A tearful homeless man in Chicago explains that he isn’t a bum (video)

Wow. Quite the moving video. It’s only 4 minutes long, and it shows Ronald Davis, a Chicago homeless man, filmed last year talking about life on the street.

Davis gets quite emotion talking about what it’s like to be homeless, and he makes some great points, especially about trying to find a job when you’re homeless.

Via Gawker and The Blaze, here’s a bit of the transcript:

“I go fill out applications for a job and stuff. They look at me, you know, I’m not looking presentable and they ‘well, we’ll call you. Leave a number.’ But how can I leave a number when I don’t have a phone?” Davis says.

Ronald-DavisIt’s really humiliating to be shaking a cup 24 hours a day and people looking at you like you’re some kind of bum. I have people who walk past me and say ‘Get a job, bum.’ And I say, ‘wait a minute, I’m not a bum, I’m a human being,'” Davis said beginning to choke up. “At the end of the day, when people go home and everybody gets on the Metra train …and then I just feel so bad that I can’t be going home,” he said apologizing to the person filming him because he was starting to get teary. “It’s really emotional because I’m really trying to get myself together and get off this street.”

“Now matter what people think about me, I know I’m a human first. And just ’cause I’m down on my luck don’t give nobody no excuse to call me no bum. Because I’m not.”

The video isn’t long.  It’s worth a watch.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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27 Responses to “A tearful homeless man in Chicago explains that he isn’t a bum (video)”

  1. Lenora Atchley says:

    Hey guys. Just want to let you guys know that Ronald has received tons of donations through the creation of this video and has a cell phone and supposedly has a place to stay and a job but I have yet to verify that part. :)

  2. BillFromDover says:

    Right… leftists don’t pay any taxes… all social programs are now funded only by those conservatives which condemn them?

    Seriously, dude, give us a break!

  3. Sweetie says:

    In plutocratic America, net worth define you.

  4. Sweetie says:

    It does in a culture in which “net worth” is a strong concept.

    Notice the second word in that phrase. Worth, as in worthwhile, worthiness, et cetera.

    Net worth is literally how worthwhile a person is, based on how many resources they have managed to grab or be gifted.

  5. BeccaM says:

    People like you are why there are homeless people like him out there. Because you can’t hear someone’s hard luck story without assuming they’re lying or malingering.

  6. Naja pallida says:

    Of course it could be… but you’re deluding yourself if you don’t think there are plenty of people just like that out there anyway.

  7. Naja pallida says:

    The simple fact is, people who have been paying their mortgage have been foreclosed on. People who don’t even have a mortgage have had their homes foreclosed on. Banks have been foreclosing on homes they don’t even hold the proper titles to. You can make up stuff to argue with yourself about all day, but all it takes is one bad thing to happen, and someone can find themselves homeless. Automatically assuming it is their fault is just being blatantly obnoxious.

    Many people do stick to Section 8 housing. There are over 3 million households in subsidized housing around the country. That is just a ridiculous number of people. Combine that with nearly 48 million people on food stamps. Half a million homeless on any given night, and that’s with their revised method of counting homeless people (ie, if you’re sleeping on your friends couch, you’re not considered homeless). The idea that we’re not considering this a crisis in the supposed “best country in the world” is pathetic.

    But just keep blaming the victims. That’ll help.

  8. Whitewitch says:

    As my mother used to say “there but by grace go I”. When I see a homeless person, I see the potential of one day being there myself. I am one, maybe two paychecks from this destiny.

  9. karmanot says:

    “you don’t deserve your own” –brain. If you only had a heart you could make it to OZ.

  10. karmanot says:

    Meanie scrooge. Just think of all ‘bums’ as Jesus in disguise, or if that doesn’t work—yo momma.

  11. Kevin M., Franciscan Outreach says:

    Just because someone is homeless, or otherwise marginalized, for any of a variety of reasons most of us can’t even begin to fully comprehend, doesn’t take away any of their inherent human dignity and worth.

  12. Ed says:

    Uh….because his story could be all bull***t.

  13. Me says:

    So because someone stops paying their mortgage they should be allowed to continue living in that home? Sorry, if you bought more house than you could afford or were too stupid and lazy to read the contract you were signing, you don’t deserve your own home. Next time, stick to section 8 housing.

  14. Ed says:

    Wow, Just Wow! Because some BUM gives you a sad and likely bull***t story, you blame anyone who walks by a bum for not buying it. And I’ll you what I’m “suspicious” of…….. people, or rather, leftists whose “concern” for others always amounts to people giving BUMS free stuff….. the cost of which will come from others, never them.

  15. karmanot says:

    Thanks Nicholas…….I see thousands of homeless, damaged Vets pass through our city every year.

  16. karmanot says:

    I was homeless for nearly a year. I arrived in Calcutta and walked to Istanbul. I earned small change by making colorful sidewalk drawings. In all that time, meeting thousands of people, I was never once abused or threatened.I was often invited into village homes for rest and nourishment, protected by caravans and citizens when moving through bandit deserts and given rides by Lorrie drivers. Oh, did I say, most of these exceptional blessings occurred in Islamic Muslim countries.

  17. Naja pallida says:

    It just as sad to consider that we have millions of people in this country who work a full time job, and still don’t make enough money to get enough food to eat. I don’t know a food bank that isn’t at near capacity for the output that it can handle, plus more people on food stamps than at any time before. Some of those people are our military veterans and families. I can’t even fathom the level of depravity it takes from Washington to just accept that we have military families on food stamps.

  18. Monyka says:

    This really hits home for me. We have to find away to reach the people who walk by this man and truly do not see a fellow human being who deserves A CHANCE to turn his life around.

    One day someone very close to me, whom I love looked at me and said “I’m suspicious of people who have nothing. I mean, seriously, you have NOTHING? How is that possible?”

    I felt so hopeless in that moment. I couldn’t believe someone with so many amiable qualities could be that aloof. So sad.

  19. Naja pallida says:

    Especially since banks are allowed to illegally foreclose on your home. All it takes is some automatically generated paperwork, and a sheriff to show up at your house to tell you to leave. Also consider how much power property owners have over their renters. That’s not even factoring in a major health problem, or a sudden, unexpected job loss. I would venture to say that most people have an inflated sense of security with regards to their housing situation. All it takes is one thing, and almost any average American could find themselves homeless almost overnight.

  20. skwcw2001 . says:

    was homeless when i was younger for six months, never forgot the lessons i learned from others during that time. Folks it only takes one bad thing to happen in your life to take all that money you have and your left destroyed just like many of them…

  21. Naja pallida says:

    Americans have always had a blame-the-victim mentality about the homeless, but the vast majority of homeless people are there through no fault of their own… and very few wouldn’t take an opportunity to get out of that situation, if they had it offered to them. The problem is, upward mobility has been all but impossible for the impoverished in this country, ever since about 1980. We take away millions of jobs, drive down wages, make it hard to get adequate health care, and then tell the poor they’re not being responsible. That any kind of help would just be a free ride for them, and if we offer any such thing, everyone is going to become so addicted to the free ride, that they will never want to work again!

  22. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    Unfortunately, the one percent and their friends in D.C. could care less.

  23. BeccaM says:

    I don’t see how anybody can watch something like this man’s testimony and claim that America is the greatest country that ever was or ever could be.

    It’s for damned sure there’s nearly infinite room for improvement. We can and should do better.

  24. Bill_Perdue says:

    Very touching. Poverty robs us of our humanity and distorts every aspect of our lives.

    The figures for poverty, homelessness and and long term unemployment are high and fairly stable. http://portalseven.com/employment/unemployment_rate_u6.jsp or check out the graph below.

    The figures for homelessness and poverty are not based solely on unemployment, though. Republican and Democrat governors, Obama and the federal government are on a union busting rampage and have driven down wages for industrial workers, exported their jobs and are now planning to pour salt on the wounds by slashing Social Security and further gutting Medicare, already of a shell of what it was just a few years ago. Their immigration “reform’ bill will create a bracero program and tie workers to low paying jobs for years.

    Here are the two main things to keep in mind about poverty and unemployment.

    First, poverty, homelessness and unemployment are forms of extreme social violence and those who impose it one us are sociopathic criminals. That includes the rich, their lapdogs in the WH and Congress (no matter what party they’re in) and the cults, roman, protty, evangelical, mormon who are all reliable friends of the status quo. (Groups like catholic Worker are the personification of futility).

    Second, the rich and their political lapdogs – Obama and Romney – who impose these conditions on working people here and around the world are criminals in every sense of the word and their policies of war and austerity have to be ended. That will happen when the permanently unemployed, the homeless and those pushed into poverty figure out what’s going on.

    “Oxfam International revealed that the combined income of the richest 100 people in the world is enough to end global poverty four times over, and that the gap between rich and poor has exploded by some 60% in the last 20 years. Rather than hinder this division, the recent global economic crisis has exacerbated it. Money does not disappear, you see, but tends to be translated up the income ladder in times of financial distress.” http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/16593-the-end-of-the-beginning-of-the-end

    Working people will have the last say on this question and when they begin to speak with one voice there won’t be any place for the rich to hide. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rE76Um5yk6w

  25. bpollen says:

    As somebody who has been homeless (in my case, due to alcoholism) i have to say that the position you find yourself in now doesn’t decide who you are. And we should all remember that most of the middle class could see their world turn to shit in a matter of months, or even less.

  26. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    Veterans Day? Have I lost half a year?


  27. Happy Veterans Day!
    Peace is what we need.

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