THE BLOG
05/06/2014 09:38 am ET Updated Jul 06, 2014

The Phenomenon of Caring But Not Giving

Issues plague the world. Lack of food, water, shelter, safety and knowledge are commonplace in many different countries and regions. Fortunately, there are many places in the world that are not affected by some of these issues. Take a middle-class teenager from NYC, they don't need to worry about their food, water, shelter or knowledge cause they are supplied from parents or the city. They, without a doubt, have it significantly easier than a child in a developing African country, who would need to walk a mile to just get clean water. It is common belief that those who have more should help those who don't, which is true a fair amount of the time. There is also a silly phenomenon that I've noticed that is funny because it loops onto itself.

This phenomenon is how people do care about world issues, and yet do nothing to help. There is a hauntingly accurate video that exhibits this occurrence that is brutal to make its point. In the video, there is a man standing on a sidewalk somewhere in Europe. On his body he has a sign that has white boldface words on a black background that says "F*** THE POOR." He walks around saying what his board says asking people if they want flyers just saying what he and his board were already saying. People came up to him telling him that he is a disgusting person and that he should be more sensitive to those who hit rock bottom because it isn't their choice.

After about a minute of this man getting yelled at and threatened by strangers on the street, it cuts to a new shot of the same man but with a different sign. This time the sign says "HELP THE POOR" with the same white on black font. What's so powerful is that he could've been invisible and it would have had the same effect, which was that no one acknowledged his existence. The last piece of the video was just text on the screen that said, "We know you care, so please care enough to give."

This video really stuck with me because of how horrifically correct this was. People were willing to defend those who he was attacking because they do care, and they do want to help; but when it came to actually being able to help, no one would do it. Just by thinking about it if he was on the street with the offensive sign for an hour and he got 20 people to yell at him. Those are 20 people who are willing to stop going wherever they were heading and stop whatever they were going to do to reprimand this man for attacking those who necessarily can't defend themselves.

This idea of caring enough to defend, but not actually give exists everywhere. Think about all those Facebook posts that say "CHILDREN IN ______ NEED YOUR HELP!" and instead of giving money or other forms of assistance, people "like" it to show support. Or from a religious standpoint they'll pray for the children so that their God will help them, when that is OK as long as physical support is given as well.

I believe that people truly do care about these issues, but just can't bring themselves to take that next step of being part of a movement to help. People clearly care from all the hate and pure anger that was directed at the man in the video, and it wouldn't take much to just help the few who truly need it. If everyone who spoke out against the man in the video donated just $5 each, that would already be $90 worth of donations, and that's only counting the amount of people that the video shows. If people could be encouraged to just take that small extra step, and get others to as well, many problems that our world faces could be solved significantly faster and far more effectively.

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