Posts tagged aid.
Further, though, the TOMS campaign — like the million shirts — misses the fundamental point that not having a pair of shoes (or a shirt, christmas toy, etc.) is not a problem about not having shoes. It’s a problem of poverty. Shoelessness, such as it is, is a symptom of a much bigger and more complex problem. And while donating a pair of shoes helps shoelessness, it does not help poverty.
Things like jobs help poverty. Jobs making things like shoes, for example. But TOMS doesn’t make its shoes in Africa, it makes them in China where it’s presumably cheaper to make two pairs of shoes and give one away than it is to get people in a needier community to make one pair of shoes.
The result of this setup, as Zizek explains most succinctly, is that on a big-picture level, TOMS (and other buy-my-product-and-donate companies) are busy building the exploitative global structure that produces economic inequality, while on the other hand pretending that supporting them actually does something to fix it.
It doesn’t. It just gives people shoes.
The stigma attached to receiving food stamps in the ultra-conservative south is awful. People think the only people who get food stamps are lazy welfare queens, but that’s simply not true. I have a bachelor’s degree and a law degree, and yet I need food stamps to survive. I’m working a part-time job because I can’t find a good legal job in this economy and cannot afford to relocate right now. The University of Mississippi recently started a Food Bank for students who are going hungry but are ineligible for food stamps. These are college students working hard to better themselves. I am grateful for the food stamps I receive each month — were it not for them, I wouldn’t have enough money for myself or my daughter to eat after paying the rest of the bills. But it is not easy to stretch my food stamps from month to month and meet all the requirements for continued eligibility. No one stays on food stamps because they like it. They stay on food stamps because they need them to survive. End of story.
About TOMS being racist
toriathegadjeslayer posted a good article about this. The thing is TOMS is not a charity organization. It is a for profit organization. I repeat a FOR PROFIT ORGANIZATION. For every pair you buy they donate one to a kid in “need” in Africa. There are several problems with this:
- TOMS run for about $50-$60. You are paying the price of both pairs of shoes. They charge you twice as much and make twice the money under the pretense of being a charity.
- They are perpetuating the myth that children in Africa can be saved by the white guilt/white savior complex
- How the fuck is having a free pair of shoes supposed to improve these children lives? Answer: it’s not. Being given free shoes does not change that fact that these kids are poor. They don’t need motherfucking shoes they need clean water, food, quality education, job opportunities, leadership training, mentors, books, internet access, laptops, etc.
- They are perpetuating the myth that all Africans are helpless, poor, and desperate. Like everyone lives in small wooden dwellings and has to catch rainwater in buckets to be able to shower. This is not true. The majority of Africans live in large cities that look just like Chicago or New York. They have running water and electricity and shoes and they even have fancy western luxuries like Facebook. I have numerous friends from Zimbabwe, Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya who have explained that where they are from they are considered upper middle class, wealthy even. But by Western standards they are considered poor.
- In short it is rude, racist, and naive to assume that Africans
A. Are poor and can’t afford “Western” luxuries
B. Want western luxuries and western lifestyles. Some people are perfectly content to live their traditional nomadic lifestyles and catch rainwater and not wear shoes.
C. Can be saved from the poverty caused by colonialism, capitalism and institutionalized racism by receiving a pair of overpriced shoes.
This forgot the most important part: TOMS ARE MADE IN ETHIOPA UNDER “LOCAL LABOR STANDARDS” FOR SOMEWHERE AROUND 50 CENTS A PAIR, WHICH MEANS THERE’S A PRETTY DAMN GOOD CHANCE THAT THE GROSSLY OVERPRICED (FAIRLY HIDEOUS) SHOES YOU’RE WEARING WERE PROBABLY MADE BY THE SAME CHILDREN YOU THINK YOU’RE HELPING.
nappyedges: WHAT WHAT WHAT?!!!! I didn’t know that. I really shouldn’t be surprised. A quick google search shows that TOMS are made in China, Eithiopia, and Argentina. (You have to click product and sizing questions and then where are TOMS made) Helping children with child labor. The ultimate fail.
this is how i feel about the KONY 2012 videos…
The most relevant joke of the evening.
“In college, I once went on a hunger strike to protest Apartheid…”
“Oh! You’re the one who solved that? Thank you sooooo much!”
Please substitue the word “children” for “99 percent of the idiots using the #peace tag on tumblr.”
I always get too angry to articulate why images of malnourished African children bothers me. Why it is racist. Why it’s wrong.
This article above helps.
The way you think about Africa is wrong.
The way you think about the entire world beyond you is probably wrong.
But let’s start with Africa. Because chances are you paid the 30 dollars for that stupid fucking Invisible Children starter kit. That at one point in time you participated in a 30 Hour Famine at church. Or you “adopted” a starving child with a few friends after you saw a 5 minute infomercial. Possibly you really like Bono. Or Blood Diamond made you feel really bad. Hotel Rwanda made you cry. Maybe you have one of those shirts with the heart in the middle of the continent. Or that you really want to internationally adopt an “orphan.”
The way you think about Africa is wrong.
Did you know that the UNICEF definition of orphanhood as the loss of one or both parents. Did you know that children are adopted by white parents all the time when their biological parents are still alive. Did you know that foreign adoptions happen all the time because parents see themselves as too impoverished or incapable to raise their children on their own. Did you know that Madonna, the supposed savior of Malawi, abducted her child because international adoptions aren’t even legal in that country.
Did you know that the never-ending stream of donations you send to Africa is destroying local economies and small businesses. Did it ever occur to you that your donations are putting people out of business. Did you consider that you might be creating poverty just for participating in a capitalist system that steals from the poor and then throws them whatever is left over and calls it “charity.” Did it never occur to you, while you were donating money and feeling good about it, why it is that your dollar is needed in the first place.
Did you know that organizations like World Vision (the asshats who brought you the 30 Hour Famine) have set up camps for survivors of war and violence in Uganda, where they regularly impose Christian teachings and values through a process called “sensitization,” in order to get survivors to think more like they do. Did it ever occur to you that there are thousands of languages, cultures, and lives that are being homogenized by “charitable” organizations, and that it’s on your dime.
Did you know that money you donate comes with strings, and sometimes it doesn’t even come at all. Did it occur to you that organizations don’t spend their money unless they want to, and that frequently comes with stipulations. Did you consider that maybe there are places in Africa and elsewhere that really need your money or economic support, but don’t give a fuck about your hegemonic religious values. Did you have any clue that organizations like Invisible Children take in millions of dollars annually, but don’t even spend a third of it in Uganda.
Did you have any idea that countless charities, hospitals, adoption agencies, etc., set up in Africa are illegal, and done without credence to national or local government. Have you heard of volunteer tourism? Did you have any idea that completely untrained and uneducated people are hauling ass to Africa, and building charities that board, educate, and treat young children illegally with absolutely zero recognition of the law of the land in which they are in.
Did it ever occur to you that maybe some people in Africa are doing just fucking fine. They have a house. They own shoes. They have parents and siblings and food and an education and a favorite restaurant and hobbies and ambitions and a happy life. Did you consider that maybe your stupid generalizations and conceptualizations bother and insult them, and make it more difficult to be them.
Did you ever consider that Africa is a living, breathing continent of millions of people who are different. Economically, socially, religiously, lingually, culturally, ethnically different. And that your stupid fucking pictures of malnourished kids, your idolization of Angelina Jolie and Madonna, your ridiculous Invisible Children bracelet, your idiotic KONY 2012 posters are racist. They’re simplifying a place that is not simple. They’re portraying an enormous continent as singular, backward place. Instead of more complicated than you have ever bothered to understand.
You operate autonomously, offering your “help” where it has not been asked for. Blindly donating your dollars and your time without having any idea how it is being spent.
There are people there. Governments. Cities. There are people living their lives in a continent that you do not understand, but you claim to help.
This rant was long-winded but I’ll conclude.
Just please if you take nothing else away from this. Be critical of the shit you are fed. Africa is a continent. And at least take the time to learn about it before you even consider throwing money or used books or Toms sneakers at it.
I am now officially in love with whoever wrote this!
Every 60 seconds in Africa, a minute passes. We can put a stop to this. Please reblog.
I encourage everyone who follows this blog to watch this.
Why Aid to Africa is Not Working: Damibsa Moyo
At the Jepson Leadership Forum economist Dambisa Moyo, named one of Time magazine’s most influential people in the world for 2009, discusses her book Dead Aid: Why Aid is Not Working and How There is a Better Way for Africa. In it she unflinchingly confronts what she sees as one of the greatest myths of our time and argues that foreign aid to Africa be phased out and replaced with innovative ways to finance development and encourage fair trade.
Nov. 16, 2009
Welp, just watched this twice… yea, she’s fucking good.
So now that it has surfaced that the Kony 12 video was funded by anti-gay companies, suddenly all of these white queer people decide to be against the campaign.
Yet when POC (queer and straight) said that the campaign was racist and colonial, they didn’t care.
one day these fools will understand that we really really really do know what we’re talking about, til then…