Do we REALLY deserve a pat on the back? Or is it all just a big ego trip?

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    Oct 16, 2008 5:43 PM GMT
    I enjoyed all of the responses to my last post so I'm going to take another stab at, what I hope is, another thought-provoking discussion.

    Have we, as a society, abandoned the principles of philanthropic anonymity?
    Why do we feel as if we deserve a token for our "good deed" (Breast Cancer Pin, Cancer Bracelet, AIDS Ribbon, etc.), or do we HONESTLY still feel as if the deed itself is good enough?
    Also, do these knick-knacks romanticize the disease itself?

    There's a very fine line between raising awareness and rallying support, and trivializing the disease itself and its sufferers. Have our material values as a society forced us to cross that line?

    Disclaimer:
    Please note this is NOT an attack, simply a discussion. I am fully aware of all the wonderful steps that these organizations take to help solve these difficult problems. And please do not mistake this posting as an insensitive jab. We have all lost loved ones.


    Respectfully yours,
    -Roberts85
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    Oct 16, 2008 6:11 PM GMT
    I give to charities without broadcasting it and I have never worn a pin in my life. That being said some people just like to put things on themselves to proclaim to the world "this is me, this is what I believe in and this is what I support." That could be a pin, a t-shirt, a sweatshirt, even a tattoo. As long as they honestly believe in the cause/charity and are not just jumping on a "flavour of the day" cause, then I see no problems with it.
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    Oct 16, 2008 6:51 PM GMT
    Can I get a dictionary please?? icon_eek.gif


    I don't think anyone is looking for a "badge of honor". These ribbons (I think) are intended to promote "the cause", show support and facilitate a dialog, not to be seen as an award for deeds well done.
    Although, I realize some like to make donations and boast, most I truly believe just wish to quietly make a difference no matter how small.
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    Oct 16, 2008 6:57 PM GMT
    When it comes to giving up part of our time or wealth to a cause we all want some recognition.

    I don't think its selfish at all but when I donate to offset my carbon emissions I want my damn Terrapass sticker! Wether I flaunt or hide what I've done it still accomplishes the same. Plus as I show off I might attract others who don't know what the sticker means and after a bit of research decide to take part as well.
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    Oct 16, 2008 7:04 PM GMT
    Hells yeah I want my "pat on the back!" That's why I wear my Real Jock muscle-t as much as I can. Give me recognition beotches!

    Srsly: I could really care less. As long as I know what deeds I've done in the past that have contributed to society, that's all that matters.
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    Oct 16, 2008 7:19 PM GMT
    Roberts85 saidHave we, as a society, abandoned the principles of philanthropic anonymity?


    I wasn't aware this was ever a principle. Big wig philanthropists have colleges, hospital wings, art galleries, whole buildings named after them. Many have societies devoted to spending their money on philanthropy.

    Giving to charity conspicuously is a long and trusted institution.
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    Oct 16, 2008 7:39 PM GMT
    I'm sure some who donate and wear ribbons do it for the "pat on the back", but as someone above me said, as long as they believe in the cause. The other benefit it is that maybe by wearing the ribbon or displaying it, awareness is made to another person who might himself or herself then give.
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    Oct 16, 2008 7:45 PM GMT
    Reminds me of a scene in Love and Other Disasters. A fashion auction for global warming. icon_lol.gif

    Honestly I don't care if the really rich philanthropists prefer to broadcast their donations to the world, as long as they continue giving. They may do it for publicity or the kudos, but the end result is real help for whatever cause it was.

    When I see people wearing things like the pink ribbon, the white ribbon, the red ribbon, etc. the first thing I think is: "does he really even understand what that means?". Personally it makes me feel a bit... unworthy, partaking in stuff like Breast Cancer Awareness day etc. when I have done nothing for it, nor does it really affects me. So while I understand what it means and sympathize with the people affected, I won't wear a breast cancer badge just so I'd fit in with the rest. :/
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    Oct 16, 2008 7:47 PM GMT
    Long ago a straight colleague of mine asked why I was wearing a tiny red aids ribbon pin on my coat. I told him it was just to remind me of my friends and all the other people who had dealt and were dealing with aids.

    I don't see the pins, etc, as being a "prize", but a reminder of things that are easy to forget when we are enjoying good health - or not - and even a call to action.
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    Oct 16, 2008 8:20 PM GMT
    We principally give to HIV/AIDS and GLBT charities, including a community center and a shelter for homeless gay youth. We sometimes wear a discreet lapel pin or maybe a baseball cap from the org, to remind people about them and encourage others to contribute, too.

    We get some visibility in other ways, that most people never notice much anyway, like the brass plaque in the lobby for being a major donor, our names in their publications & web sites, etc. But we allow their fund raiser staffs to utilize our names, as they do other large contributors that way, as leverage to bring in more money. And I don't object to that, and attend all the cocktail reception fundraisers & events, though I am a very private and reserved individual in most other regards, and dislike public attention.

    Because to me the goal is raising money for them, which is a good thing. And so we don't mind being a bit of a walking advertisement for them, and most people have no idea how little or much we gave. An AIDS pin can be earned with a dollar donation, or with one of many thousands. But we wear them so others will donate at least something themselves in a good cause for our gay community.

    And beyond the money, which is important enough, I like the community bonding these things generate. I like the unity, the shared experience & objectives, the "we're all in this together" attitude these little trinkets represent.

    Because gays, I've learned to my great disappointment, are remarkably selfish creatures, and our own worst enemies socially & politically. Any exercises that instill a sense of purpose, a feeling of family with common goals, is a VERY good thing in my book.
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    Oct 17, 2008 3:33 AM GMT
    “Back where I come from, there are men who do nothing all day but good deeds. They are called phila-, er, er, philanth-er, yes, er, good-deed doers, and their hearts are no bigger than yours. But they have one thing you haven't got - a testimonial.”
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    Oct 17, 2008 3:51 AM GMT


    Very cool, CarlosGringo! Loved that.
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    Oct 17, 2008 4:23 AM GMT
    I see it as an ego trip when it is "me" that did the work of fundraising, but it becomes genuine service when the work and others are more important than my doing it.