Got To Do Better Than This!

And fools can’t hold us

Every chance we get – we’re hittin up the rollers

Coming up short on the green guys

And I might start slinging bean pies

Or the bootleg t-shirt of the month

With, “you can’t touch this” on the front   – Ice Cube

Street Begging Kids

This is a sensitive subject matter for me.  I waited to blog about it because I didn’t want anger to ruin my point.  After months I am finally at a place where I can discuss this reasonably.

You know, in this world we all have to get our hustle on some kind of way.  I don’t care what kind of job it is.  You can be a teacher, a preacher, a cook or a CEO.  In the basic sense it’s a hustle.  In this case the definition of a hustle is simply, ” making a way financially to obtain or sustain.”  I don’t mean it has to be anything illegal or immoral.  Back in the day, the word hustle indicated aggressiveness and drive.  That is my definition in this post in the basic sense, but in no way is this  the only meaning. 

 For instance, for some people a hustle may be standing on the corner soliciting donations.  Some have signs that say they want food or employment.  The game plan is that they want drivers to give them money as their cars pause at a traffic light.   I’ve challenged some this way.  There have been people that asked me for money on the street in order to “get something to eat.”  And I’ll say something like, “Sure man.  What do you want?  There is a Wendy’s right around the corner.  Let’s go.” 

There have been times that the person was grateful and indeed honestly wanted a meal.  It blessed me to be able to provide one.  Other times they just wanted the money instead of the food.  I’m intelligent enough to guess why, but I won’t go there.  I don’t judge cause Lord knows I understand I am just a circumstance or tragic event away from being on the street.

That being said: One thing that just gets under my skin and burns me up is when I see little kids on the corner begging for money for their “fill in the blank sports teams”. 

For those who don’t know already, I live in St. Louis and in this town there are busy intersections where often people stand waiting for a large group of cars to gather at a stop light so they can hit them up.  Some are for churches or ministries.  They approach the car and say something to the effect of, “Would you like to donate to the homeless ministry.”  A person holds out a bucket and if you give them something they give you a Tootsie Roll or something in return.  Some have printed information about their organization. 

If you were to travel to Kingshighway and Natural Bridge on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, you may see cats from The Nation of Islam selling their Final Call newspapers or bean pies.  The above picture was taken on West Florissant and Dunn Rd., an intersection with a large daily flow of traffic stops. 

These little dudes were approaching cars asking people to give them money for their basketball teams.   Not pictured was an adult male standing at a safe distance as the little ones did his whoring.  The hope is that the citizens will see these cute little kids and have empathy to come out of their pockets.

Now there are two reasons why this is whack – Flat out despicable!

1) It’s dangerous!  There are too many cars doting for position in these crowded intersections.  The children are small and are in danger of getting injured or worse.

2) It’s begging when begging is not necessary. The example set by the adults who put these kids up to this is beyond reprehensible.  The children want to play basketball.  Great.  The finances are low and there is a need.  Understandable.  Instead of having them stand on the corner begging, put them to work.  It doesn’t take much to sell candy, or hold a fundraiser by having public car wash.  Find a place where you can get buckets, soap and towels and provide a service.  Teach them how to earn money and you may create an entrepreneur.  Show these young people with their God given abilities and potential that if they provide a service, he/she can earn money by providing that service.  Raising money with a producer’s mentality as opposed to a beggars can revolutionize a person’s outlook on life.

Look!   I can go to Los Angeles right now.  And some of my Mexican brothers will be on the corner selling flowers.  At the next block you can buy an NBA Finals Lakers T-shirt.  It may be authentic.  It may be a knockoff.  There are hundreds of streets and boulevards where this scenario is going on.  The buyer decides the value.  Everything is negotiable.  You can’t negotiate begging.  If anything people tend to resent beggars and people who stand on corners asking for something but offering nothing in return.  We don’t know where that money is going.  I hate to see the few black men in St. Louis sending these youth the wrong message.  I don’t give them a dime.  I refuse to support this shameful venture. 

Shake yourself you lazy and unimaginable adult!  Teach your youth to fish,  not to beg for fishes!