I grew up in a fairly conservative family. Well, not exactly “conservative” in the modern American definition of the word (i.e. Anti-Pinko-Liberal-Grr-Hate-Terrorists Everywhere!!!) but the traditional Canadian definition. We generally didn’t talk about money or religion or bodily functions in public. One other thing we and most other people didn’t bring up, wave about, highlight in yellow or keep yapping on about was our charitable doings.
My mother was a bit of a Sheep of a Different Tone when it came to politics etcetera in our family. Leftist, hippie, feminist (the bra-burning variety), animal and downtrodden rights activist. She would tend to discuss a little louder (as lefty folks are wont to do) things like sealing (anti of course) and eating of veal (again, anti) around the elderly but didn’t go around telling everyone around her that she donated to a cause.
Fast forward to 2015. A person I have to be around on a frequent basis slides past my spot of reading repose over lunch hour and (loudly) exclaims how happy she is that her church has raised a certain amount of money for a refugee charity. I certainly don’t think this is a bad thing and the charity itself is not the issue. What is bothersome is that she is one of a growing number of people that feel the need to tell you every single day about some “good” they have taken part in. I ignore her and go about my business holding back from my (well prepared) speech about how I “don’t donate to any charity if that charity is related to an organization (primarily religious) that uses said charitable doings to promote themselves”. i.e. If it was the Red Cross, yes, if it was your church, no, do not ask me for my precious moolah.
I have wondered about this as time has passed. To use salty language, why the fuck do people want to tell you every time they recycle a cup or give a hobo a quarter? My wife listens to my rantings (she usually does, Cthulhu bless her heart) and responds that maybe some people do this to help promote the cause, to help it do better by coercing you to take part. I see her point. I do believe that some people, primarily the exceedingly wealthy, want to show you they are doing good in hopes you join them. Most however, are attention whores.
There are literally billions of people on earth. A lot of them are white. Hell, I’m white (really really stereotypically white too…). White people love attention. The more they feel like teenie tiny cogs in a great big every growing self replicating machine, the more they crave someone patting them on the back. They yearn for praise. They clamor for “well aren’t you just awesome!”s. They feel worthless and pointless until something gives them a sense of purpose.
Telling everyone that they did something un-reprehensible gives them that.
And a hit of dopamine the silly ape, chemical junkies.
So all in all, I get it, I do see why so many people brag (and yes it IS bragging if you tell people you did something to get a positive reaction) that they took part in a charity. This is wrong. Look, you should do good in your life. There is no biological reason to do so, but if you live in society, you should help out society, in some way, shape or form. If you find a charity or a cause that you truly believe in, absolutely jump in head first. BUT. If you ramble on about your doings, you need to stop. You need to think “am I telling this to people because I want recognition?”. If the answer is yes, then you are doing it for the wrong reason. If you live your life as a “good” person because you are wanting a reward (be it thank you’s or a afterlife boinking mystical virgins) you are being selfish. Do good for the sake of good, not for you.
And stay the fuck out of my office with your “voluntary” payroll charity deduction forms.