Ice-buckets for charity? Or “likes”?

Everyone hates cancer. Given fact. Normally we don’t just hate cancer for a month or so either. The question is, why does it take social media for us to develop a hatred for it?

Yeah, the ice bucket challenge is cool and a great way to raise awareness, but the truth is, in a month or two, the videos that have been flooding the Internet will probably minimize to just a few here and there. It will just be another video of someone who wanted people to know that they supported ALS awareness. While the ice-bucket challenge is a great to show we care about the disease, it’s become a way for a person to get attention.

Most of the video’s regarding the ice bucket challenge are probably done just because the people in them were nominated, and they want people to see their reaction to the freezing cold water. The point of ALS awareness is to shine the light on the fact that every-day people get diagnosed every day. We only seem to recognize it for a short time and in the long run that the cancer is still out there. We just want the credit for saying “I am ALS aware! #ALSsucks.”

Now I’m not saying that there aren’t people out there who truly care about the root of the problem, the cancer that is taking away the lives of loved ones, but it just seems that it only matters that you made the video not that you actually care. Some people probably didn’t even know what ALS was when they did the challenge; they just thought it was a good way to receive people’s praise and attention or get likes on their Instagram and Facebook

A similar situation happened about two years ago; a couple students at our school manufactured and sold t-shirts with the words “Support the Cause” and the outline of two hands over the chest area of the shirt. Many students purchased and wore the shirts to show that they, “supported the cause.” The former SHS principal, Dirlene Wheeler, prohibited the shirts from being worn during the school day because they were classified as “suggestive sexual harassment.” However, it didn’t stop the students of SHS from rebelling and wearing them on pink Friday.

While the shirts were a colorful and creative approach to raising cancer awareness, most students turned it into something else. They saw it as a way to revolt against the administration and those who went against the rule received attention from many of their peers who were not wearing the shirts. Instead of thinking about the fact that they were supporting breast cancer awareness, they were focused on breaking the rules.

Seeing as there was much disagreement between the students and faculty whether the t-shirts were under the classification of sexual harassment or not, most of the students just wanted the shock value of defying authority. The point of the shirts was to raise money for cancer and promote awareness in which the students succeeded (the money was donated to the Cancercare Center), but it turned into driving students to make sure they got their 10 seconds of notoriety by their friends before they were told to take the shirt off.

The ice bucket challenge is alike in the same fashion as the teenagers and young adults of our nation want people to see that they can pour a bucket of water over their head and scream like a little girl. Something that starts out as a great step to raising awareness quickly turns into a competition to see who can get the most likes or whose scream is the funniest. Encouraging ALS awareness is not a bad thing; it’s actually amazing, but the people of our generation have warped it because they are dying for attention.