One of the most talked about parts of WHERE AM I EATING? is when I freed a slave in Ivory Coast. This was the subject of an editorial in James Hallmark’s recent column in the Amarillo Globe-News titled Injustice must be confronted.
“We have made helping easy in America, perhaps too easy. When a tornado strikes Oklahoma, we text “Red Cross” to 90999 and we have “helped.” We are asked to “like” a Facebook page and told doing so will help free little girls from sex trafficking. These small actions may indeed help and even be essential, but someone has to get their hands dirty to free slaves, liberate little girls from prostitution, or clean up a tornado’s damage.”
James says that my decision to hatch a plan to free Solo, the slave I met on a cocoa farm, “[was] more than risky; it [was] crazy.” He might be on to something. Overall, I think he gives me too much credit, not because I’m trying to be a humble fella here, but because, in hindsight, after what happened, I’m not sure I should have acted. That’s how complex social justice can be.
However, the main point of the article is that we often passively “save the world” through one-off donations and clicks on the computer. But so often we aren’t on the frontlines of seeing that change through.
The concept of “sacrifice” has become too easy. We hire someone else to feed the hungry, text a donation to assist the victimized and stop tyranny with armies consisting of others’ children. “Sacrificing” is risk-free and those we help faceless.
There’s nothing wrong with these types of responses, but if you’ve never shaken the hand of someone you helped, or know the names of their family members, you’ve never given yourself over to a cause.