What does the term “Raising Awareness” really mean? It is supposed to be defined as “to educate.” I find that this term often covers a negative with a thin layer of good. Ignore the man behind the curtain. An ends justify the means argument. Let me give you a particularly evil example. Now, before we get into gritty details, this is supposed to be a friendly blog and I do not wish to bash politics, ethics, culture, or religion. In that context, I will tread lightly.
A large anti-cancer non-profit organization has the fundamental goal to raise awareness about one particular cancer. They have many brochures that describe how to check for this malady and they go on large public relation crusades. This includes dinners, auctions, talks, branded clothing/merchandise, and charity runs like “race for the cure.” Sounds good. Right? It would be good if the money went somewhere useful.
Let’s say you have cancer and need financial help. Or you have a drug that needs money to get approved. Maybe you are a scientist who needs money to research new treatments. Perhaps you are sad about having cancer and would like somebody to talk to. They don’t do any of those things.
What do they do? 80% of their income pays for staff salaries. 20% pays for parties, advertising, and brochures. What is their true gift? Their end product? What do millions of dollars in donations ultimately provide? Their only real tangible outcome is brochures. Are they hiding this fact? Not at all. Their paraphrased main slogan is “raising awareness about cancer.” They never claim to use donated money to find a cure or help anybody. What about that “race for the cure?” That’s a marketing term, not a result.
In my opinion, the trivial benefit of making brochures outweighs their extreme harm. I believe they are worse than cancer because they take money away from genuine cancer research and fool desperate people into believing they provide help.
This seems I have undertaken a crusade to harm this group or I am taking a stand against being politically correct. After all, raising awareness is simply a term.
Now hold on. My four astute followers would point out that I used this very term in two recent blogs. Quite true, and I did it for a reason. Words are simply words and it is up to us to apply meaning. I intentionally used this term to prove to myself that I could rise above my own negative opinions. No, it did not feel good. But I made my little mental point to join the masses.
Does this mean I am a bad person (by my definition) for using this term? After all, I used this term to solicit interest for personal gain. Hmm. Trapped by my own ethics. Perhaps I need to raise my own awareness?
You’re the best -Bill
April 22, 2020
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