I’ve never really found Jack Black that funny. At times, I can appreciate his charm, but he’s always over-acting (just a matter of opinion). I’ve never seen a genuine side of Jack Black. Until now.
”I don’t think I can take you home.” This sentence was genuine. It was fearful, it was awkward, and it was heart-breaking. A homeless child reaching out to a millionaire for help, only to be told there’s nothing that can be done. Now, you only need to look into the comments on that page to see that there have been a number of wildly varying reactions to this video.
However, I don’t think that he’s done anything wrong here. He went over with the purpose of getting others to think about stories just like Felix’s. He immersed himself in an unfamiliar, uncomfortable environment, and was able to experience something beyond the regularity of his life.
Much like Jack Black, a minority of unfortunate people find me funny, and I’ve also been to a developing country to gain a first-hand understanding of extreme poverty. When I visited Indonesia at the beginning of 2014, I had an incredible time meeting some people that regardless of how little they had, were truly content. I discovered that even the smallest amount of generosity, from giving boxes of food and supplies to those in need, to just gifting a few soccer balls to local children was able to create a lot of joy.
Now, despite seeing some difficult things while in these areas, I never felt that it was my responsibility, or purpose to take those who were suffering and bring them home. Nor do I think that is a burden that should be placed on Jack Black. As he says, it’s about giving “as much as you think you can.”
As so much time, effort, and money is given towards helping people in extreme poverty, it is important to ensure that those resources are being used in the most effective way. Gary Haugen challenges his audience, giving a new goal to charity.
In the developing world, “most poor people live outside the protection of the law”, leading to a high rate of violent crime. While many anti-poverty programs offer great resources, many people simply can’t access them due to this violence. Luckily for them, those who are rich enough don’t need public law enforcement, because they can just buy their protection. This has led private security forces in the developing world to be up to seven times greater than the public police force in those areas. Improving the law enforcement system in the developing world is a monumental, difficult task, and this means it is often ignored. Even in our first world countries, law enforcement is not perfect by any stretch. This problem requires a shift in how we think about overcoming poverty. Ultimately however, tackling any issue like this relies on the fundamental human value of compassion. Give what you think you can, do what you think you can.