Listen, I know ALS is a serious disease and that the ice bucket challenge has raised crazy amounts of cash for a good cause, but it aggravates me that a bunch of my (white) friends are falling all over themselves to do this challenge and/or blindly donate to this cause, but haven’t said a damn word about what’s happening in Ferguson, or anything remotely political or racial. The ice bucket challenge is very safe: you appear to be fun and philanthropic without really educating yourself. Let’s be honest, who actually took the time out to research the disease and the ALS Association before, during, or after completing the challenge?
It’s also an issue our “colorblind” friends can get behind. No one wants to rock the boat on social media talking race politics, but everyone can participate in this challenge because ALS doesn’t discriminate, unlike our government and criminal justice system.
We live in a country where some citizens don’t even have access to clean drinking water, while others are pouring ice water on themselves for the sake of “charity.” You don’t even need to drag out the tired “there are kids in Africa who…!” line for this one, it’s happening right here.
We live in a country where people—citizens— are getting terrorized by the police, and children are going days without going to schools which might be their only safe haven and place to get a meal, while others are pouring ice water on themselves for the sake of “charity.”
We live in a country where a black person is killed every 28 hours—every. twenty. eight. hours.— by a police officer or vigilante, while others are pouring ice water on themselves for the sake of “charity.”
If this comes across as damning, that’s because it is. If you did the challenge and donated, great. You helped a great cause. But don’t just throw money at an issue and walk away. Study it, learn something, get involved. And get involved and speak out against something less fun and more polarizing too.
Jenika: What does it say about me that I was following the Ferguson thing closely even though I was in Amsterdam and London for two weeks, but only found out today what the ice bucket challenge is?