Have you ever been deep in conversation and the wrong word slipped from your lips and you couldn’t get it back? Well, I have and although I try not to make it a habit it has happened to me a time or two. Yesterday, was one of those days. I had a blog talk radio interview last night and when asked what inspired me, I said an awful word to describe a homeless person. I was nervous and although it is no excuse, and I am not looking for one, I want to apologize.
At the time the correct word wasn’t there, it was as if my brain had frozen and so I blurted out the most horrible word I could’ve said… a bum. I knew what I’d done the moment the word left my lips, and the guilt still lays heavy in my stomach. The word is insulting. It is derogative. And most importantly it is wrong.
A homeless person is someone’s mother, father, brother, sister, daughter, son—they are real individuals with real problems, who are judged every day. I said a word that I grew up knowing…I said a word I don’t even allow my children to use, and I feel horrible.
What makes this so difficult for me is that I’ve worked with the homeless, I know awesome people who devote their time to help them. I’ve heard stories, talked with the men and women who live on the streets, and I have a dear friend whose brother was homeless, Jason’s Gifts.
I’ve supported the cause for many years. I’ve brought my children to the shelters, done soup kitchens, and even did an anthology with proceeds going to the Jasper Place Health and Wellness Centre. In no way do I feel that these people are, or should be described with that word or any other insulting term and I am deeply sorry.
“All men make mistakes, but only wise men learn from their mistakes”. - Winston Churchill