This post is a little late and I might not be the best to comment on anything involved with communications being a business double major. But New York changed my outlook on communication and not in the way you might think. Not from the media meetings, from the intricate but all-so-easy Subway system, or from the larger than life advertisements. But my communication definition was changed from humans: beggars in particular. Now I knew this would come, of course I’ve seen them scattered in Spokane or in Seattle, but nothing like New York. And they were bold in their tactics in the Big Apple. These beggars didn’t simply communicate their need for survival change through slumping on the building wall next to the hustling and bustling sidewalk. They many times transported from subway car to subway car (sometimes illegally while it was moving) to try to tell their story to the hundreds, most likely thousands of passengers.
Ninety five percent of the passengers I noticed gave the cold shoulder, as my broke college student self did. But the real question is, more like a long-standing, always-continuing societal question is do we give to the beggars or not? I’m just saying our loose change, nothing dramatic unless you’re willing. Of course the first thing to everybody’s mind when that beggar dirtily stumbles into your subway car is: I’m not giving to this guy because either his story is crap (not true or fully true-i.e. not really a war veteran) or he probably was doing okay at one time but either drugs, alcohol, or criminal activity brought him to being homeless and begging so he deserves it. Then the question for us is, what if that’s not true either? Maybe they are telling the truth when they say they are a wounded war veteran and were never given the chance at a job interview, hence lost their residence, their family was abusive/left them/died and they are now left with absolute zilch.
Beggars’ communication will make me think twice in the future. They’re begging to survive with a scrap of food to live one more day on this earth; one more day in their only chance at life. But then it creates a chain-reaction to many other sensitive subjects; hence second chances. If we are giving to that beggar who got out of jail not to long ago from a 40 year sentence on a rape charge they committed in 1970; is that change giving them light, maybe a second chance that most might see they don’t deserve? Since a job won’t be in a sex offender’s future as it shouldn’t be, then begging will be their only communication for the rest of their life? Maybe then the cold shoulder is good punishment. Possibly the best punishment when no one in the real world will give you a chance or even an acknowledgement. The last question then is: what is that beggar’s real story? Give or not to give; your communication is your choice, but choose wisely because lowly beggars just might redefine your communication definition.