White Man’s Burden, Again

I first blogged about this in 2004.

This happens to me every year, and every year I get angry.

Every year some self-righteous white man, feeling empowered with his white man’s burden, asks me to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for a homeless person.

Today I was asked “Don’t you want to put a smile on a homeless child?” My response, “Do you really want to engage in that question with me?” He said “No”.  Smart man. But I informed him it was too late because he had already started talking.

You see there are soooo many issues with it. The homeless shelters prefer the cans of peanut butter, jelly and bread, more than they prefer receiving a soggy sandwich.  The shelters in fact, have requested that sandwiches not be donated .   Making soggy sandwiches does not recognize nor bring awareness to any real issue surrounding homelessness, or hunger.   Rather, it counter serves  in that it gets privileged students to believe that they have now done a good deed and addressed the issue when at best they’ve wasted resources and instilled a false sense of positive contribution.

It was infuriating to see the students buying coffees from inside the Wexner Center in order to stay warm while standing in the street making soggy sandwiches to put into Ziploc bags.   Take that coffee money, take your time, take those Ziploc bags and plastic gloves, and put it elsewhere where it can be less destructive.  What would be even cooler and better yet is if you did something that addressed the real issues of hunger in this country.

2 thoughts on “White Man’s Burden, Again

  1. I left a sponsoring student organization over their wholehearted support of the PBJ-making farce. Oh, and that year they used a non-peanut soy-substitute peanut butter that I found inedible even when fresh, so there was truly at best zero value to our output.

    I think I worked a 3 or 4 hour shift at a table, which even in the wages I made at the time would have been worth $45, well in excess of the sandwich-value produced by our 4-member team and random volunteers… if the sandwiches were edible.

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