Same Kind of Different as Me is a memoir written by Denver Moore and Ron Hall with Lynn Vincent. It describes the relationship between two men, on behalf of Deborah Hall. It gives an in-depth perspective on their relationship and how the pair, later on, advocated for people experiencing homelessness. Additionally, through intersectionality, strength and social justice perspectives, one will be able to apply to them to the book through different examples. On top of that, identify misconceptions of homelessness will be discussed.
Furthermore, the paper will discuss different avenues social workers can advocate for through social and economic justice. Moreover, the paper will discuss the pivotal role of Denver Moore played throughout the book.
Three perspectives that apply to Same Kind of Different as Me are, intersectionality perspective, strength perspective, and social justice perspective. Throughout the book, it provides examples of how the theoretical perspectives apply. Each taking on a role of importance, the reader will be able to identify through examples that are provided from the book.
For example, Moore explains his youth, which involved social ignorance, humiliation, public ridicule and emotional pain. This example could be viewed as critical perspective, social justice perspective, or intersectionality.
Applying intersectionality perspective to Same Kind of Different as Me is, “understanding the identity as a person’s psychological relationship to a particular social category system” (Sue & M. Racheed & J. Rasheed, 2016). Intersectionality perspective is empirical on gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic class position and others. Identifying through Moore, he came from a poverty-stricken family and struggled to find his identity.
He was stigmatized and objectified. Through intersectionality perspective, Moore is able to identify with multiple paths. For example, being raised in poverty, being oppressed due to identifying as black and lacking quality education. Furthermore, “taking an intersectional perspective in exploring the dimensions of diversity is consistent with emerging paradigm” (Sue & M. Racheed & J. Rasheed, 2016). Exploring more of his identity through intersectionality perspective, it is possible to see he belongs to many more categories.
“Strength perspective shifts the focus from psychological and social pathology to affirming and working with strengths found both in people seeking help and in their environments” (Sue & M. Racheed & J. Rasheed, 2016). Looking through the lens of strength perspective, an example the book provides is, Moore using his experiences of homelessness and violence to become successful and advocate. This perspective gives attention to Moore’s basic dignity and his resilience to move forward, surpassing his past identity as becoming homeless. He used his hardship to give him strength and persistence. Using his self-determination, Moore was able to create a definitive pathway later in his trajectory.
Social justice seems to be prominent throughout the book. It is defined as, “challenging conditions of unemployment, poverty, discrimination, inequitable distribution of social and economic resources necessary to meet basic human needs, and other forms of social injustice” (Sue & M. Racheed & J. Rasheed, 2016). An example of social justice or lack thereof is, Moore’s basic rights being at risk. He was raised on a plantation that prohibited self-determination and ownership of one’s human rights. On top of that, he was seen as homeless, instead of an individual experiencing homelessness. This identity was provided by societal standards. It was a form of oppression, bias, and discrimination. However, he would not let what society said define who he was.
The homeless are an underserved, vulnerable population. There is evidence that the prevailing view of homelessness is distorted. Society is an invisible and complex institution. Based on one’s spot within society, comes specific demands, duties, and expectations that must be fulfilled. The behaviors from an individual experiencing homelessness, such as begging, is perceived as unacceptable. However, it is an understandable reaction to their situation. Same Kind of Different as Me breaks down these barriers and gives an in-depth description of the societal perception of homelessness and the experience Moore went through to get where he was.
The resilience and survival methods individuals experiencing homelessness take is something the rest of society cannot understand. Oftentimes, society lacks the ability to take into account the systemic factors that influence homelessness. Systemic factors that can possibly lead to homelessness are poverty, discrimination, and lack of education. Many individuals who struggle from these issues are at a systemic disadvantage. Partly, out of society making the ability to receive quality and accessible resources more challenging.
It is pivotal society investigates their personal biases and discriminatory thoughts towards persons experiencing homelessness. Additionally, changing the way society exams issues around the stigmatization of homelessness can further reduce the barriers. Also, by exploring the reason people experience homelessness can alter the stigma surrounding the topic. This true account challenges assumptions by exploring the individual and his life story of being homeless to successful.
Identity is a core and unavoidable part of life. One’s actions shape their identity, and consequently, one’s identity shapes their action. Certain experiences are more prominent and influential than others. Additionally, an experience can lead to form a belief, value, desire, or goal. For most, it is liberating and comfortable to feel in control of one’s own identity.
In Same Kind of Different as Me, Hall and Moore live in two separate worlds. Each having different worldviews and values. However, parallels gradually appear between them. Hall lived in a world of the rich, whereas Moore was known for being violent and living in a world of poverty. Both men were able to form a valuable bond. Growing from this bond, their identities and priorities had begun to shift. Hall began to have a different view on life and helping the homeless out of his own experience with Moore.
It is pivotal to choose the way one wants to construct an identity that signals to the world the core values and unique choices. Moore’s experience of living on a plantation influenced and shaped his identity compared to Hall’s life experiences. When he met Debbie and Ron Hall, his experiences with them took part in shaping his new identity.
“Race, culture, and ethnicity clearly represent significant social category systems, that impact identity” (Sue & M. Rasheed & J. Rasheed, p. 45). The way Moore grew up significantly influenced his decision-making, viewpoints, and ideologies. An example of how an experience can shape identity is, the time when Moore was a little older, he was grabbed by the Ku Klux Klan for helping a white female on the side of the road. He states in Same Kind of Different as Me how impactful it was later on in his life.
Denver Moore represents a vulnerable population, which to this day, still faces oppression and neglect. Additionally, He represents the chain reaction from being oppressed and dismissed by society. Moore grew up in poverty, living with his aunt and uncle on a plantation in Red River Parish (Hall & Moore, & Vincent, 2006, p. 48). Although Moore never learned how to read or write, he was a hard worker on the farm. After living in a variety of states, which included Louisiana and Fort Worth, Texas and a list of misfortunes growing up, Moore found himself homeless, altering from homeless shelter to homeless shelter. It was not until he was staying at the Union Gospel Mission of Tarrant County that Moore’s life trajectory would change.
The two men who had an inseparable bond began to raise awareness for homelessness, as Moore experienced this personally. Their mission to tackle homelessness was by preaching a story of forgiveness, love, and redemption. The pair visited numerous shelters across America, helping to raise money for the homeless through their speaking engagements, fundraisers, and partnerships with carious organizations.
Hall’s view on homelessness was an unusual perspective after joining ranks with Moore. He saw homelessness as an opportunity to share the faithfulness of Christ. He ceased each opportunity he could grasp. Their entire purpose of serving the homeless and tackling this oppressed community was to share the word and to show that there is potential for growth and success in the most unusual circumstances.
Their story illustrates tremendously that it is not based on race and ethnicity, rather by the condition of their faithfulness in Christ. Their unlikely story captured the attention from many people. Moore and Hall have since raised enough money to rebuild the homeless shelter where they first met. A few years later, with grace and dignity, Moore accepted a philanthropy award on behalf of Debbie (Hall & Moore & Vincent, 2006, p. 202). “I found out everybody’s different-the same kind of different as me” (Hall & Moore & Vincent, 2006, p. 235). Using the platform, he paved for himself, through persistence and determination allowed him an opportunity to use his voice to give light of homelessness and who Chris is.
“Though our profession recognizes culture as a source of strength for individuals and communities, cultural differences can also impose challenges in professional social work practice” (Sue & M. Rasheed & J. Rasheed, 2016). In many respects, the field of social work is about promoting social justice, as well as economic justice. Multicultural remains an important concept within social work. The goal of multicultural social work practice is to work with diverse populations, in addition to oppressed and marginalized communities. Multicultural social work practice can be demonstrated in many areas of Same Kind of Different as Me. For example, promoting self-determination and advocating basic human rights for individuals experiencing homelessness at the Union Gospel Mission. On top of promoting self-determination and human rights, the book gives an account of acknowledging cultural differences, yet surpasses those disparities for a primary goal of sharing the story of redemption and forgiveness. Ways to which a social worker can advocate for social and economic justice for marginalized communities are, building resources in low-income communities, promoting economic security, and advocating to end residential segregation.
Approaching advocating for social and economic justice for marginalized communities, the issue in frame needs to be directly address. For example, placing accessible resources near the area in which is in need. By doing so, it will help gain a deeper understanding of the community and their needs, as well as its own culture and social structures. Furthermore, the readily available resources will encourage community members to use the assets that are placed there for them. Placing resources away from the community in need interferes with the process of becoming successful. Hindering this process will also reduce the likelihood of achieving individual goals.
Economic insecurity often invades vulnerable populations, specifically poverty-stricken communities and the homeless community. Bringing attention and persistently advocating for this adversity will bring thought to increasing labor opportunities. Furthermore, advocating for proper economic security will farther expand economic mobility. The pursuit to become proactive with addressing this multicultural tribulation gives a framework and guidance for economic security.
Advocating to end residential segregation will provide more economic opportunities, as well as promote social justice for marginalized communities. Recognizing residential segregation, social workers are able to dismantle this unjust subject by advocating to revisit the policies for the Fair Housing Act. In addition, social works can advocate for reliable transportation for marginalized communities. Advocating for reliable transportation will enhance additional opportunities, such as job options.
In conclusion, this inspiring memoir altered the outlook of diversity and microaggressions towards marginalize communities, respectively with the homeless population. The perception of how an individual’s identity can be shaped by experience is clearly presented throughout Same Kind of Different as Me. Addressing social controversy, such as poverty and exploring the meaning of redemption in unlikely circumstances is transmitted. In addition, there is a clear form of how social workers can advocate for communities at risk. Moreover, through the lens of the three theoretical perspectives, which are intersectionality, strength and social justice perspectives, the reader will be able to apply them to Same Kind of Different as Me.