In light of the present trend, the #ALSIceBucketChallenge, there have been quite a number of posts; positive and negative, about this disease. Mind you, I had no idea there was a disease of this sort before the videos started circulating and I’m sure most of you were also unaware. So kudos to person who thought of this idea to raise awareness and money for ALS. However, I’m not going to delve into what Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) aka Lou Gehrig’s Disease is, because that is not the aim of this entry nor do I know a great deal about it.
I was casually scrolling through my Facebook news feed like I do every morning when I wake up and the usual #MikeBrown, #Ferguson, #Upworthy, #ALSIceBucketChallenge posts were up. I’ve gotten so accustomed to seeing these hashtags and posts, that I scroll over most of them. However, I have this friend that whatever she posts, since recently, I make it a point of duty to read. (See post http://www.teabreakfast.com/lets-keep-real-ales-bucket-challenge-embarrassment/) Big mistake! I have had enough and it is now time for me to say something.
We all know the world isn’t balanced or at least I think we do. So anything is expected from anyone. However, when you’re a staunch black activist, feminist, gay advocate, etc, one tends to be so caught up in themselves and the cause that they neglect everyone else; whether intentional or not. I think there’s a fine line between advocating for what you believe in and encroaching the beliefs of others.
The post shared by my friend raised some interesting points but for the areas where it minimized the efforts of the ALS campaign, I was quite disgusted to say the least. I couldn’t be disappointed in the writer for the article because I have no relations with her, not so sure I can say the same for my friend. The article points out that this disease is very rare and in fact shouldn’t be of major concern to anyone especially because “it is a rare old white man’s disease” but yet the writer is trying to bring attention to Ebola and black issues. One could easily say, since Ebola is restricted to certain parts of the African continent and can only be passed on through contact with blood and bodily fluids of infected persons and or primates, then why should the rest of the world care? But oh, how wrong we would be! It is the great Africa with the greatest and most beautiful people on the face of the earth. We have to care because Africans have gone through so much.
What kind of person are you to say that because ALS is a rare disease, we shouldn’t care about it and only focus on black people’s problems? I’ll tell you. A racist! No matter how you want to spin it, you are just as racist as the white man. But what am I talking about? How dare I call a black person racist? Black people can’t be racist because they were the oppressed and still are…right? Things should not reach to a point where, because of your strong views about a topic, you try to downplay another. Whatever is happening in Ferguson can be stopped because it is man-made but someone losing functionality of their voluntary muscles can’t be. Well not that we are currently aware of. Hence the reason for raising money for the research. I mean did you know that because ALS is so rare, it isn’t covered on any insurance scheme in the US? So one is as good as dead when they’re diagnosed with the disease.
It isn’t rocket science to figure out that black people are still being targeted in the United States and what happened to Mike Brown isn’t the first of it’s kind. So why not try a new approach? Instead of the “Us Against Them” mentality, why not be who they don’t expect us to be? Iyanla posted a video about the issue where she said something along the lines of, black people should stop playing into the roles that were and are given to them. Basically, we should be assiduously seeking to not be the rioters and rebels that we have been perceived to be. Or is it just a mere perception?
When it comes to someone’s health the race card should never be drawn. It shouldn’t be an “Us Against Them” thing. Being an advocate or activist doesn’t give you the right to use every opportunity to insert your agenda even when it isn’t warranted. That is selfish and that is not advocacy!
Until next time