Ice Bath Challenge

Welp, I did it, with a slight twist on the format!

I wanted to give some context on my decisions regarding the Ice Bucket Challenge, so here’s a post about it

In the past week, I’ve watched the Ice Bucket Challenge change from a call to action and a heartwrenching¬† narrative into a publicity stunt. I do not mean to diminish the good it has done, and by all accounts it has massively contributed to ALS research, by bringing both money and attention to the cause.

But the most formative Ice Bucket Challenge I saw was by Orlando Jones, who exhorted us to consider the violence in Ferguson. I feared, however, that by taking a route similar to his, I would be derailing the conversation and – as such – indirectly insulting the importance of ALS research.

Around the same time, I received the following message:

Hey Gustaf,

I just wanted to let you know that I used your recent article concerning the events and concepts surrounding the Ferguson incident and the stereotypes towards African Americans in our modern society. In a very deep conversation alongside a few other peers, the subject came up and I offered your opinion. They all agreed that you showed a new position that none of them had thought about and I wanted to thank you for sharing that with the world. Keep up the awesome work.

Thanks Gustaf, have a good night.

I’d been handwaving my lack of involvement with sociopolitical problems in our world ever since I left college with excuses.

“I have too many student loans, I need to focus on that first”

“I’m too busy with my job”

“I won’t make a difference”

To avoid making this a monster post, I’m going to cut to the chase. After a lot of thinking about the Ice Bucket Challenge, I realized that society’s problems are not ice buckets. We cannot simply dump them out and then wash our hands of them. We cannot simply move on. We cannot expect people to simply bear them because they are constant and sometimes getting worse. And yes, as an individual, we may only be able to raise the temperature of the water by half a degree, but when it comes to hypothermia, half a degree can save a life, and with enough half-degrees, you can melt ice.

So for me, the Ice Bucket Challenge should be a different sort of call. this is not about making the Ice Bucket Challenge progressively more challenging, but about understanding that it is not just about awareness and viral videos, but about changing the way we interact with the world’s problems. It is a call to be aware of the problems in our society, and an active contributor to ameliorating and solving those problems. Because when we allow ourselves to become complacent towards the injustices in the world, we become complicit in them.

One Comment on “Ice Bath Challenge

  1. Reblogged this on Fistful of Wits and commented:
    Just because he’s writing on a different site doesn’t mean this shouldn’t be cross-posted here. This is worth reading, and you’ll probably want to watch the video as well.


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