We live in a society where we come across various panhandlers

We live in a society where we come across various panhandlers, on our way to our
schools, colleges, workplaces, etc. All panhandlers seem to have variable purposes for being
involved in panhandling. Some panhandle for money to fulfill their needs like feeding their or
their families stomach with nutritious or regular food. Others, however, panhandle to gain access
to elements that prove to be toxic to the human body such as cigarettes, liquor, drugs like heroin,
marijuana, and weed. The ones who panhandler to get access to toxic elements find pleasure in
utilizing them, however don’t realize that such things wouldn’t bring any profit to them, but
rather harm. Panhandlers tend to choose the location where it is more likely for individuals to
pass by or come to, such as metro stations and adjacent grocery stores. Some pretend to be
needy, while others are actually needy. In any case, it is upon the society to decide whether they
think a certain panhandler is needy or not, or if they should help them either way.
I did my participant observation on a panhandler near a grocery store, which was a block
away from the Avenue Z, Sheepshead bay subway station, early in the morning. A white
panhandler, holding a small box for money in one hand and smoking a cigarette with the other
hand, was situated on a piece of cloth over an arbitrary spot of the sidewalk. She looked as if she
was in her early or mid 50’s. Wearing filthy dark sweatpants, and a white sloppy turtleneck with
a dark faded hoodie on top, she held out her box for money towards the public passing by.
Examining the surroundings, I came to find and anticipate, concerning why the panhandler had chosen the certain location. In light of the surroundings, one could foresee that
the panhandler decided to sit near a grocery store, as various individuals in the neighbourhood
come to get their groceries everyday. Moreover, she perhaps wanted to gain the further
advantage of having more individuals pass by, therefore, sitting near a grocery store that was a
block away from the subway station, which most individuals utilize, as their means of
transportation to keep their daily-life activities and duties running. Doing my observation on the
morning of Thanksgiving, I saw a sign next to the panhandler, which read out: ” Happy
Thanksgiving! I would love to eat turkey on a Thanksgiving day in the United States, but only if
I had enough money to feast myself with one.” Such indications of vulnerability appear to bring
more individuals consideration and drives their sensitivity towards helpless people.
An important factor, which numerous panhandlers utilize is the revealing of vulnerability
with the aid of one’s non-verbal communication. This is exceedingly noteworthy, as it is perhaps
the basic thing that drives the sympathy of others aid. For instance, many of them wear torn dirty
garments, to pick up the concern of passersby. Other than this, another thing could be eye contact
of the panhandler with the provider. One thing I observed about the panhandler was that once she
saw someone in particular passing nearer to her, she would say “Happy Thanksgiving,”
wholeheartedly to the certain individual and along with that she would lower her cigarette, raise
her box for money, and have a direct eye contact with the individual with an appearance of
powerlessness all over, In this way revealing that she is very well devoted to her action and
concerned with what the individual has to offer. Many passersby, who read the sign and saw her
devotion towards striving in order to have a wonderful thanksgiving, would open their hearts to
sympathy and put in as much cash as they felt like into her small box for cash.
Giving thought to the time of the day the panhandler had chosen, I believe that she chose
the morning time since most people are off to their workplaces, colleges, and schools during the
morning time of the day. Various individuals utilize the subway trains for transportation and
many pass by the route of the panhandler, thus making it more likely for her to interact and get
aid in the form of money from them.
In the middle of my observation, I saw a female passerby who saw the panhandlers sign
and stood there for a few seconds to read it carefully, She then came back after approximately 30
minutes. She held a huge dish covered with a clean kitchen cloth in both her hands; steam rising
from the dish accompanied by the mouthwatering aroma of freshly cooked turkey. She happily
offered it to the panhandler, who seemed to be surprised in a frustrated manner. The panhandler,
however, glared at the women, and then said that she already ate. When the women suggested
on eating it later, she angrily yelled that she wasn’t hungry and therefore wouldn’t accept her
food. The women then took out a dollar bill from her pocket and put it in the panhandlers box, to
which the panhandler seemed to be more satisfied with and later thanked her for it. Later, the
women with a frown on her face, left with the food she had freshly cooked for the panhandler. A
few minutes passed by when suddenly the panhandler got up and went into the grocery store. She
came out with a fresh stick of cigarette and a lighter to lit her cigarette, and then started to smoke
from her new stick of cigarette.
After completing my observation of a white panhandler, I’m positive that I could reveal
the similarities and differences I found with Bourgois and Schonberg’s article: “Intimate
Apartheid: Ethnic dimensions of habitus among homeless heroin injectors,” with those of the
results of my observation. In the article ‘ Intimate Apartheid” has portrayed two different
panhandler from two different cultures. This Article somewhat related to my observation that I
did on the panhandler
In the article “Intimate Apartheid” has described two kinds of panhandlers which is
belong to two different cultures. After reading this article, I become to know that white panhandlers doesn’t interact people a lot. They just seems needy that’s why people help them
out and gave them money. Mostly white panhandler have a flyer sign in which has written such
words as “God bless you”, “Help me please”. White panhandler doesn’t bother people for the
seek of money. The second kind of panhandlers is African Americans who doesn’t have a
specific spot for panhandling. They just panhandling in the streets or on roads. They speak loud
to interact people. They don’t hold flyer sign with them. My observation is much similar with the
characteristics of white panhandler. Everyone behavior is different because of their culture. The
white panhandler whom I observed have the some sort of similar earning style which is describe
in the article. That white man doesn’t hold flyer sign but article describe that white panhandlers
always hold flyer sign. I also believe that culture has played very important role in people’s’
behavior. Everyone has their own culture which they has learn. People have different thoughts,
attitude and behavior. Culture has great impact on their behavior. African American and white
panhandlers have different style of panhandling because of different culture. They react totally
different on situations to each other. They have different body posture. These characteristics are
also related to my participant observation. I observe the reason behind the white man’s
panhandling method. He have a specific panhandling method because of cultural behavior and
social interaction. As he is white man that’s why he has his own beliefs and different attitude.
Panhandlers like a white man who look needy because of his appearance and have not enough
money to buy food. These kind of panhandlers get more attention of people as compared to
African American panhandlers. People always judge other by their looks. They doesn’t think
about their problems.
After my participant observation, I felt like I want to know about his real situation. Which thing
made him panhandler. What is his needs which he can’t fulfill and he become panhandler. I also
have one thing in my mind which made me think a lot. When he get injured and he was not able
to panhandling then why he again come to his spot for panhandling. One day I was going to
store for buying something. I saw that white panhandler. He was sitting there alone at night. No
one is around him and he was sad and maybe crying because I can see his face clearly. I again
start observing him that where he will go? I observed him for 20 mins at night and become to
know that he is also a homeless man. But I think I still could not find his real situation for
panhandling. I done my observation which is thin description. That observation doesn’t gave me
too many information because I can’t approach the panhandler. I personally think participant
observation is a great observation to know about people’s real behavior. Because if people
become to know that they are under observation so they might can be change their behavior
and pretend a fake behavior.