Aid within Contextual Lens – Japan   1 comment

I blogged about Japan a few weeks ago as a backlash to the knee-jerk reaction the international community was undertaking; my school/university is no different. In the piece, I was critical of what my colleagues are doing to assist the Japanese who are in dire need, selling bracelets and the monies going to victims of the triple disaster there. The post fell on deaf ears amongst my cohort here, with little recourse.

Curious as to why no one thought I was crazy (or at least were vocal about it) for being anti-aid in this situation, I began to observed my classmates. I noticed that most of my international colleagues were the one buying/wearing the bracelets to support the effort, whereas little amount of Americans followed suit. Does this mean that my fellow American classmates are heartless? No, but I have a theory.

Since most of the international students at my school are from developing nations, they are more apt to have seen the direct (or indirect) benefits of aid in their home communities or state. Americans know of aid because most have given to charities or volunteered toward a cause but most have not needed aid in order to survive. So, possibly, the international students are more sympathetic or understanding to Japan and want to assist in any way they can. There may be a disconnect between people of the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’ directly relating to those in their own grouping.

So, culturally, from an anthropological viewpoint, are certain groups more apt to assist others? Biologically, humans tend to be altruistic to those who are blood-related. Non-blood relation altruism can be only seen in religious¬† groups (and the like). With the situation stated above, maybe the sub-group of ‘have nots’ are assisting those in their own group, not because of altruistic¬† reasons, but possibly to fulfill the ‘giving’ cycle – give when you can because you were given to in the past.

Maybe my logic is unsound here; thoughts folks?


*note the picture above is not the ones being sold on my campus.

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Posted April 5, 2011 by Travis Warrington in Development

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One response to Aid within Contextual Lens – Japan

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  1. Hey! I just read your piece here. I thought you made an interesting comparative analysis regarding the international students and the american students at our university. I can understand that many international students may know first handedly the benefits of aid, unlike the American students. However, I have to say, there could be a third fork in the road that should be mentioned: there may be a possibility (i know, because I am part of this category) that American and international students indeed bought the bracelets and/or donated more money to Oxfam Japan (where the money from the bracelets will be going), but have chosen not to wear the bracelets. This is not because they do not want to spread awareness; indeed they definitely have and they did so by being quite vocal in doing so!

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