A few years ago I talked with a person who wanted to volunteer overseas. As she spoke she gushed about her love for the poor in Africa, and at one point actually said these words, “I just love those chocolate babies!” I am not joking. Those words actually came out of her mouth. She meant it in love and compassion. Her heart was in it, but her words were a bit insane.
Frankly, people like her are not that unusual. When a disaster happens in the western world, someone is sure to quickly place it into context with how many people die of malaria or polio each week. A lot of “tsk tsk” type language that tries to shame people into realizing the massive set of problems that still exist around the world. You know, things like #FirstWorldProblems
Here’s the problem. This technique totally does not work.
People just tune out. It is a bit like ‘liking‘ the Kony video from last year – it feels good, almost like you are signing a petition or something, but it is totally meaningless. Seriously, do you think Kony worried about how many Facebook likes the video got?
Speaking of video, I recently saw this one. It seems to be making the rounds. It’s funny? But it also made me uncomfortable. How are all of the people in the video portrayed? Would you want to be portrayed and shown in this way?
Does it promote conversation and respect for the capacity of others, or just pull on heartstrings? What do you think the intent was?
Do you think that this kind of video makes a difference?