When it Hits Home

Everyone should be familiar with the ALS ice bucket challenge, even though they may not have partaken in the internet sensation. So far the effort has helped raise millions of dollars for the cause of curing the disease, an impressive feat to accomplish within only a few months. However, author of Is the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge about structural inequality? Matt Thompson argues that this occurrence as strange due to the social inequality seen across the world.

It is unarguable that the ice bucket challenge has been a boon to ALS patients and our nation as a whole by raising not only money but awareness of the disease. Even so, Thompson states that “the issue at the heart of the Ice Bucket Challenge is the way it prioritizes the needs of a relatively exclusive community in a way that has been met with extraordinary public support”. He then goes on to talk about the primary victims of ALS; white males. I personally had never looked at the ice bucket challenge in this way.

When I watched the countless videos of celebrities and YouTubers pouring freezing water over their heads I felt a sense of pride in what they were doing and got a few laughs from the humor of the act. Thompson’s insight makes complete sense to me as he mentions how people worldwide are doing variations on the challenge; “Orlando Jones pouring a bucket of brass shell casings on his head to protest violence against Black youth in America” or “persons in Gaza pouring rubble on their head to draw attention to ongoing violence in Palestine”. In my opinion it is very shocking to see that we only take action like the ALS ice bucket challenge when a disease hits home. It displays social inequality at its finest as well as the fact that we need to act just as fast to combat other conditions across the world.