I just cannot be angry at bumming, begging, beguiling Blaise (“Flash in the Panhandle,” 9/13). He’s simply following the well-worn advice of the ages—he’s using what he’s got to get what he wants.
However, I did get mad at Christopher Brown, the 25-year-old African-American research assistant who “thinks that race plays no role at all” in Blaise’s big bounty, and says, “It’s not about being white, but about [Blaise] being the most normal” of all the competing panhandlers.
Even Ray Charles can see that Blaise is working his whiteness for all it’s worth. If Brown found himself suddenly homeless, he could never hope to replicate Blaise’s success, since he’s not blond.
Shame on Brother Brown for allowing his naivete to be documented in print for all to see. Blaise is a homeless, obviously ill, drugged, larceny-convicted beggar, yet he “appears to be a well-mannered young man and a very good person” because he’s not only white, but blond! I bet if Brown (who I assume is an articulate, educated, professional man) suddenly found his black ass out on the streets, he could never hope to replicate Blaise’s success. How would he explain that?