A Humanity Lesson From the Mouths of Babes

A child's perspective, innocent and honest, serves as a good reminder of our biases.

POETRY FOR INCLUSION

During our morning family prayer my daughter prays for her favorite Disney characters, Aladdin and Jasmine. I admire her honesty and simultaneously chuckle at her attachment to these fictional characters. Full disclosure: I’m a huge Disney fan and may regress to a child of wonder and imagination when watching this movie.

I quickly reverted back to my adult psyche and started to think about the themes in Aladdin that I did not fully appreciate as a child. Aladdin is referred to as “street rat,” which would be synonymous with a person who is homeless. Like Aladdin, individuals who are experiencing homelessness are ostracized by society. They are viewed as the untouchables. We forget that they are humans beings who, due to a multitude of factors, have fallen on difficult times.

We must be mindful of our biases. I challenge us to reflect on this question: What does a person who is homeless look like? They are our neighbors, co-workers, friends, patients, and members of our faith communities. They are human beings who desire a whole new world, a wondrous place where inclusion is the norm.

Thank you to my daughter for reminding me that the prayers of a child are innocent and honest.

May this poem inspire reflection.

A whole new world sings.

Humanity will glisten.

A just carpet ride.

Dr Clark is an outpatient psychiatrist at Prisma Health-Upstate and clinical associate professor at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine, Greenville. He served on the American Psychiatric Association’s Task Force to Address Structural Racism Throughout Psychiatry, and he currently serves as the Diversity and Inclusion section editor and advisory board member for Psychiatric TimesTM.