American Generosity - Part II
On September 17, 2020, I published the first part of my thoughts about American generosity. I intended to conclude that narration in this Part II, one month later, but situations kept making it difficult. I am glad I can now finish what I have truly seen about the generosity of Americans on both personal levels and collectively as a nation.
A superficial view of current news about racial, ideological, and political tensions in America would suggest that America is an unkind and tumultuous country. However, such a shallow perspective of Americans’ kindness is extremely far from the truth because Americans' generosity is beyond compare in particular, considering how Americans are certainly typically willing to welcome guests who are entirely unknown to them.
Being a country with a low uncertainty avoidance index, America has a culture of sacrificing for foreigners, notwithstanding the religious, cultural, political, and other inclinations of the foreigners. Despite some Americans having inadequate resources, many of them could cancel everything about their personal comfort when the call of kindheartedness to exhibit hospitality comes.
Despite America being scolded in the global arena due to tensions, Americans are a kind people who live in an open society in which they fight social wrongs openly; thus, such a culture indirectly demonstrates the self-sacrifice of Americans.
Brief Mention of My Experiences
Like I briefly narrated in Part I of this blog, I have witnessed the wave of American generosity in an unprecedented manner throughout the several times I have been visiting the global superpower since July 2003. In 2016, for example, when I was attending the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) conference, an American family in New Carrolton, Maryland, accommodated me throughout the annual conference.
Not only did they host me, but they also allowed me to use the access code to their home – information that is reserved for only family members (not even friends or outside relatives). In the absence of such American generosity, I would have indeed spent massively on paid hotel accommodation.
Two years later, in 2018, I beaconed an American cab driver who, instead of collecting fare from me by taking a long way around to the address, opted to tell me to turn right and walk down a few meters to reach the address I showed them. The cab drivers will not take advantage of my lack of knowledge of the area by needlessly driving me around to extract money from me.
When I visited America in early 2020, the extended Covid-19 lockdown allowed me to witness American generosity when Dr. WP, the director of James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies (CNS) at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, Monterey, California, not only approved my request to stay longer in America given the risk that evacuation flights posed, but approved additional stipend for my stay.
|Me and Janet Barnes, who went extraordinary lenghts to ensure that I enjoyed my stay in Monterey, California in 2020.|
The Lady Who Arrived From the Gambia With Only $150
My story on American generosity to foreigners is not unique. The story of a Gambian lady who stumbled into the Rudins, a white American family, residing in Maryland, further captures the big-heartedness of Americans. The Gambian lady arrived in the US with a dream and just $150 in her pocket (money she had raised in her country through loans). She wanted to study in America.
The Gambian lady stayed with a Gambian family in Maryland, and things were really rough for her. But fate led her to the Rudins, who helped the distraught Gambian lady through her intellectual pursuit when the lady had lost hope of obtaining financial help after two months of searching for a scholarship following her arrival from the Gambia.
Professor Kelly Rudin informed the Gambian citizen that a scholarship search would not work for her since she was not a citizen or green-card-holder and since she hadn’t been offered any scholarships before she left her country.
After Professor Kelly Rudin spoke to her husband, Tom Rudin, about the distressed Gambian lady, the American couple resolved to pay for her tuition and buy her everything she needed, from books to a cellphone, clothes, money for upkeep. Indeed, they took care of all her material needs.
|Professor Rudin on an outing with the Gambian student whom she and her family took in as a daughter|
What’s more striking was that they had this Gambian lady attend Georgetown University in Washington, DC – an expensive university where tuition alone is more than $60,000.00 a year. There were cheaper universities they could tell her to attend, but they wanted this ambitious African lady to do it as big as possible.
Technically, the Rudins acted as the student’s parents despite having no blood ties with the Gambian student – despite not knowing her; thereby, showing the level of altruism among Americans. Upon graduating from the university in 2020, the Rudins also paid for the Gambian lady’s father to fly to America to attend his daughter’s graduation.
|Joy as the Gambian lady who was sponsored by the American family (the Rudins) graduates from the university. The Rudins also paid for her father to fly down to America to attend her daughter's graduation.|
By all indications, the experience of this Gambian student is not unique. My sources tell me that many Americans will do the same thing even if it means borrowing the money. In fact, Americans take joy in helping others.
Individual Selflessness and Kind-Heartedness as a Nation
Individually, there are innumerable reasons which support the argument that Americans are altruistic. Notwithstanding selective cases of tensions that media houses amplify, Americans are selfless given their sheer willingness to put up with foreigners whose cultures and preferences are completely different from those of Americans.
As a nation, America ranks highly concerning sheer kindness. Plainly, instead of America using its massive resources to benefit itself internally, America is on the front position in terms of international financial support to impoverished countries. The USAID foundation, as an example, extends assistance to refugees globally. I read with delight last year as U.S. Ambassador Mary Beth Leonard handed over 200 brand-new, leading-edge ventilators to the Nigerian Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, to support the Nigerian government’s efforts against the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Americans extended this level of generosity despite their country being ravaged by the pandemic.
|Nigerian officials receiving 200 new ventilators for USAID-Nigeria to help combat COVID pandemic|
Current US President Joe Biden has also announced that the U.S. will spend $4 billion on international Covid vaccination efforts even as his country struggles to muster enough resources to vaccinate its own citizens. It would certainly be fair to accentuate that Americans’ kindness is hypnotic such that foreigners who land on the global economic powerhouse’s soil are likely to exhibit generosity to strangers themselves.
Americans Fighting Social Injustices
American bigheartedness is apparent in the scale to which Americans fight social prejudices. Being an open society, American’s efforts to battle injustices have faultily been reported in the news. The world has arguably gotten the wrong idea about Americans’ kindness due to news reports of riots which are linked to social biases on American territory.
In truth, Americans are kind enough to openly combat any attempts to muzzle kind-heartedness and fairness on American soil. For example, in case the police deviate from their mandate by unfairly targeting a particular race, for example, blacks, Americans of all colors often pool their efforts by coming to the streets to emphasize social fairness. Social justice is a subset of kindness.
Overseas, Americans are instrumental in social activism. They give guidance to social activism groups that focus on the promotion of democracy and political tolerance. By supporting such groups, Americans exhibit kindness directly and indirectly because, on the one hand, they offer direct material and intellectual assistance to the groups. On the other hand, by supporting civil organizations, they extend indirect kindness to potentially vulnerable citizens abroad whose lives would turn upside down in the absence of proper governance, which America-supported social activism groups espouse.
|White Americans protesting racial injustice in the United States|
The wave of American bigheartedness is true in the classical sense of the meaning of kindness. At the essential level, Americans are welcoming and not hesitant to sacrifice the best of what they have to foreigners, irrespective of the possibility of not gaining anything tangible from strangers. At the advanced level, American unselfishness forms the grounds for riots which currently dominate trusted news sources.