Over the past few years I've found that many societal problems are upheld by the very people who think they help. There are two specific types of middle to upper class heterosexual white women that maintain the social boundaries in our culture without conscious intent or knowledge that they are doing so. While the two groups intersect in cases, they do have specific qualifiers. These two groups are:
The Soccer-Mom Activist
The soccer-mom activist is a sweet, caring lady. She means no harm to others in the least. On any given day of the week she has to drop the kids of at school, pick up the dry cleaning, donate $20 to HIV in Africa, organize PTA meetings about vending machines' contents, pick up the kids, take them to soccer, get teachers suspended for showing fabulous French cinema, make a "Semi-Homemade" meal by Sandra Lee and be sure to clean up in time for Grey's Anatomy. The thing about the soccer-mom activist is that she isn't really an activist, but so desperately wants to be. She yearns to make a difference in our cold, cruel world. She just needs Bono, Sting or Angelina to tell her where to send her money. She's basically Donna Reed with a bleeding heart and a checkbook.
The Avon Ennui
The Avon Ennui is typically a upper-middle class woman with a lot of spare time. Many of them are single, vapid women that have the potential to turn into Soccer-Mom Activists. They either have jobs that don't demand much, or are bleeding heart students that have become so bored hosting Pampered Chef and Avon parties that they now march a few miles in their wedding gowns in a misguided stand against obesity. There are a few major differences between the Avon Ennui and the Soccer-Mom Activists. While the Soccer-Mom has already propagated her brood, the Avon Ennui has no offspring. She may dream of motherhood, but until the Mommy kisses the Daddy and the angel tells the stork and the stork flies down from heaven and puts the diamond in the cabbage patch and the diamond turns into a baby, she will remain an Avon Ennui. Because of her lack of children, the Avon Ennui cannot commit to PTA causes or other various maternally instinctual fights. The Avon Ennui often makes comments such as "how can I be racist with so many black friends!?" and usually her political agenda is ill-conceived, but her "demonstrations" are flawlessly planned. She's basically Paris Hilton with a purpose and a real, beating heart.
The major similarity between the two types of women is that neither of them realizes how their own issues fit into the bigger picture of our society. They sit in the window seats of their cute suburban ranch homes staring wistfully out into the yard wondering how they can help their fellow man. They plan these walks and bake sales and strive to end hunger and homelessness and obesity. But they don't look past their picket fences to see that many of the issues they seek to abolish are not just problems, but symptoms of the larger socioeconomic caste system in American culture. The very means these women use to make strides towards equality and peace perpetuate and darken the line between classes.
Their fights are noble, I suppose, from a simple point of view. At least these women actually do something instead of sneezing out snowstorms like the rest of the Lindsay Lohan generation. I don't want to tell anyone not to do these things. By all means, if someone is able to participate in a walk-a-thon go for it. And if they're too lazy or have a trick knee and can only write a check, that's great too. However, they should be made aware that this is not activism. This is the erasure of white guilt with money earned from a privileged throne in our culture. But if they really want to make a true difference, they should educate themselves about all aspects of the issue at hand and then educate their friends and urge those friends to spread the word. They should find people of other social standings and band together with them to fight these problems at the root, not at the top. Instead of purchasing black babies because Madonna did, they should learn more about why said black babies need to adopted. Knowledge and awareness are the strongest weapon in any fight.