I decided to go to the Salvation Army, which is located downtown. I do not see myself being better than the people who frequent the Salvation Army, but I was always curious of the nature why there were so many people standing around the Salvation Army. So I entered the building and just to be on the safe side, I informed the receptionist of my being there to do a school project. Just to observe people and the environment.
What did you observe? There were many people there majority Caucasian women and their children. There were a great number of black men that were there to. The inside of the building smelled. The receptionist was not very friendly to the people that were there and others coming in, but she was very polite to me. I guess because she knew, I was not there for food or to get a bill paid. A few people asked me what I was there for, because they said, I do not look like I belong there.
Why was this situation out of your comfort zone? I felt that I am a working class person, not upper class or lower class. I work hard for what I have and to see so many people in a place wanting food and to get a bill paid. I know life can get rough for people and times are hard. But all the people that were there, somebody had to have a job or get food stamps to buy food or something. I feel some of the people were there just because I was easy to get food and get their bill paid.
What did you learn? I met a young lady named Gina and she had two children. She was a divorcee and her husband took everything from her and her children. They became homeless and she never worked she was a stay at home mom. Her ex-husband doesn’t help her with anything, matter of fact she does not know where he is. So someone told her about the Salvation Army and this is why she was here to get some type of assistance. You just never know why a person would be in a place like the Salvation Army, everyone has their own story. And to no fault, of her own, this is where her ex-husband caused her to be.
What perceptions changed or remained the same about the people observed? My perceptions changed some, because there are people who really need the assistance and their some who do not. What type of things did you notice about the people? Majority of the people paid no attention to me they figured I was there for the same reason, with the exception of two. Many people did not make any eye contact with really anyone that was there. They seemed to be in a world of their own. There was one lady that was really outgoing and upbeat, she shared why she was down there, and thanked the man that had brought her. Every word she said was kind and uplifting given the situation that a lot of the people were in.
What type of social inequality did you observe or experience? Well a gentleman came in and he was talking to different people and he notices me sitting there. I saw him kept staring at me, it was a little uncomfortable, but he made his way to me, before I could say anything he tells me we are not going to be able to help you today. I just stared like in disbelief, so I begin to tell the gentleman, I was not there for any assistance, I am doing a school project on observation. The look on his face was priceless, he said to me I am going to honest with you young lady, but you did not look like you needed any type of assistance, I asked the gentleman what do I suppose to…