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I just thought it was interesting that when I googled Haiti Earthquake 2010, the main hits were not really about earthquake victims. Of the top 10 hits, 7 of them discussed celebrity involvement in raising funds for the victims, including Brad Pitt, Angleina Jolie, and Jennifer Aniston. Two hits detailed super bowl players of Haitian descent and the emotional hit they have taken. While it is worth acknowledging their loss, I do not think it is more emotional than those actually on the ground, without food, water, etc. My dad is down there now and they are performing amputations with Advil and Tylenol. I think that is pretty telling of what is going on rather than those who are playing in the Superbowl and have Haitian descent. I find this extremely frustrating. Before the earthquake, I would venture to guess that no one even knew that Jonathan Vilma and Pierre Garcon were even Haitian. Haiti is slowly becoming more and more popular among charities even though no one seemed to care about it prior to the earthquake. 

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6 Comments

  1. Unknown User (jglass)

    I completely agree that this focus on the few celebrities who had some sort of involvement with the tragedy is something that needs to be changed.  While I'm sure this disaster has been devastating to all, I believe it is crucial that we focus aid efforts on those whose situations seem hopeless.  It is a shame how easy it is to ignore those who are suffering in the global south until a natural disaster occurs.  Perhaps this is a good opportunity for us to take a step back and focus our attention on the hardships people are faced with every day.  It should not take a devastating disaster for us to pay attention.  

  2. Unknown User (kberry1428)

    I definitely agree. Even though I am an athlete, it is almost embarrassing what we prioritize here in the U.S. Actors and athletes are two of these things. Even though I am sure that on some level they mean well, they tend to take away from what is truly important and turn the attention onto them. The positive side of this though is that sine they are in the media nad pop culture, hopefully they can used their spotlight to bring information to our attention

  3. Unknown User (mmorris1821)

    I completely agree with Kendra's comment that their new spotlight is only valuable if they use it to garner aid for those on the ground.  I'm sure they're emotionally devastated by what happened, but those on the ground are dealing with physical and emotional devastation.  Although I know the intentions of most humanitarian celebrities are good, its as if helping Haiti is almost the "hip" thing to do.  One of the articles described the Red Cross's receipt of more than 22 million dollars through text messaging.  When you can do it through your cell phone, its extra hip!  I hate to think that givers are simply donating $10 through a text, putting a check in their good-deed-for-the-month box, and are now done with Haiti.  Is it right to donate money just to feel good about yourself and to feel trendy?  But on the other hand, do the motives matter if people on the ground are receiving the monetary support?

  4. Unknown User (rchildree2126)

    I think what celebrities are doing- raising awareness, is great. The truth of the matter is the earthquake in Haiti wouldn't receive much time on ESPN if there wasn't some tie in to an athlete.  However, because Jonathan Vilma is of Haitian decent the story is giving extra coverage and even put on Sportscenter. The same goes for actors and musicians. Brad Pitt and Wyclef are donating lots of money and TV shows like Entertainment Tonight are covering it. Rather than the earthquake only being on news channels, celebrity appearances on other channels add to the audience being reached .

  5. Unknown User (wgilmer)

    To be quite honest, "Humanitarianism" is a "hip" movement. Back when my brother started a Save Darfur group in high school, countless folks flocked to it because it conferred some sort of pious distinction, a badge of honor they could pin on their backpack or print on a shirt. Is this a bad thing? Yes and no. I'm always reminded of that Iron and Wine line..."everyone wants the scar but not the wound." We all want to soothe our conscience, check of our "good-deed-of-the-month box" as Morgan says, but are we really putting the victims of life first? I know that can be every bit as selfish and self-righteous as the "hipster" caricature I've drawn here. 

    It never ceases to amaze me how the money flows for "natural" disasters, millions upon millions, and yet our country did nothing as 400,000 Sudanese lost their lives in Darfur. We're so numb to the horrors of everyday life that it takes an act of "God" to lift us out of the complacency of mundane tragedy. We want to feel some sense of efficacy, to see our old 5-K run T-shirts on emaciated children, to see Red Cross tents filled with American bottled water, etc. It's too easy to overlook genocide, starvation and grinding poverty as some ineluctable reality, the tragic offspring of colonialism, corruption, instability and just damned bad luck. If the world cared for these parts of the world as much as it cared for Sri Lanka during the Tsunami and now Haiti during the earthquake, maybe we'd be making some real progress. Maybe it's just emotional overload, I don't know, you soc majors probably have a term for this sort of collective guilt/ sympathy and its converse, collective apathy.

    But at the end of the day, money matters, no matter what pocket it came out of.

  6. Unknown User (ftaylor1858)

    Hearing about all of these good deeds done in the lives of the rich and famous has made me think about altruism and what it really means. In social psychology, you learn about helping behaviors, who people are more inclined to help, and why they are inclined to do so. In listening to these celebrities, people are following so called "authoritative figures," people easily recognizable that have influence in some way or another. But what we are witnessing now is a phenomenon called "groupthink." Groupthink happens when a individuals cohesively decide something as a whole instead of thinking individually. In some cases it can be good. But others, like the Bay of Pigs invasion or the Salem Witch Trials, can turn disastrous. I'm praying that the pressure to help Haiti does not lead to more infringement of Haitian rights.

    As far as altruism, I can't say for certain that these celebrities are doing good for goodness sake. It's what we would like to hope, but to say that they want to throw time and effort to be in from of cameras for a needy cause might be stretching it. There are some people who argue that pure altruism doesn't exist. But I would like to think that regardless of where the help comes from, the good it can inspire will overcome the selfish motives behind it.