There has been retaliation in the mode of crime committed by the surrounding community, but, at the risk of sounding insensitive to the victims of recent robberies, we need to recognize that there’s a larger crime being committed in the city of Richmond and it is the dehumanization of homeless people within the city.
It’s a silent and isolating crime. There is nothing more harmful than the marginalization of members of our society – there is no act more heinous than dehumanizing groups of people.
The ultimate goal is obviously to develop a safer community for the colonizing students of VCU to inhabit. Maybe instead of teaching students to isolate the surrounding members of the Richmond community, we can express the importance of developing positive relationships to the so-called “outsiders” of Richmond.
The VCU Police Department and Richmond Police Department (RPD) should seek to instill passion for community-based relationships and encouraged the VCU and wider Richmond community to acknowledge both homeless populations and the specifics of their plight. Instead of crafting healthy communication skills, we have been continuously taught by stereotypes and misrepresentations that those in poverty or those who are homeless have animalistic lifestyles that cannot be understood.
Placing entire groups of people in little separate boxes through sweeping generalizations may make your life easier, but all you’re accomplishing is removing a person’s individuality. In fact, you are just participating in yet another institution that wishes those in poverty would take care of the problem – the problem being themselves.
You wouldn’t want someone making decisions about who you are as a person, would you? No. You wouldn’t want to fall into the crosshairs of the state, would you? Absolutely not.
Maybe now is the time you start to appreciate beauty that is community and uncovering the life of people who have been swept under the rug and ignored.
So next time you walk by the 7-11 on Grace and Harrison and see someone sitting against The Village fence, greet them and ask how their day is going. You’ll find it’s not so hard treating other human beings with respect.
This is not to say that if you actually converse with fellow members in the community you deserve a cookie, or that you are a special snowflake. I will not congratulate you on being meeting the basic requirements of a decent human being.
But what I am telling you is that fellow human beings also exist in time and space, and that it is wrong to treat other people as if they are sub-human and non-deserving of your time and respect. The way you treat others is just a reflection of who you are as a person.
If you want to make real change in the world, start practicing what you preach and consuming everything funneled into your mouth by your local police force and mainstream political figures.