Wednesday, May 07, 2008

our ethnocentrism

Okay I have to ask- is it just me is anyone else bothered by our American ethnocentrism- Sometimes I get so irate at American media outlets for their lack of balanced global coverage- they spend hours and hours on the most trivial things and banter about minutiae when all over the world devastating things occur and get maybe a 20 second mention if any at all? I have been so sad the last few days thinking about the devastation in Myanmar. Seriously the estimates projecting up to 100,000 people dead, 1 million people displaced. That is more than 30x the loss of life in September 11th attacks more than 50x that of Hurricane Katrina. How can that not make you sad, how can that not profoundly impact you. As if it weren't bad enough on top of the devastation to be held down by your countries isolationist government? By next week most people here (if they even heard about it) will have forgetten it has even happened, meanwhile a million people try to build their lives again. Events like this happen all the time yet when they aren't in our own backyard, we easily brush past them or forget them.

I wish we were more globally minded. I wish our cultured cared more about countries in turmoil and less about what people were wearing and who the latest Hollywood couple is. We get so caught up in our own little worlds we forget to see the whole picture. I wish we could talk about real issues and spend our wealth helping people who need it through things like micro credit, education, empowering politcal change, and finding sustainable solutions to global issues. It makes me ill to see our culture so egocentric, so self obsessed, so pleasure seeking, so wasteful, so luxurious. We live in the days of "it's your money who am I to tell you what to do with it". This attitude sickens me as though we live in so godless void with no morality where our choices don't matter. They do matter, we have a moral obligation to help. It's easier to sleep at night with our full stomachs and comfortable beds waking up to good jobs, education, health care, opportunity if we just pretend the ugliness isn't out there.

Sometimes I can't keep my mouth shut- I am not above asking probing questions-- How often to really help those who are less fortunate- those who weren't born to such affluence and opportunity. When was the last time we sacrificed enough of ourselves our our means to even really feel it? If our bond runs no deeper than as one mother to another trying to creating a good life for her children- Let us reach out more- in whatever ways we can. Lets make a few more sacrifices, lets give up more of the unimportant things for things that can literally save or change lives forever! I won't tell you what causes to support, they are many good ones- but find one, and do your part. Because when it is all said and done we will wish we had done it more!

1. my home
2. plenty of food
3. the opportunity to do something for others

11 comments:

My Full Hands said...

Wow. It is true we spend so much time on the trivial and not enough time, at the very least, realising how very blessed we are, and then taking that one step further and helping those who have so much less . . .

Amber said...

Well put, my dear. I was thinking this same thing just the other day because it frustrates me I don't really know what's REALLY going on around the world besides the surface reports we have.

And yes, we truly are blessed and my heart goes out to all those people in the cyclone....

Rachelle said...

I so agree with you. I have been looking for news on this the past few days and it's only a brief mention. Working where I do, we often hold fund raisers or other activities for charity. And the kids always want to know "What's in it for me?" Why should we offer you kids a prize to help others? Shouldn't you just want to care? We also watch a news program daily as a school and the kids ignore it. If it't not about technology or something that relates to their fun lives, they don't care. The news program showed stories of the hunger problems world wide and the kids ignore it and don't get it. It is very important to me that I teach my kids to give, to see the bad things around them and help in some way. They are so blessed and they need to learn to bless somebody else's life. My heart breaks because we have so many people suffering world wide - hunger, Myanmar, and so many other things. A small contribution can mean big things.

smart mama said...

hey it's moms and (teachers) like you that don't let it pass quietly that try to create change- If we all do a bit more - wow what a difference-

Chel said...

I agree... especially with the part when you mentioned knowing about what is going on globally and not about the "local" celebrities.

However, I do think we need to focus on the US when it comes to taking care of our own country first. But that is not saying only knowing about our own problems. Globally minded is good- taking care of our own country first should be a priority though. We have starving people, orphans, gangs, violence, etc.

Hmmmm... did that make any sense? :)

Christy said...

A wonderful insight into our American attitude, it drive me nuts too. We need to strive above this average attitude of giving a little, but not enough to put us ourselves out in anyway. What does it mean to live in the world but not be of the world? How do we keep from being sucked into the vortex of complacency to others needs? It is all too easy for people to distract themselves from real issues. We should start here in our own communities. Isn't that always best, build from the inside out?
Great thoughts Les!

aubrey said...

i have been so sad hearing about myanmar and how many people are missing, dead or injured or who will die from starvation if they don't get food or water soon. but, i heard this morning on npr though, that america is gathering supplies right now, waiting for the go ahead from the government officials in myanmar.

i have also been agonizing over the things that are happening in baghdad and iraq. i just finished reading the second book by the author of the kite runner, a thousand splendid suns and it opened my eyes wide to the pain and suffering of what people are going through in this iraq war. it is horrible and heartwrenching. i fully agree with all that you wrote on this post.

aubrey said...

oh and i just got on lds.org to listen to conference and they have a link up now if you want to donate to the myanmar relief efforts. yay!

smart mama said...

oh good- traveling in aiving abraod has made me so aware of people's struggles- thanks for the tip- I am so big on the church's humanitarian fund and pef!!

The Orton's said...

WOW! Well said. Makes me so sad to hear about such devestation. I wish there were more people with money that would use it for good vs. greed. I see too much of that right here in my own home town.

Tamlynn said...

I agree with you wholeheartedly. Some days I'd like to pack up my family and go build a well or a school somewhere. When my dd gets mad at me and yells, "You only gave me four choices!" I know that something needs to change and I need to be the one to change it.