Seriously, Homelessness Is No Joke

On the one day every year when the world has an excuse for playing practical jokes – April Fools! – we ask, “Why is it seemingly acceptable to make homeless people the butt of the joke, no matter the day?”

A young woman sees a homeless man sleeping on a park bench. Unbeknownst to the man, she leans over and takes a selfie with him to share on social media. • Another person, a so-called “influencer” with over a million followers, replaces the filling in an Oreo cookie with toothpaste then gives the cookie to a hungry homeless man. The influencer records the homeless man’s reaction to eating the cookie for broadcast on YouTube. • And a homeless man is paid cash to be spray painted. The experience is photographed and, for entertainment purposes, is shared on social media. The homeless man is humiliated; days later he kills himself.

By now, readers should be disgusted; even angry. Stomachs should ache for the vulnerable and the abused. None of this is funny, and yet none of this is going away any time soon.

While the aforementioned examples live on digital and social media, you cannot discount their impact and influence. People today spend more time on their phones than they do in front of a television. The average person spends almost two and a half hours a day on social media, alone.