I love giving to worthy causes. Not that I have a chunk of money somewhere, but I feel that giving to those who are doing the Lord’s work is the least I can do. So as I can afford to, I give my tiny part which God multiplies.
I also love watching Feed the Children and other similar shows. I’m very interested to see what work they are doing. Operation Smile is one of my favorites because of its practicality. I love that they give free cleft palate operations to the children of impoverished families all over the world. It’s amazing to me when the parents express their gratitute once they see the results of this simple operation, which changes the lives of their children who were shunned by society. This is the Lord’s work. When the hugely grateful mom is overcome with emotion and can only express her gratefulness with a hug, that hug speaks volumes!
One thing I notice, though, is when I give to one or two organizations, other organizations end up finding me. Charities that I have never contacted end up contacting me. They send me unsolicited mail. They send me unsolicited emails. In the past, I would try to sort through each organization, and have become emotionally drained by it. Now, I just toss out this unsolicited mail. There is something about these particular charities that turn me off anyway. I don’t like their manipulative approach. They always send photos of poor children of color, which I don’t like for my own reasons. I also don’t like that they tell me I can receive regular update of these pictures of “my sponsored child”. I dont like that they give the children strange western names that don’t seem to fit their faces. These things make me suspicious. I guess I have a disbelieving spirit.
They tell me that these children have no one in the whole wide world that cares about them. Do you mean to tell me that these children have absolutely NO family? Not even extended family to speak of? Not even friends of family who might minutely care? I don’t really believe this either. This makes me suspicious of their motives. Call me a cynic if you will. Then when the TV programs show the children with sad and dejected faces, unable to respond as a child would, I conclude that their motive is to manipulate. Whenever they do show a parent in these clips, that parent is always voiceless. I understand that the person is sick and near death, but I would like to know what they feel about their situation. You’ve gone all the way to their house to film them, so allow them to speak their own truth. I just want to hear their words. Use subtitles. That they don’t do this makes me feel that the person’s voice is not important.
I understand that the children may truly be absolute orphans. It’s possible to me, but not probable. I just have a hard time with it. It seems that even friends of the family might step up, because it’s just a normal human reaction to help in extreme times of need. I mean, even a racist MIGHT help a black man if they were in the midst of a hurricane. I’m just saying. Friends do take in the children of their friends if it’s necessary. This is what human beings are known to do. But these particular charity shows would have me believe that poor people of color are absolutely heartless.
What I do believe is that these shows are really for the purpose of manipulating white guilt. These shows are not really created for my poc eyes. If I or other poc watch and feel compelled to donate money to these organizations, well that’s just a plus for the organization. But their real target is the guilt of guilt-stricken white people, especially women.
IMHO this premise of there being absolute orphans, and having absolutely no friends whatsoever is easy for certain white folks to believe. I wonder if the white people who respond to these “charities” even think about how strange it seems that the orphan has absolutely no one who cares? I’m thinking that once their guilt has been pricked, they aren’t thinking about much but the privilege/pain of their guilt. And the manipulators know this very well.
So this is how I see the manipulation of the white guilt:
Look at all these poor black and brown children without not one person in the entire whole wide world to love them.
(Black and brown people inately don’t know how care for or love their children)
They need YOU, White man, White woman! You have a better capacity to love them! (Plus you know you’re overpriviledged, so share, with your selfish greedy white self–we’ll facilitate it for you)
Please don’t turn your back on these children in their hour of need!
(We aint asking you to care about their families, let them starve)
These children deserve a better life than what their circumstances would ever bring them! Only you can help them!
(This will make you their saviors, which is the position that makes you most comfortable. We understand that you desire to see yourselves as the “King/Queen of the universe!)
For every donation you send, we’ll bless you with a gift! The more you send, the bigger the gift!
(If you give, we’ll break you off. We got your back!)
OK. That was really ugly and callous, but the way these folks manipulate IS ugly. Thank God there are white folks who actually receive the truth and learn to help from a position other than the poverty of guilt.