Helping Haiti… it’s the cool thing to do, for now…
I’m not going to give any background about the situation in Haiti, because by now, everyone in America knows what’s happened in the island nation. And I’m glad that’s the case, because the more people that know, the more people can help.
My only question is, how long will they continue to help?
As Americans, we have terrible attention spans. We’re more interested in “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” than keeping up with actual current events in the world around us. We’re more interested in “American Idol” than American politics. We’re even more excited about who’s going to win the World Series than how we can win the fight against world hunger. It’s absolutely pitiful.
And that’s why I’m concerned about the Haiti relief effort.
When news of the earthquake first broke, everybody was updating their Facebooks and Twitters expressing sympathy for those affected by the quake. Everybody was texting Yele Haiti and/or the American Red Cross, and donating $5 or $10 from their cellphones. The outpouring of help was absolutely beautiful.
That was two weeks ago.
Now, donations to the American Red Cross are already down by more than 50%. As of Friday, major charities had raised approximately $380 million for Haiti, but the initial relief efforts alone are expected to cost around $3 billion, according to Timothy Ogden, editor-in-chief of Philanthropy Action. And I doubt there will be a resurgence in donations anytime soon.
The last time I can remember Americans coming together and donating to such a cause was with Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Thinking back to when Katrina struck, there are a couple of notable differences between that situation and this one. For one, Katrina had the most impact in New Orleans, which was a part of our own nation; Haiti, however, seems very distant to a large portion of the American populace. Also, in 2005, Americans felt much wealthier; nowadays, with the shaky economy at the forefront of our minds, we’re not as likely to spend and donate as much. Both of these could definitely have a negative influence on the donation process.
My main concern, though, is still that whole “attention span” issue. As much as I hate to say it, helping Haiti seems to have already become a slowly fading fad in the recent days. It’s been the “cool thing” to do, but I’m not sure how much longer that will last. Even last night on Twitter, both the Apple iPad and the season premiere of MTV’s “America’s Best Dance Crew” were more common trending topics than Haiti.
It’s just like artist Andy Warhol said: “In the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes.” Obviously, he didn’t mean that every person would enjoy fame for exactly 15 minutes. What he meant, though, was that fame will pass quickly from celebrity to celebrity, or from event to event, for as long as people were willing to pay attention. And generation after generation, that amount of attention will continue to get shorter and shorter.
Right now, Americans are giving Haiti its 15 minutes of “fame”… I just hope the clock doesn’t run out on Haiti anytime soon.
|Print article||This entry was posted by David on January 29, 2010 at 2:16 pm, and is filed under Uncategorized. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback from your own site.|
No comments yet.
about 1 year ago - No comments
In today’s world, empathy is a passing thing. Just look at the disaster in Haiti. Hurricane Katrina. Virginia Tech. The Japanese earthquake and tsunami. Our attention spans for these kinds of events are getting shorter and shorter. That should come as no surprise, though, seeing as how we live in a world where things continue…
about 3 years ago - 3 comments
By now, everyone knows about the catastrophic 7.0 earthquake in Haiti that has left the island nation in ruins. As I’m writing this post, the death toll is feared to be over 100,000. There has been an outpouring of sympathy and support worldwide, even by people that have no personal connection to the nation. Almost…
theGrio's "Ten Stories of the Decade That Have Changed Black America" (with six of my own additions…)
about 3 years ago - 3 comments
I think that’s my longest post title so far. Anyway, it seems to be the cool thing nowadays to put together “Top 10″ lists for the decade. Pretty much every news outlet is doing it. Looking back on it, there was a lot of stuff that went down from 2000 to 2009, especially as it…