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The "Me First" Mentality

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posted on Jan, 27 2007 @ 04:32 PM
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I had come across an article recently that was discussing Oprah's latest efforts. She has built a school in Africa that is worth $40 Million. Now the article went through all of the details and it was quite interesting. But as it progressed, it began to criticize her for looking at the children of Africa and building them a school, while children right here in America could use the money to further their own schools. I could not believe that they would actually criticize someone for making a donation to a nation that is as impoverished as Africa. Now this is not the first time I had come across it, and it was actually discussed on this site more than once.

This whole "Me First" mentality has me shaking my head. As the gap between first world and third world nations continues to grow, the importance of assisting those who are not as lucky becomes more and more important. There is a big difference in building a school for a child in Africa and upgrading an existing school on our side of the world. Frankly, I get disgusted when individuals place themself before the starving and the needy on issues that pertain to survival.

The first world countries, or developed nations, are guilty of consuming a hefty amount of the resources. A very minuscule portion of the population is consuming more than their fair share of resources. We are labeled as greedy and ungrateful. What do we do to shake this stigma? Well some of us bitch and complain when someone makes an effort to assist a child who is starving in Africa. We respond to third-world donations with petty bickering and complaints that our own children could use that for internet access, more books, etc. That issue was discussed before, and it was quite strange. Individuals were comparing their own children having internet access to children in Africa having drinking water. I mean, if some of us actually believed that, how could you look yourself in the mirror?

At some point in time, we all need to look out for number one. Our family, children, spouses, etc., are the primary focus in our lives and they always come before anyone else. But where do we draw the line? At what point do we say, I'm not willing to sacrifice this for a complete stranger. We are all lucky in the aspect that we were born into a very civilized society. The more we come accustomed to these "benefits" we begin to take them for granted and expect more. Our deprived children are the ones who go to inferior schools and read from outdated books. The problems our children go through are peer pressure, stress, and worst case scenario, abuse. These are serious issues that need to be dealt with. But they do not wake up in the morning wondering if they can manage to come across drinking water. They do not wake up each morning wondering if at some point in their life, will they be lucky enough to attend a school. Wondering if their brother or sister will make it through the night?

I really wish some of our "thick headed" citizens, who can not see past the end of their noses, would begin to see how great we have it. Even if we have it bad, believe me, we have it pretty damn good.

I am interested to hear what our members think of the subject. Should "our" children come before "them"? Is it the ultimate form of greed to even suggest it? We can not end poverty or world hunger, so should we focus on our own?

It is quite clear where I stand on the subject, but I am wide open to hear other opinions. Agree or disagree, this is a discussion I look forward to.




posted on Jan, 27 2007 @ 04:47 PM
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I saw this on the news last week. Those complaining here in the States were all black folk from what I saw on the news. My first thought after seeing the clip was "the American blacks are about to roast Oprah".

It's Oprah's money. Let her decide how she wants to spend it.
You can't tell people how to spend their own money.



posted on Jan, 27 2007 @ 04:48 PM
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While this event may of helped inspire the thread, it's message goes well beyond Oprah's school in Africa.

I ask you:

Is it wrong for us to place ourselves before those in Africa? Or is their some validity to their stance?

What do you think of the bigger picture?



posted on Jan, 27 2007 @ 04:51 PM
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personally i think that the west has decided to let africa die. it knows that the situation just going to get worse, and anyone that cannot get out, will suffer. what can the west really do in that situation.



posted on Jan, 27 2007 @ 05:01 PM
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Originally posted by chissler
I ask you:

Is it wrong for us to place ourselves before those in Africa? Or is their some validity to their stance?

What do you think of the bigger picture?


Empire building has to have its populous focused inward and not outward, and of course nowhere is there a more topical answer than the US.



posted on Jan, 27 2007 @ 05:01 PM
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Originally posted by chissler
Is it wrong for us to place ourselves before those in Africa?

I think the mentality of many is "look out for number one", meaning ourselves.
I think every culture tries to look out for itself, first, and then others secondly.
I think it's human instinct.......when it comes down to survival, rarely does a man put someone else's life before his own. Would be great if it was the other way around, but it's not and I don't think it will ever be.

Oprah picked who she had more sympathy towards. You can't fault her for what she's doing, because she's doing good, and it's not like she can save the whole world anyways. She had a choice and she made it. I commend her for what she's doing. Nobody has the right to criticize her charity.....not here, not in Africa. Actually, nobody has the right to condemn anyone's charity.



posted on Jan, 27 2007 @ 05:21 PM
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Originally posted by andy1033
personally i think that the west has decided to let africa die.


I could not disagree more. What can you use to substantiate that statement?



posted on Jan, 27 2007 @ 08:31 PM
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In many ways, we live in a global society. I can't think of anything that takes place in a vacuum. What happens in one country does impact what happens in other countries. Therefore, it is my opinion that we do help ourselves when we help someone else.

I must say though, that even if helping other countries did not help ours in the least, I would still believe it still should be done.

We are all receivers. We have all been given something at some point, on some level. I could never make the choice to live my life only as a receiver, never giving anything to anyone, taking care of only myself - or my own country for that matter.



posted on Jan, 27 2007 @ 09:04 PM
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Originally posted by wellwhatnow
What happens in one country does impact what happens in other countries.


And that is it right there. You would think with the way we have advanced technologically, we would slowly begin to catch up socially. When will we realize that we are all one race? Ethnicity, culture, religion, etc., are all just minor details in the bigger picture. You and I are alike, we share a common bond in the fact that we are both human beings. You have as much right to this life as I do. I lucked out and was born into the society in which I inhabit, others were not so lucky. I think it is the partial responsibility of those who do enjoy this benefit, to make a small sacrifice, to assist those who do not share the benefit. Gender, color of skin, socioeconomical status... what does any of it matter? Details, they are only details.

Whether directly or indirectly, we are all effected.

It can be disheartening to hear of individuals who believe it is their god given right to feel superior of others. Prejudices based on skin color, culture, gender, etc., are all man made problems that we need to overcome. We are all one race, one being, one specie, and it is time we start acting like it.

There is no "Me" and "You", only "We". Like it or not, we are all in this together.

ed: typo

[edit on 27-1-2007 by chissler]



posted on Jan, 27 2007 @ 10:38 PM
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Originally posted by chissler
While this event may of helped inspire the thread, it's message goes well beyond Oprah's school in Africa.

I ask you:

Is it wrong for us to place ourselves before those in Africa? Or is their some validity to their stance?

What do you think of the bigger picture?

If it is at our expense, then, yes it is wrong. But that is not the case in the US; we have enough money to accomplish our goals if managed correctly.

The criticism of Oprah is misplaced, however. She is free to do whatever she wishes with her money.



posted on Jan, 27 2007 @ 11:50 PM
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Originally posted by chissler

Originally posted by andy1033
personally i think that the west has decided to let africa die.


I could not disagree more. What can you use to substantiate that statement?


We, as the United States of America, HAVE decided to allow Africa (or any other primarily black nation) die. We want whatever that country can provide and are more than willing to help create civil unrest and genocide (such as in Darfur or Sierra Leone) that will ensure our ability to gather their natural resources and keep the people too busy trying to stay alive rather than to join together and demand/negotiate a real price for their goods.

Bush promised several million dollars in aid to Africa to help combat AIDS and help restore hospitals then, through the use of his signature statement (something he has used more than all the presidents of the U.S. combined!!) to make sure he didn't have to go through with the promise. Huge multi- national companies have forced the people of Africa away from their homes/farmland through manipulating the IMF and then demanded that the country fold up their schools and hospitals to make payments to the IMF. And the head of the IMF...? None other than Paul Wolfowitz, the former cabinet member of the Bush Regime!

If we took only 1% of the current military budget of the U.S. and applied it to OUR schools and OUR health care, we would not have any problems with anyone giving a helping hand to another nation for THEIR schools and hospitals. We HAVE the money to improve our economy and our domestic issues. What we don't have is leadership that cares about ALL of us..not just the stockholders of Halliburton, GE, etc. If we only used the money used to hype the military to try and make enlistment look like something "fun and exciting" we could radically change how our country is cared for from the inside.

So...to say that the U.S. will let Africa die..you bet it will. Think of how much money they can save when they want to start drilling in a country where no one lives anymore! Diamonds and the possibility of oil...what more could a greedy mother want?! "Kill them all and let godmoney sort them out"...right?

If every citizen of this country is not outraged, they are asleep!



posted on Jan, 28 2007 @ 12:09 AM
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I have no problem with America helping Africa it's a good thing and it is the right thing. But 40 million dollars for one school in Africa? 20,000 dollars can build you a basic school. So why not spread that around and help ALOT more people and build 1000 schools for 40,000 dollars each, or even 8 schools for 5 million each? That's the only issue I'd raise with this subject.



posted on Jan, 28 2007 @ 03:20 PM
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If we were talking about government spending abroad then I could understand some of the concerns if we're dumping large amounts of cash into foreign schools and allowing our own inner city schools to languish.

But we're talking about a private citizen donating her time and money to a cause that she is passionate about. I'm sure her $40 million made a much larger impact in Africa than she would've by dumping the same amount of money into schools in the US.

And yes, even the worst inner city neighborhood has it better than most of the third world countries around the globe. The other issue here was that this school was set up because the girls are basically second-class citizens and had no opportunity to have an education, or any support structure for that matter. These are girls as young as 9 who due to circumstances become responsible for raising several younger siblings without any parental support.

I totally understand Oprah's wanting to provide some future for these young children. And I totally understand her desire to do something with her money that when it is complete she can look at and see an immediate positive impact that she has made. What she has done has the potential to improve the lives of generations of families. I have a hard time finding the "evil" in that.




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