This week, I watched a Ted Talk from Jamie Oliver. It was about the struggles with obesity in the USA and how we need to use proper education and information tactics to present ideas to the public in order to help reduce the ever increasing trend of obesity and heart disease.
I always hear from many people all over Facebook and social media who talk about people needing to just get jobs and stop whining for help because they don’t have the tenacity to take their own lives into their hands.
With the topic of race gaining steam all over the world, we always hear opinions spewing from all over the place. People of one race, say what they think that other people in another race are going through, and how they should “get over” or just “work through” their problems if they don’t seem to be of huge problems.
These are just a few examples of situations nowadays that I see where people seem to speak on the outside of the subject at hand. It’s not “think what it’s like if you were in their shoes”, but rather, “think what it’s like if they could fit into yours”. So many people, myself included, trivialize peoples’ situations, thinking that their problems might not be as big, simply due to our stance on the topic. Let’s take a look at some of the examples I talked about up there:
When it comes to the obesity problem in the US, it’s definitely a huge problem. People are overeating, eating processed foods more often than they should, and aren’t learning enough about nutrition and healthy lifestyles to pass on to others around them. But sometimes it’s going to be hard. A lot of people who advocate these changes—while they have good intentions— don’t seem to realize some of the challenges people go through living their daily lives. From my personal standpoint, it’s not a huge burden for my family to be able to spend a bit more money if we wanted to look into eating healthier or potentially use some of our free time to exercise, because we have the privilege to do so. But when people hash on others because they aren’t putting in the time or effort to try and become healthy, it can be slightly classist at times. Some people might have to resort to quicker, more unhealthy options due to their limited abilities to utilize their time or resources because of their economic situations. It’s definitely a HUGE problem…but it’s a bit unrealistic to reprimand people because they might not have the resources or ability to make huge lifestyle changes at the blink of an eye.
The race issue. I see so many people (not just white people) constantly put their input into different topics. It might be because one group of people are voicing their distaste towards what they might think is cultural appropriation or acts or racism. It’s only natural for those of us on the outside to form an opinion on the topic and talk about what we think, but sometimes it just isn’t really necessary. I’ve seen so many people say “Oh, but it doesn’t sound like they’re being racist/appropriative/etc” or “This doesn’t seem like too bad of a problem!”, but is it really in our realm to be able to tell them that? I understand many might not agree, but there’s an extent to which we can take our opinions and regard them as being the most correct or valid.
I’m not trying to say that we should stop helping people…but rather, get back into the mentality of trying to empathize with them. Don’t look down at them like we’re above them and they’re being graced with our advice, but rather, step down and see exactly where they’re coming from. We need to learn how to walk in the shoes of other people to become more understanding of their situations and then help if we’re fit to do so. No one has the innate responsibility to help people, but we should make sure we understand where the source of the problem really is coming from before we really get into things.