Monday, February 11, 2013

Community and Personal Issues

I read an article about an event at my former college, which ended with a statement like, "See, students here do care about issues outside of the college bubble."  There are statements like this in lots of articles that I've read about activism and community involvement at my school. This is wrong for several reasons:
1. The focus should be on the issue itself, not how awesome we are for caring about it.
2. Articles that focus on the fact that we are doing something, instead of on what we're doing, sometimes have the tone of, "If you weren't there, shame on you!" which promotes pressuring people to do things they may not want to do.
3. Articles that focus on students caring about something instead of on what they care about are sometimes used to invalidate other issues. I once read an article about how students at our college complain a lot, noting that we aren't really that petty or self-centered because lots of us do volunteer work and get involved in causes. This article was extremely invalidating because it basically said, "You only have the right to complain about personal problems because you've shown that you care about other issues." No, that's not true. Your feelings are valid no matter what, and you can express them no matter what. Don't let anyone tell you that you have to do anything to earn that right.

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