The Stigma of Charity: Gender, Class and Disaster Assistance

1735 Words7 Pages
Natural disasters. These very words send chills down a person’s spine at the idea of the traumatic happenings that can occur in these events. In the article by Alice Fothergill, she discusses a study of how victims of natural disasters from different genders and social classes accept charity. I find this article to be a very interesting choice reading in the wake of the earthquake in Haiti this past month. That disaster has left millions without homes or any possessions to their names, not including the countless lives lost and their families. These people are in desperate need of assistance for the recovery of their country. The United States has jumped at the opportunity to offer charity and help to the people of Haiti from thousands of miles away. From fundraisers to government help, Haiti is receiving charitable assistance from people the inhabitants do not, and probably will never, know. Charity is not limited to those recovering from a “natural” disaster. It can also be something to offer to those going through a family or personal “disaster” such as a divorce, loss of job, unexpected expenses, or even death. However, people in these situations most often refrain from asking for charity. Alice Fothergill mentions in her article about these personal charitable events but she mostly focuses on the people in the Grand Forks, North Dakota flood. It is in a sociologist’s interest to see how these people react to the charity given to them. Alice Fothergill’s article presented a research project that was quite thought invoking to me. However, most of these thoughts were not new, rather they were supportive of current thoughts that I had already established. In these past several years there have been several natural disasters that cause people to call for the help of those more fortunate than themselves. For example: the Grand Forks flood Fothergill
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