Misconceptions people have

Many things we take at face value, but looking beneath the surface there is more to it. My example:

People commenting on homeless people having cell phones. Pre- paid cell phones are pretty affordable. Having a cell phone is extremely useful in an era of dwindling pay phones. I see many homeless people using cell phones to schedule appts and stuff, then take the bus to their destination. People seem to assume a hobo w a phone is a moocher, but given how cheap they are I see it differently.

I worked with mentally ill homeless adults for many years, the misconceptions about that population are legion. Did you know they’re all on “welfare” but still panhandle and make more money than you?

Through my social worker SO, i’ve shed a lot of ignorance about social services. Not exactly the gravy train most people think it is…

Most homeless people can get food stamps, and if you’re on food stamps there are a few programs that give you a cell phone. You don’t get a lot of time, usually a couple, three hours a month.

I especially love the old chestnut about women on welfare getting more money for having more kids. I guess it’s satisfying to perpetuate the old stereotypes than to update your thinking (since 7/97 anyway).

My favorite is how they buy lobster and steaks with their food stamps, and drive them home in their Cadillacs, that they bought with their welfare money.

That everyone who lives in a redneck city in a redneck province is a redneck. Some of us hate country music, read for enjoyment, and still have all our own teeth.

Maybe not all, but some have reportedly been better off than one may think. Cite.

A mild one, it has occurred to me that many folks who are not in the Air Force would be surprised at how much emphasis they put on physical fitness and soldiering skills.

Actually, Army folks seem to have the biggest problem with this idea. :smiley:

I have met quite a few folks who assume that Japan is loaded, financially (their country had a higher national debt, per capita, than the United States did, before the recent earthquake hit), and that their technology base is considerably ahead of ours (they might be ahead in some areas, but in many others, they are still years behind the US for various reasons).

Ooh, here’s a good one: If it’s a cartoon or a comic, it must be for kids, no exceptions. The fact that Hentai (Japanese cartoon porn) exists thus leads to the assumption that ALL Japanese cartoons must thus be inappropriate (allowing for rare exceptions such as Pokemon). If the speaker knows not about hentai, they might just slip back into the “All cartoons are for kids” mindset.

I’m sure I could think of other stuff, but let’s not make this into one of my ridiculously long posts.:stuck_out_tongue:

And, for the record, some rednecks have all their teeth and read for enjoyment, although I have yet to meet any who don’t like at least some country music. I did date a redneck girl for a while who was much more into radio hiphop than country, but she would flip over to the pop country station from time to time.

Touche! I was always posted on Army airfields, being part of an Army Air Traffic Controller unit. But because the Army doesn’t have meteorologists, we were always supported by the Air Force in that respect (heck, the poor suckers had to live in our crappy Army barracks and if not on per diem, eat in the crappy Army dining facilities!). However, they did PT on their own (i.e., individually on their own), and I guess that maybe they went to shoot rifles once every year or so.

On a more serious note: the real AF guys were really hard core. I got to work with them when we’d go to Air Force bases or the Air Force section of Army bases. The meteorologists weren’t representative of all of you.

The misconception that people lacking teeth are rednecks. Many non-redneck Americans don’t have dental insurance, or health insurance. (it sounds like you’re maybe talking about Canada, since you said province not state, but just saying)

One American misconception may be that Canada doesn’t have rednecks.

That’s about a panhandler; I was referring to people on welfare and food stamps. And I don’t know about the shaky lady, but I’m pretty sure panhandlers around here don’t make $1,000 a day.

The misconception that all people that listen to country music are rednecks.

On the more mundane side than homelessness and poverty (note, when I say “you”, I am not saying that Dopers have these):

A common one among non-horsepeople is that ponies are baby horses. They are not; foals are baby horses or ponies and have long, spindly legs with little bodies and short necks. Ponies are either proportioned like normal horses or have short, thick legs with stout bodies. Think of it like dog breeds - a Chihuahua is not a baby Great Dane.

Another misconception about animals - they do not, in fact, understand English as a matter of course. They are very good at reading body language, tone of voice, and emotion, and they can learn words, but giving your puppy a 10-minute lecture on chewing the carpet while you were gone does not, in fact, make him understand, feel guilty, and want to apologize to the carpet. It may, however, make him think that you are a nutter who has a thing against chewed-up carpets, and next time he will go hide when you come home to a chewed-up carpet because he doesn’t want to sit through another diatribe in a foreign language.

Further, when your animal or even your little kid is terrified of something, whimpering/crying/shaking/etc., petting/comforting them does not teach them to BE scared. In fact, if you associate a positive emotional state - from being comforted or even rewarded - with the scary thing, they may be less scared next time. It’s OK to expect them to not bite/punch/run off, since those things are not OK under any conditions, but distracting their attention with something positive is not going to hurt and may help. See: desensitization and counter-conditioning.

Finally, there’s the misconception that vets love animals and therefore should help them for free. Um, yes, in fact, many vets do donate their time and money to help animals because they love them, but if they didn’t get paid, they would not be able to do so and also: pay off their student loans from vet school, buy the drugs to treat your animal, buy the equipment to diagnose your animal, pay the staff that helps them take care of your animal, support themselves without having to get another job (which would interfere with the whole helping animals thing), etc. I doubt Dopers think this way, but a number of pet-owners do and complain to the vet’s face that they shouldn’t be charging anything to fix little Muffin.

Our retirement “benefit” is the Wisconsin Retirement System itself, which collects the money, invests it and pays it out.

It Is Not the money that goes into it, which is OUR money.

Think about it. The tech school I work for cannot be giving out “free” retirement money, or “free” anything. That would be illegal, duh.

Sometime somewhere, I performed work & services for this money. If it wasn’t withheld to go to the WRS, it should be in my take-home pay.

The people you hear whining about unions - “I wish my job gave me retirement money, whaaa” - need to know that our jobs don’t either, they just take a part of our pay to be managed by the retirement system.

When Governor (expletive deleted) Walker goes on about making us “pay more of our own retirement money” he is being deliberately misleading to make it sound like we’re getting a freebie. What it amounts to is a simple pay cut.


I’m a Public Defender. I’m sure others on this board can chime in about how many times we’ve heard things like “Wow, you did a great job–you’re as good as a real lawyer!” Or, on the other hand, how people assume we’re all about copping pleas and railroading people. Around here, we go to trial way more than most private counsel, and we’re better at conducting court hearings because we’re in the courtroom every single day. But people would rather spend money they don’t have to hire some schmoe from the phone book straight out of law school who has never done a criminal case before, because of the misconception that “paid attorneys” will do a better job for you. One of my coworkers was working on a case where the state was attempting to charge a juvenile as an adult (and we do these types of cases all the time), but then the family managed to scrape together $5,000 and hire a guy…who kept calling my coworker and asking him for advice on how to handle the case.

This one’s about big meteor strikes, not rednecks.

The movies seen to cater to people who expect a meteor coming at them to move at a few hundred miles an hour, and to be a visibly detailed rock that is burning with what look like petroleum flames (orange and smoky). It wouldn’t be like that at all. The velocity would be orders of magnitude higher. You wouldn’t see it as motion, you’d see it as a flash or maybe a lightning bolt. If a big one struck close enough to you that you could see some of the behavior of the ground, but for some reason you weren’t immediately killed, you wouldn’t experience what looked like a collision or a splash of dirt. After the flash, the ground would come welling up as if from an underground atom bomb.

I imagine many people would not figure out what they were witnessing.

You only see them streak across the sky when they are many miles away and moving primarily across your field of view, not towards you.

My mother had a similar misconception about homeless people and email. In my state, you can do job searches online and get emailed regarding various social services. Her question, how do homeless people get email if they don’t have computers? I explained to her that the local DES offices have computer rooms where people who are registered for unemployment may use the computers in the room to search for jobs. One may also use computers at the public library. And anyone can have an email address, even if they don’t own a computer. Just use a Yahoo or Gmail or similar web-based email client.

Relevant Far Side cartoon: