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Free Speech Friday: Week of Jan. 30, 2015

See what The Daily's readers had to say this week.

The take: Homelessness — The logic behind giving homes to the homeless

When I was in high school, I went on a service trip to Washington, D.C. While there, we participated in a program where we went out onto the street and gave socks to people who were homeless. All we asked for in return — if people were willing — was to hear their story. Some people just took the socks and left, but the vast majority sat and spoke with us. For me, an upper-middle-class kid who grew up in the suburbs, it was an eye-opening experience.

The take: Homelessness — What the foster care system can do to decrease youth homelessness

For most kids, 18th birthdays mean celebrating the perks of adulthood, maybe registering to vote, perhaps buying a lottery ticket. Perhaps they are anticipating their upcoming move to college. And it’s more than likely they have the love and support of their parents behind them. 

The take: Homelessness — Applying for government aid without an address

One of my vivid memories from fifth grade is the day my class participated in a welfare office simulation.

My teacher led us into an empty multipurpose room in the school where a table was set up. Two women were seated; one in front of an A-M sign, the other in front of N-Z.

We had been “homeless” all week, engaging in exercises like carrying our backpacks at all times, including recess and lunch. If we left them accidentally unattended, our teachers would take them away for the rest of the day.

The take: Homelessness — Crazy isn't what they are; it's what's been done to them

If you live in any big city, you’re no stranger to the homeless population. In the U-District, it’s strange to walk down the Ave without a conversation with someone who lives on the street. 

We make large assumptions about these groups of people: that they are all drug-addicted, unmotivated, mentally ill. But how have we come to these conclusions? Do we tell ourselves these things so we don’t feel the need to help them? So we don’t feel responsible? 

Will’s word of the week: smother

Some words evoke a definite sensation or feeling, a creepy-crawly tingling of the skin, simply in the way you say them. This week’s word, as suggested by my esteemed colleague, office-mate, and friend, Matt Bellinger, is one such word.

To “smother” is to “cover up so as to prevent from having free play or development,” or “to cover up, cover over, densely or thickly by some thing or substance,” according to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED).

Deconstructing Guilt

Fighting the need to justify

Disconnecting

Sharing less could bring you more

Guest editorial: Minimum wage

Last year, Seattle city council passed a legislation that will raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour within 3-6 years. At the time polls indicated a 70 percent support for the legislation among the residents. However, a recent poll shows a sharp drop in the support to below 50 percent. Although that is an improvement, it is still disappointing that in one of the most educated cities in the US, half of the residents support raising the minimum wage.

Moving beyond monoracial categories

I once had a professor claim that in 50 years, everyone will be so racially “mixed” and therefore ambiguous, no one will be able to distinguish “what someone is,” so race won’t matter much anymore.

Questions

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