Structural Inequality in Charity?

If you’ve been on Facebook this summer, you have most likely seen a video of someone you know pouring ice cold water all over them. This was a very successful fundraiser that raised millions of dollars for ALS. Many people would agree that this was a wonderful success.

It is understood that ALS is a tragic disease and it is very fortunate that the campaign saw great success, but an interesting point is brought up by anthropologist Matt Thompson. “Is it no accident that charitable giving towards research on a rare disease that disproportionately affects the White population would become an Internet sensation?” This introduces the idea that there is structural inequality even in something as selfless as giving back.

As Thompson says, “It is a privilege and not an accident.” The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge going viral and a similar “Rice Bucket Challenge” not going viral is a prime example of the privilege we live. They are both tragic instances that warrant similar amounts of publicity (especially seeing how the “Rice Bucket Challenge” is a play off of the Ice Bucket Challenge), yet I have not seen any viral social media promoting campaigns like the Rice Bucket Challenge.

“Is the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge about structural inequality?” Matt Thompson
“Introducing India’s Rice Bucket Challenge” Zachary Davies Boran