Altruism As Vice: How Grief Shaming Hurts Us All ~ Maya Devi Georg
There is a current trend in humanity where people criticize and attack others for being or doing good. It is a natural outgrowth of a growing cultural shift where selfishness is deemed a virtue and altruism a vice.
Attacking people for being empathetic and compassionate seems rampant. I’ve seen some people criticize their spouses for keeping a clean home or being too invested in their relationship – things that are worthy of praise, not critique.
On a larger societal level we have people criticizing one another for donating or caring about causes they deem ‘unworthy’. (Ok, supporting Nazi’s is *definitely* unworthy, but this isn’t about that!)
When people of color stated “Black Lives Matter!” some responded with “All Lives Matter!” – but not enough to enact gun laws to protect school children. When refugees received aid some people claimed outrage over a lack of services to veterans – but not enough to fund those services or end the wars that create more veterans.
When a church burned down people raised money to rebuild it, and some people said “what about the bees!” – but didn’t actually plant flowers or raise money to save bees. They said “what about mosques!” – but couldn’t name a single mosque that was recently destroyed. They said “what about starving children in Africa” – but couldn’t name a single country in Africa where children might be starving.
I understand how seeing billions being raised for a cause you may not be personally invested in may raise your eyebrows, but if we supported one another’s causes, if we lauded generosity maybe, just maybe, we would see more generosity.
Donating to one cause is not equal to denying another. Championing one man’s suffering is not equal with reveling in another’s suffering. Caring about one thing does not mean you support cruelty in all others.
We need to stop with the ‘whataboutism’ – it isn’t helping. If you want to raise awareness about a cause you are passionate about do so by consistently talking and sharing about it. Raise money for that cause and encourage those you know to donate as well.
Bringing up all the worthy causes that exist only when the media (social and otherwise) is focused on a specific problem only discourages people from caring about anything at all.
Applaud all efforts, those that bring us together, that conserve our environment, that protect all species, and promote happiness. Only by doing so can we create a more compassionate world and affect meaningful and lasting positive change.