Few things get me angry as fast as those commercials. Yes, these kids need help and the people who pitch in to sponser are lovely. Why is it, though, that every single one of these commercials focuses on Africa? Why do we not have a global spread? Yes, there are starving children in Africa. There are also starving children in the Middle East, and in Asia, and right here in North America. But no, the commercials never mention those kids. Your mother never told you to finish your vegetables because the starving children down the street would love to have them. See, if we realized just how many kids right here in our own locales were starving and dying, we wouldn't be able to distance ourselves from the problem nearly as efficiently. We wouldn't have this unwarranted superiority in our heads while contemplating the problems in Africa. After all, it's not really Africa's fault they're not as modern or as well educated as we are, right? If we just go to help them out, they can surely live as well and productively as we do (do we even listen to ourselves?!?).
What this does is gives us an incredibly skewed view of Africa and the people who live there. Yes, there are areas of horrible poverty; there are also affluent areas and middle-class areas. There are some huge and very modern metropolises out there (just take a look at Cairo, the "city of a thousand minarets"). People who live in Africa can be just as intelligent and well educated as anyone from North America (and more so, if the internet gives any indication). Africa has a vast array of culture, and scientists believe humanity's oldest civilizations hail from there. Too bad we don't hear about any of this, hey? Because it would be a shame if we thought of people living on other continents to be our equals.