A Black Dot on White Paper

As a society, we have become heartless.

Homeless people who are living in tents bothered us. “They are too close,” we say, and grumble about a woman who sleeps in her car, and who has chosen our safe subdivision to do so.

“I read that some of them actually have a car and a home. They only pretend to be poor.”
“I read most of them are alcoholics or drug addicts.”

Yes, there are black sheep, we all know that. There are always some who will abuse a system -any system. That’s nothing new! But we should not focus on the black sheeps.

The way we treat the poorest of the poor is wrong. Every chain is only as strong as the weakest link. The poor are our weakest link!

What does it take to walk by a man who is begging for food because he is hungry?

There is actually a word for it: Aporophobia, the rejection of the poor. The disgust and hostility some show toward poor people are brutal, or perhaps it’s only the fear of being one of them.

Years ago, a professor came to the class and announced a test. She distributed the task sheets as usual face down. Then she asked the students to pick up the test and start.

To everyone’s surprise, there were no questions on the paper – all that was shown was a black dot in the middle of the white paper.

Now the professor asked the students:

“Please write down what you see on the sheet!”

The students were irritated, but tackled the task.

At the end of the hour, the professor collected all the sheets and looked at the answers. She then read them aloud. The students had invariably described the black dot. Its position in the middle of the sheet, its position in space, the size ratio to the side and so much more.

The professor smiled and explained the test.

“I wanted to give you a task to think about. None of you have written anything about the white part of the paper. Everyone focused on the black dot ⚫️ – and the same thing happens frequently in our lives. We received a white paper to use and design, but we focus on the dark spots.

Notice the dark, black dots, but focus your attention primarily on the light, white paper. Only then will you become aware of the possibilities in your life. Share the joyful moments, the bright in your life with other people! See the good!”

The ones who abuse the system or beg for money for a living are the black dot.

We should never focus on them.

16 thoughts on “A Black Dot on White Paper

  1. I have seen two sides to this story. A friend who was homeless knew of those not homeless who would stand in lines for free meals. I witnessed a homeless couple ask for money and then spend it on DVDs. The TRULY homeless need our help and our compassion. If only there was an easy way to tell them apart from those wanting it all free.

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  2. I have never heard the word “aporophobia” before. And the black dot experiment is very interesting and opens some valuable understanding! There is so much poverty in the United States that extends beyond homelessness. We like to pretend that children have enough to eat and that as long as there’s a roof over a family’s head people are “getting by.” I do believe it is a national disgrace. A very important and sensitive post, Bridget.

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    • The black-dot-experiement was given to us by a professor who had set his mind on messing with our minds. 🙂
      When I started collecting bras for women in need I knew there were SOME, now I have seen so much that I know there is so much more poverty then we all know about. Our news hardly mentions it and we try not to think about it. It scares us -and it should.

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  3. So true! It is easy to blanket every struggling person with the tar of a few bad eggs, (or dots).
    Who pretends to be poor?
    For what purpose? Self-flagellation?
    Some may be instrumental in their own situation but many others suffer from forces external to them and they don’t yet have the capacity to deal with them.

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    • I believe there are black sheep everywhere. Some are too lazy to work, trying to make a quick dime? I don’t know.
      It’s hard to tell why people do what they do. There is a story to everything -we just don’t always listen.

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    • The guy taking two free meals made me so mad, and then I saw myself in the food court at the mall, grabbing multiple samples 🙂
      We are all human, maybe that’s why we need a few reminders now and then to be better -or be our best.

      Liked by 2 people

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