Rebecca Pollard, Culture Editor
I hope that you came to college and got any last shred of ignorance ripped away from you. I hope, that for all your time and money spent, you have a semi-real sense of the skewed world we live in. The amount of injustices that go on within this country, within this planet, should absolutely disturb you.
Why was so much more media attention given to the attacks that occurred in Paris on November 13 than to the attacks that occurred in Beirut, Lebanon on November 12? What about the attacks in Syria and Baghdad? Dozens were killed in these incidents, yet U.S. media and citizens decided to focus on the horrors of only one.
How can Apple be such a powerful, popular, multi-national corporation, and still treat their workers in foreign countries the way they do? According to the Huffington Post, “children as young as 13 are forced to work in the mines for as little as two dollars a day. They wear no safety protection, carry a store-bought, battery-powered flashlight, and often die from brutal working conditions that result in suffocation, cave-ins, and death from sheer exhaustion.”
We all know that the way we live day-to-day must change to preserve our planet, yet the garbage cans are still filled with paper towels everyday in the bathrooms, instead of people utilizing the hand dryers. The amount of paper and plastic we could save on this campus alone is immeasurable if people would buy the reusable mugs available at Starbucks and in many local stores and stop choosing disposable cups.
Factory farming riddles our grocery shelves. The meat Americans eat comes from cows, pigs, and chickens that never saw or felt the sun. To us, farm animals have become a commodity. A business. A profit instead of a living, breathing, feeling organism. Not to mention the workers who spend their days in unsafe, terrifying working conditions with no benefits, unions, or options.
Many people wear makeup everyday that has been tested on animals. Rabbits whose eyes bleed so that humans can artificially look “prettier” according to today’s cultural norms.
We live in a world where both women and men are starving themselves literally to death because of the pressures pounded on everyone, everyday in our society. Victoria’s Secret model-esque bodies are what have become expected of young ladies, or at least that’s what media (and we) have forced them to believe.
Through your years here at Oneonta, and hopefully far beyond, you will be continuously learning about things under the veil. Things that will make your stomach churn, or bring tears to your eyes. Injustices that are so inhumane that you can’t fathom why our entire world continues to buy into them.
When you discover these things, you have three options:
1. Drop the curtain back down, rebuild your veil, continue living as if you had never acquired the information, and block out the bad. Remain ignorant.
2. Or you can become a brick. You can listen to these horrible things going on, and decide that these problems are bigger than you and there’s nothing you can do. This will shut you down. If you allow these things to turn off your sympathy gene, you will become cynical and bitter.
3. Lastly, you can become an activist in your own way. When you run into those things that fire you up, figure out what you can do to help change the way things are. Tear down your veil, and fight for what you feel is worth fighting for. Become passionate about something that should be changed in this world.
Even just spreading the word about these injustices can help. Choose to not #PrayforParis but to #PrayfortheWorld. Vote for what you support with your dollar, buy organic, boycott Apple, only support free trade, or don’t shop at Walmart. Use reusable cups and bottles only, or commit to using hand-dryers instead of paper towels.
Remove yourself from your immediate life, and find something that puts how good you have it into perspective. Then, enjoy your good fortune while using it to fix our world.
Find your cause. Spread it. Commit to it. And know that in your own way, you’re helping to make the world a better place to be living in. And that’s an incredibly worthy cause.