Same Kind of Different As Me

by Ron Hall

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Last Updated on September 10, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 510

The Brutality of Racism

One theme that is clear in Same Kind of Different as Me is the intensity of the racism that has shaped coauthor Denver Moore's life. While some might like to pretend that the effects of racism in the US are over, Moore's life story makes it clear that racism not only shaped his early years and the opportunities he had—which put him on a path toward homelessness—but that it lingered in the ways that people treated him up to the time of cowriting this memoir. The effects of racism are especially clear in Moore's descriptions of sharecropping and its resemblance to slavery, as well as the time three white boys threatened him as he helped a white woman change a tire. They are also clear in Ron Hall's account of how he viewed the homeless black population around his art gallery.

The Dehumanization of People Experiencing Homelessness

Moore's and Hall's stories speak to the way in which people experiencing homelessness are dehumanized. Hall writes of going to the Fort Worth airport to catch a private plane and feeling thankful that the city has been working to get rid of the homeless people who used to panhandle in the area; it is clear that he is either unaware of the consequences of this forcible removal on the homeless population or that he does not care. He is willing to let a minor inconvenience to him (being forced to see people in poverty and to grapple with whether or not to share his wealth) take priority over far more important aspects of the lives of people grappling with homelessness in the area—for example, where they will be able to sleep and spend their days, if they will be able to get the money they need to subsist, and how many of them will be jailed as the city "cleans up" the area. It is clear that his response is tied partly to racism, partly to the way in which Hall's wealth causes him to lose sympathy for those less fortunate than himself, and partly to the way in which society views homeless people.

The Lifelong Effects of Unequal Opportunities

It is clear in Same Kind of Different as Me that Hall's and Moore's life paths were shaped by the radically different opportunities they had. It would have taken something extraordinary for Moore to escape the confines he was born into and not become homeless. Once homeless, it would again have taken something extraordinary for him to not be arrested and imprisoned. While Hall was able to receive an education while growing up and to eventually become wealthy, Moore was working much harder and receiving far less to show for it. The fact that Hall began his career as an art dealer by stealing money from his wife makes the authors' unequal opportunities, and those opportunities' consequences, all the more clear. These differences in race and class shaped Hall's and Moore's life paths far more than any other factor, including whether or not they were willing to work hard.

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