The Beat Goes On

8 Sep

I knew  I would return to this post.

Slum tourism immediately made me think of Vancouver’s Downtown East Side, a neighborhood that equally evokes revulsion and gawking. I recently learned of a documentary tv show set in the neighborhood. The Beat follows police officers with varying experience as they work to maintain a semblance of order in the chaotic 12-block area.

The difference in reactions to the neighborhood’s issues and people caused my reconsideration. Some see themselves as warriors while others strive to serve, both the criminals and victims. In the first viewpoint, the battle is between individuals. The latter is more expansive, assessing the situation in terms of economic and social context. The issues are systemic, much larger than specific people.

Rather than blaming and punishing individuals, the focus shifts to the underlying issues and how to deal with the fundamental causes, not the symptoms. In the original post, it was my incorrect assumption that this is the common assessment of such challenged places.For poverty to be viewed with compassion, thorough contextual background is necessary.

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