is not the case for millions and millions of Americans.
According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, approximately 20 – 25% of the homeless population suffer from serious mental illness issues. Many individuals who experience homelessness also suffer from regular physical ailments, oftentimes magnified exponentially as their homelessness continues. If you have ever needed medicine, therapy, surgery or a doctor’s care, can you imagine not only being unable to obtain it, but also having to find somewhere to sleep at night that isn’t deathly cold and deeply unsafe? Then, some privileged jerk comes along and decides that despite the air in your lungs, blood in your veins and thoughts in your head, you aren’t a person but a prop for a cute, fun selfie.
My point? Humans aren’t hashtags, so parents, please explain to your kids why they need to treat all humans with respect. All in all, I think it’s safe to declare that between this mess, funeral selfies, and breaking-and-entering selfies, I think I will be happy if I never hear the term “selfie” ever again.