Why You Should Stop Comparing The Woman Crowdfunding To Go To Vegas To Cancer Patients In Need

March 6, 2015  |  

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I normally don’t like revisiting stories or essays, but I do have an amendment of sorts to the story I wrote on Jameelah Kareem, who we know has raised more than $1,500 towards a trip to Las Vegas.

Basically, it’s a note about the comparisons and contrasts being made between the money her campaign has collected and the campaigns of those battling threatening illnesses such as cancer. In short, stop doing that.

I get that this is a polarizing issue – actually, I don’t get the polarization at all. If you don’t like it, simply don’t donate. Her posting and asking for donations does not affect you directly in the least bit, and it doesn’t keep you from donating to a cause you deem more worthy. I think we all recognize this. And that’s why no one is really challenging the validity, legality or even logic of running such a fundraiser.

Instead, what folks are doing is rolling out the cousin with ALS (shout out to Lucious Lyon, the only other Black person we all know with the rare disease) who is coughing and wheezing on their sick beds to say things like this:

“Look at her! Why y’all are busy helping some immoral floozy in a tight dress to go gangbang Mayweather and Pacquiao, my cousin here has been suffering on a ventilator and nobody donating to her cause.”

And it is a good point – not the floozy part. However, those individuals weren’t exactly doing walkathons or making sure the ailing cousin had all she needed prior to using them to publicly shame another woman.

You see, since the beginning of patriarchal time, women have been made to pick a side and smite each other for the amusement of men. If we had to hashtag these sides, they would be divided into #TeamMadonna and #TeamWhore. Basically, #TeamMadonna includes the Clair Huxtables of the bunch. They pride themselves on being virtuous, pure, respectable and staying perched up high on pedestals. They are the sacrificial motherly types–the saints if you will. Normally, we don’t see them as sexual beings, but rather, as pillars of respect (and you don’t do nasty things with things/people you respect). Yet in patriarchal terms, these are the women men are supposed to marry.

On the flip side of #TeamMadonna is #TeamWhore, which is basically represented by any woman who fails to measure up to the Madonnas–especially if they have sex.

While patriarchal thinking is at the root of this division in womanhood, it is ultimately women who have internalized this way of thinking and perpetuated it onto others. Hence why so many of us have jumped on the bandwagon of shaming Ms. Kareem by comparing her to more supposedly deserving women, which in this instance, include the sick, the poor and dying.

Truthfully, it’s quite messed up that fundraisers for the sick and the truly needy often get bypassed while the trivial projects seem to flourish. If you ask me, how we tend to prioritize is very much reflective of how our society generally deals with the more important things. Back in my community organizing days, it used to irk me to no end to see how many people would come out to yell, grandstand and make scenes during neighborhood meetings, especially the meetings that brought out the television cameras and local politicians. Yet very few of those same individuals would show up for the actual organizing.

Heck, even now I wonder why many of my essays and articles around more newsworthy topics are shared and discussed less compared to when I’m writing about less serious topics. For example, yesterday’s column on the Ferguson report: four comments. That’s it. However, essays about celebrities and topics that have no direct effect on us inspire fruitful discussions in the comment sections, including that one comment meant to remind me that I need to be writing about more important things.

I don’t mind either way because I write for the love and appreciation of it. But I always wonder, are folks just using the more frivolous of occurrences to distract themselves from topics that are both complicated and emotionally difficult to deal with? Or do people just like to give lip-service for some self-serving reason and are actually generally full of it?

The same question can be asked when it comes to those who like to pit the sick and desolate woman against the Kareems of the world. The person who complains about why folks are not donating to and caring about more worthy causes, yet fail to see the irony in how they have pretty much been doing the same. And if the outrage and signifying by the vast majority over a measly $1,500 towards a trip to Vegas was actually matched by real life donations to these allegedly more deserving causes, then we might not have so many incurable diseases and so much income disparity in the first place.

Maybe one day we will allow space for both #TeamWhore and #TeamMadonna to roam freely and fundraise side by side together in unity. After all, a nice vacation can be just as good for maintaining one’s health as all the medicines we have to take when we get sick. Or better yet, maybe a third or even fourth team will arise, which throws both teams into a gray area. It’s not like we aren’t all whores and Madonnas at some point in our lives – hell, even some point in our day. Maybe #TeamGray can pull a real Make-A-Wish and fund a few vacations for those ladies with life-threatening diseases so they can gangbang Mayweather and Pacquiao? I’ll put five on it.

By the way, Kareem is still raising money on her fundraiser page and has extended the goal to $5,000. This time, the proceeds from her extended Vegas fundraiser will benefit her girlfriend who has cancer. So if folks are still feeling extra sanctimonious, by all means…

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