Take a look around. They are at the gym, at the club, at work, at the mall, and on television. They are everywhere. Little plastic bracelets of every color. Pink ones, blue ones, red ones, black ones, and the most common yellow ones. Instead of wearing hearts on sleeves, people are wearing them on wrists. Find a cure for breast cancer, Live strong, end violence against children. These fashion trends show that people truly care about these issues and have conviction for enacting change to make the world a better place. It began as a gimmick, a new and creative way to raise funds for a good cause. But is that really what this gimmick stands for anymore? Do people have the courage to act and truly support these causes or do they just wear the bracelets because being an activist is “in” right now.
The truth is, not everyone who sports a Live Strong bracelet is a good person. Sure, they paid the extra dollar to buy a yellow plastic band while they were out shopping for shoes made in sweat shops by children, but there is no background check before you can wear them. All types of people wear “cause bracelets”: activists, athletes, politicians, musicians, and celebrities. Under normal circumstances, most people have a degree of cynicism towards these people because after all, they aren’t like us. But now it’s okay because they are wearing a Live Strong bracelet so they must be just like the rest of us, right? We have the same problems, concerns, and fears. Because, after all, these “cause bracelets” represent basic human fears: death, helplessness, and dependency.
But what about the rude man in the gas-guzzling SUV who cut me off as he was leaving Wal-Mart. In his intense road rage, he flipped me the bird and in doing so showed that sunshine-bright yellow band. Now did I stop and think, “well that’s fine, he’s obviously good person because of his Live Strong bracelet. He must have been having a bad day”. Or did I mutter ‘jerk’ under my breath? If I remember, it was definitely the latter only I used a much more explicit term. I believe that just because you wear a Live Strong bracelet you are not exempt from common courtesy and especially not traffic rules. You aren’t entitled to anything more than anyone else because you wear a “cause bracelet”. You aren’t a better person because of it. And now that everyone else is wearing one too, you actually look like you are simply trying to fit in. Is this true? Maybe. Maybe not.
Maybe the woman wearing the breast cancer bracelet really is a breast cancer survivor and has dedicated her life to helping women with breast cancer. Maybe she honestly donates her time, energy, and money to organizations that support finding a cure for breast cancer. Or maybe she sells cocaine to her children’s friends. We don’t know. She could be neither and just be an overall good person who works hard and believes that no woman should have to suffer through breast cancer alone. What we do know is that believing that people are good or bad simply based upon a plastic bracelet is presumptuous and is probably incorrect. So stop assuming. And if you are one of these posh “cause bracelet” wearers, stop relying on appearances and take action for what you truly believe in. Do something real and do something good.