(Photo from “Know Your Value: The official Wonderfully Made Blog”
Please visit this link for a wonderful article about this organization.)
I recently saw a facebook post in which a lovely 62-year-old lady was celebrating her birthday by sitting on her sewing room floor, surrounded by the sixty-two dresses that she made for a charity called Little Dresses for Africa. While the responses to her post were overwhelmingly positive, there were, of course, the inevitable criticisms of “What about the boys?” and “What about the babies here?”
This rankles me for a variety of reasons.
- This woman was showing the fruits of her labor for a cause in which she believed. She obviously devoted a great deal of time and effort to her chosen cause. This kind of effort toward making the world a better place should not be criticized. Whether her charitable work matches anyone else’s personal belief system or priorities does not lessen the dedication she has devoted to it.
- The people who say, “But what about the…” are obviously doing nothing for the group they are supposedly advocating, or they would already know how to help, and they would be putting their efforts toward that group. A quick Google search would show that Little Dresses for Africa also makes shorts for boys. There are many local charities that offer new clothing to homeless children and foster children in the United States.
- “But what about the…” statements imply that by helping group X, that the person cares nothing for group Y. When I donate to the Humane Society, I hear criticism about caring more for animals than for humans, as if all humans need help before animals can be assisted. When people participate in Food Not Bombs by handing out free meals, they are accused of hating America and being anarchists. When this fine lady showed her work for girls in Africa, she was being indirectly accused of not caring about girls in the United States, boys in Africa, wounded American soldiers, and any other number of causes.
These are examples of black-or-white logical fallacy, in which there are only two possibilities: you can care about girls in Africa, or you can care about children in the United States. You can care about animals, or you can care about humans. You can help wounded soldiers, or you hate wounded soldiers.
What it comes down to, however, is that people who criticize others for doing good are usually tearing others down to make themselves feel better. I would bet a dollar that none of the people who began their reply to this woman’s post with “But what about the…” has made sixty-two of anything for their chosen cause. If they had, they would be too busy to criticize a very ambitious lady for her outstanding work in the service of others.