ALS Ice Bucket Challenge: Good or Bad?


This past summer, more than 114 million dollars were raised thanks to the “ALS Ice Bucket Challenge” social media campaign. The very nature of this campaign, dumping ice water on your head, donating ten dollars, and passing the challenge on to friends, made a show out of donating to charity. It was a trend that simultaneously made its participants feel like they were doing something for the greater good.
But is this the greatest good? ALS is a disease that predominantly affects white males. May this have something to do with the campaigns popularity? As Matt Thompson pointed out in his article, “Is the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge about structural inequality?”, major diseases such as Malaria did not receive such highly publicized attention. Similarly, the major concern for Ebola in the U.S did not truly spark until two white Americans were at risk. It appears there is a connection between race, health, and public attention.
Our society has created a social hierarchy in which the more privileged (predominantly white Americans) have precedence over the less privileged (predominantly black Americans). This inequality has made its way into the health of citizens. By studying the social structure of our country and others, it would be possible to target the groups and diseases that need the most attention. By doing so we can create a global standard for health and allow all people and diseases equal opportunity to gain the aid and attention they require.