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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Caring, but not caring enough

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I’m a hypocrite. You’re a hypocrite. The person sitting at the computer next to you in the library is a hypocrite. Anyone who says he or she is not a hypocrite is lying. At some point in our lives we have all contradicted the values that we preach. Multiple times I myself have complained about major world issues like global warming and war violence, but only with my words. Most of the time, I have not made any concrete effort to personally combat these efforts.

Over this past summer as I was getting ready to start my freshman year at Carleton, I got into a Facebook chat with a current student, who at one point described the students here as “slactivists,” essentially people who talk a lot about cultural issues like gender inequality but don’t care enough to make an actual difference or change their lives for an impact.

I’m not trying to paint a negative image of the Carleton community. I think this “slacktivism” is a global problem among young adults like us. In my opinion, there is a lot of clear reasoning for this.

When you are in college, you take classes like sociology and environmental policy and hear a lot about current issues oftentimes relating to matters such as injustice. We absorb the information and may even talk to our friends about it. However, when it comes to actually affecting our daily life decisions, most of us just don’t do anything. We learn about the Pacific Garbage Patch and sometimes we might even preach about the problems with it, but we still don’t hesitate to buy another case of bottled water.

Such an idea is also quite present on a larger scale. A lot of people have boycotted Chick-fil-A because of their anti-gay stance. Many of these same people, though, are not making an active enough stance in wider society for legal change LGBTQ rights.

Essentially, the point I’m getting at is that our society’s inaction is action that may contradict some of our individual values. Our slactivism is giving our words no meaning.

I mean, let’s face it. As college students, we are busy and sometimes it’s easy to feel like we live in in a bubble where we hear about all the world events, but rarely interact with them for real.

Fortunately, Carleton, like many other colleges, has made an effort to put lessons in the classroom to action, like with ACE courses and such. We are learning how to directly interact with the community and make a difference. That is definitely progress that should be acknowledged. I myself am trying to find ways to make my words more impactful. And at the end of the day, all that matters is that we acknowledge this situation in our society.

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