Tag Archives | Charity

Los Angeles Considering Proposal to Ban Feeding Homeless People in Public

1107NightoftheLivingHomeless-585x452This holiday season, give thanks that Capitalism is kicking Jesus’ ass.  Scott Keyes writes at ThinkProgress:

There’s a perpetual yuppie belief that society’s true failing isn’t the fact that half a million residents don’t have shelter, but that some do-gooders have the audacity to give homeless people food. The latest epicenter of this thinking is Los Angeles, where the City Council is considering a ban on feeding homeless people in public areas after complaints from nearby homeowners.

Los Angeles has the second highest homeless population in the country, at 53,800 individuals, according to the 2013 Annual Homeless Assessment Report. And although the number of homeless people went down nationally over the past year, it increased by 27 percent in Los Angeles.

For a quarter-century, the Greater West Hollywood Food Coalition, a group of community members who strive to meet homeless people “on their own turf, talk to them, and listen,” has served meals to the hungry every evening.

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Dehumanization, Paternalism and Charity: On #FitchTheHomeless

86B24A42AJamie Utt writes at the Good Men Project:

The internet is in agreement: Fuck Abercrombie & Fitch.

The collective outrage has produced some fantastic responses.  My favorite comes from Amy Taylor who proclaims,

“I am proud to say that I may be a not-so-cool kid and the extra pounds I carry may not be a thing of beauty, but I am nothing like you or your brand — and that, Mr. Jeffries, is a beautiful thing.”

But inevitably, as is par for the course on the interwebs, there are going to be some responses that are less than fantastic, that despite good intentions, actually end up furthering oppression rather than combating it.

Enter the #FitchTheHomeless campaign.

I’ve seen a number of people posting this on Facebook and Twitter with captions like, “Awesome!” and “Perfect.” and “Brilliant!!”

But when a friend posted it to my timeline asking for my thoughts, I immediately was left with a pretty terrible taste in my mouth.

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Canadian Researchers Demolish The Myth Of Mother Teresa’s Goodness

First exposed as a fraud by Christopher Hitchens, renowned twentieth-century saint Mother Teresa now appears to have been more of a monster. Via EurekAlert!:

The myth of altruism and generosity surrounding Mother Teresa is dispelled in a paper by Serge Larivée and Genevieve Chenard of University of Montreal’s Department of Psychoeducation and Carole Sénéchal of the University of Ottawa. The three researchers collected and analyzed 502 documents on the life and work of Mother Teresa.

At the time of her death, Mother Teresa had opened 517 missions welcoming the poor and sick in more than 100 countries. Two-thirds of the people coming to these missions hoped to a find a doctor to treat them, while the other third lay dying without receiving appropriate care.  [There was] a significant lack of hygiene, even unfit conditions, as well as a shortage of actual care, inadequate food, and no painkillers. The problem is not a lack of money—the Foundation created by Mother Teresa has raised hundreds of millions of dollars—but rather a particular conception of suffering and death: “There is something beautiful in seeing the poor accept their lot, to suffer it like Christ’s Passion.

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‘Africans for Norway’ Sends Up Well-Meaning But Clueless Western Charities

Africans are reaching out to poor, cold Norwegians through Radi-Aid, a charity effort that seeks to place radiators in the homes of Norway's frigid families. Okay, well maybe not. It's actually a send-up of similarly myopic Western charities that treat Africa as some kind of homogeneous mono-culture: Via the Daily Dot:
The song and video were actually made by a Norwegian group, The Norwegian Students' and Academics' International Assistance Fund, with African help: The music was written by Wathiq Hoosain, the lyrics by Bretton Woods and the video was produced by Ikind Productions. The point they are trying to make is how tunnel-vision Western images of Africa are. “Imagine if every person in Africa saw the ‘Africa for Norway’ video and this was the only information they ever got about Norway. What would they think about Norway?”
Read more about the video and its creators at the Daily Dot.
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Highly Religious People Are Less Motivated by Compassion Than Are Non-Believers

Praying HandsVia ScienceDaily:

“Love thy neighbor” is preached from many a pulpit. But new research from the University of California, Berkeley, suggests that the highly religious are less motivated by compassion when helping a stranger than are atheists, agnostics and less religious people.In three experiments, social scientists found that compassion consistently drove less religious people to be more generous. For highly religious people, however, compassion was largely unrelated to how generous they were, according to the findings which are published in the most recent online issue of the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.

The results challenge a widespread assumption that acts of generosity and charity are largely driven by feelings of empathy and compassion, researchers said. In the study, the link between compassion and generosity was found to be stronger for those who identified as being non-religious or less religious.

“Overall, we find that for less religious people, the strength of their emotional connection to another person is critical to whether they will help that person or not,” said UC Berkeley social psychologist Robb Willer, a co-author of the study.

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The Real Meaning Of Kony 2012

kony1Via Warscapes, Dinaw Mengestu explains that the viral video’s appeal is that “the real star of Kony 2012 isn’t Joseph Kony, it’s us”:

Kony 2012 is the most successful example of the recent “activist” movement to have taken hold of celebrities and college students across America. This movement believes devoutly in fame and information, and in our unequivocal power to affect change as citizens of a privileged world. Our privilege is the both the source of power and the origin of our burden – a burden which, in fact, on closer scrutiny, isn’t really a burden at all, but an occasion to celebrate our power … helping to end the war in Darfur is as simple as adding a toolbar to your browser.

In the world of Kony 2012, Joseph Kony has evaded arrest for one dominant reason: Those of us living in the western world haven’t known about him, and because we haven’t known about him, no one has been able to stop him.

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Only 32 Percent of Kony 2012’s Invisible Children Charity Went to Direct Aid Last Year

Invisible ChildrenVia ABC News:

… Russell said the charity’s programs in Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic and South Sudan included the building of a rehabilitation center, an expanded and early-warning radio network connecting communities and an LRA crisis tracker, which is a mapping platform and data-collection system.

But Visible Children pointed out that although Invisible Children had spent more than $8.6 million last year, “only 32 percent went to direct services with much of the rest going to staff salaries, travel and transport, and film production.”

Russell defended the group’s spending, saying that Invisible Children needed to spend money on advocacy and awareness of young people, especially in the West.

“Let’s be honest. They set the agenda. What they like matters,” he said. “We need to educate and transform and reshape [their] paradigm to saying, ‘This is what really matters. This is what we can really do.’ … So we do spend money on our films and on our advocacy and awareness.

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Ugandans’ Reaction To Kony 2012

Nearly 70 million people have watched Kony 2012, but almost none of them have been Ugandans, since internet access in their country is spotty. Thus a charity held a public screening so that actual victims of the civil strife could see the video. The reaction? Extremely negative, as the viewing began with eager anticipation and culminated with people hurling rocks at the screen in disgust over the video's self-congratulatory nature, its focus on a white American and his young son, and its perceived use of Ugandans as props in a promotional campaign for Invisible Children:
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