First of all, I want to thank everyone who has donated so far because believe me I KNOW what an utter bombardment we are all faced with fundraising-wise nowadays. I try to do my part, and have running donations to three different charities every month, but I have to be realistic too and say ‘no’ (or, more likely, not say anything, as is my way) to a lot of the requests I get. It really means a lot that you chose to donate to Live Below the Line.
Which reminds me…so, privilege, eh? It’s a word you might have seen floating around the internet a lot, and one I don’t claim to understand very well. But I’m a white, middle lass, (over-)educated, white female, living in a thriving city in a developed country. I don’t want other people to use that information to define me, but it does, in part, give a hazy idea of who I am. I cannot change this. Humans love categorization.
So when I read this comment on Jack Monroe’s blog, I didn’t take offence.
For 5 days, that’s fine I suppose – trying eating like that for 6 months, a year. I feel this is an intellectual exercise for self important middle class people.
Because, yes, that’s totally fair. But if it gives some of us middle-class people even a hint of what poverty feels like, and raises money for organizations that trying to change things, then it is also a good thing. If it encourages people to educate themselves more about the realities of poverty in this country, and in others, then that is an even better thing. I’d argue that it is a bit more thoughtful as a fundraiser than a run for charity. (‘What’s this for again? Cancer? Sick kids? Trees?’)
Before you do, I’ll say it: ‘Generalise much?’ Yes, this brush I’m using IS very wide.
I choose things like Ride for Rideau (and, oh god, how am I going to fundraise for THAT too?) because it’s for cancer research at the hospital where my mother was treated. That is an important cause for me. Other people do similar. But an awful lot of folk do charity runs where the awareness- and fundraising parts of the equation are minimal. And that’s fine. As long as you aren’t spending your race fee on a pancake race for ‘People against letting other people live’ or a unicycle relay for ‘Give every cow a laptop!’ under the guise of doing charitable works, we’re probably good.
Holy shit, I sound like such an obnoxious bastard. I AM THE ALL-KNOWING CHARITY ASSHOLE, KNEEL AT MY FEET.
And I’m not sure we should send a bunch privileged, self-important jerks like myself into a reserve in Labrador or a Syrian refugee camp on a poverty safari. Actually, I’m absolutely sure this is a terrible idea.
That having been said, I am looking for a volunteer gig locally that deals with food security and/or poverty and figure out some way to help up in a more practical way, instead of worrying about whether I can buy ginger a teaspoon at a time.
Can you make a donation to Live Below the Line? If you can, excellent. Click here, please and thank you. There is also still time to sign up and participate yourself.