SHARED POST: I AIN’T NO BROKEN WINDOW

An important read from Arise For Social Justice, a “Western MA low-income rights organization which believes we have the right to speak for ourselves. Our members are poor, homeless, at-risk, working, unemployed & people pushed to the side by society. We organize!: voting rights, housing, homelessness, health care, criminal injustice & more!”

Why do we stigmatize fellow human-beings who are less fortunate? To look at them as unsightly is to be devoid of empathy for people who are just like us, yet not like us, yet possibly like us, for one big financial or physical catastrophe could take many of us down. Read on — “Jenise Standfield from the Coalition on Homelessness in San Francisco posted this essay online today.  Springfield had its own Broken Window proponent, former police commissioner Edward Flynn, who would have his officers take pictures of homeless people, so this article struck home to me.”

The person credited with coining the theory of Broken Windows policing died last month and people are starting to ask what Broken Windows are all about.  Those of us who have been identified as no more than a broken window are sick of it.
The Broken Window social theory holds that one poor person in a neighborhood (or, using social theorist James Q. Wilson words, “a vagrant or a drunk”) is like a first unrepaired broken window.  If the window is not immediately fixed, if the vagrant is not immediately removed, it is a signal that no one cares, disorder will flourish, and the community (warehouse) will go to hell in a hand basket.
For this theory to make sense, you first have to step far far away from thinking of people, or at least poor people, as human beings. You need to objectify them.  You need to see them as dusty broken windows in a vacant warehouse.
Wilson himself admits that his reasoning here seems unjust.  One drunk or vagrant suddenly becomes a score of drunks or a hundred vagrants.  They will destroy an entire community, and they will destroy an entire downtown business district and that is why we now have Business Improvement Districts with police enforcement to keep that neighborhood flourishing and poor unsightly people out of it.
TO READ THE REST OF THIS ESSAY, AND I WISH YOU WOULD, CLICK HERE.

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