Sunday, March 21, 2010

Why are you throwing that away!? There are people starving in Africa you know!

While we all complain about our bad grades, unfair parents, and meaningless school drama, there are human beings that are dealing with bigger and worse problems every day. Water, food, shelter, pretty much everything we take for granted can be a daunting task for someone in a third world country to find every day of their life. However, many of us will turn a cold shoulder on these suffering millions; our selfish motives and uncaring attitudes are certainly not helping the problem.
Unfortunately, there is always one convenient excuse: If no one else is donating their paycheck and if no one else is flying across the globe to help starving children and if no one else does anything about the problem, then why should I? Why should I be the one that must take responsibility for something that is neither my fault nor my problem?
Now, just imagine you are living in a poor country stricken with poverty. You struggle to live each day as you deal with a variety of problems. Unfortunately, one can only imagine what this struggle would feel like, so if possible try your best to imagine their feelings of starvation and desperation. If you were placed in this position, would you expect others to help? Would you feel anger and hate towards those westerners that take their health and well being for granted? Personally, I would not. I would understand that growing up in the United States would turn anyone into a close minded selfish individual. Not to be rude or anything, but our culture puts us in the mindset that we must work hard for what we earn and giving away something that we worked hard for to someone we’ve never know, let alone seen or met, is a sin. So if I was living a poverty stricken country, I would understand why the rich are not doing everything they can or anything at all to help. However, I would still feel frustrated that many spoiled individuals are not stepping up to help out those, to say the least, less fortunate.
Fortunately, there exists philanthropy. Where the majority fails, the minority take responsibility. Through the hard work of many compassionate individuals, a difference has been made. Perhaps this is another excuse: we place responsibility on those who are willing to take responsibility or perhaps the thought of giving away material possessions and money to help others is not worth becoming a responsible patron. Nonetheless, nonprofit organizations have proved to be a source of pseudo responsibility. We have the option to avoid flying over to a poverty stricken nation by simply writing a check thus in return, we earn some false self entitled responsibility.
The last biggest excuse that we use to justify our careless attitude towards poverty is the fact that average person cannot even make a dent in poverty. Sure, you can take an outlier like Mother Teresa, but we all do not share the same kind of compassion and sense of responsibility that she does. Basically, you can’t incite her capacity for sympathy and responsibility into the hearts of everyone else. If it became culturally normal to send large sums of one’s paycheck to poor nations then poverty might begin to vanish. Until then, we will keep our money, because after all nothing’s going to change if I’m the only one sending huge portions of my paycheck.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with Brian about this. Americans are way too selfish, and would not even spend the time thinking about how they would feel if they were living in a third world country. Also, when someone tells me not to waste food because there are starving kids in Africa, it bothers me; it is not like the children in Africa would get this food that I wasted.
    Even if we want to help, sometimes we just can't. Every little bit can help, but sometimes it just isn't enough. Yes, there are good people in this world that devote their life to helping the less fortunate. All in all, Americans are selfish and can try to help a little bit, even if it is just locally.