Monday, October 3, 2011

Revolution of Youth

At what point in our own development, as we navigate the terrain of higher education, do we abandon the notion of revolution, counter-culture, and social activism? When you're in your 20s, everything is important--every struggle, every fight for social justice. You believe in the power of activism. When you're in your 30s--like I am now--you can easily lose that fighting spirit. Your life is gradually overtaken by family & responsibility. You see the same injustice and are affected by it in the same way, but you're preoccupied by paying off debt, finding the best school district, or installing air conditioning.

I just finished reading Frantz Fanon's The Wretched of the Earth for my Social Theory class and I was transported back to my 20s. Fanon's anti-colonial, revolutionary mindset would have lured me in back then; I probably would have read it on my own time. Communism, Che Guevara, Rage Against the Machine--I read it, listened to it, responded to it. Now I just want my son to keep his bathroom clean. Historical struggles like that of the people of Algeria are present, but ultimately peripheral. Is there a place in this world for social activism and a clean bathroom?

1 comment:

  1. i think as you get older, your focus narrows somewhat and you begin to choose the space that your energy will do the most good. it's especially important because to be honest, once you start a family you've only got so much energy to spare!

    i hear you, nick. my passion hasn't exactly waned, but it's shifted in focus. whereas i was very excited about making change when i was younger, i've now begun to approach it as teaching youth to appreciate their ability to make change and how they can have an impact on the world. this is where i've devoted my energies. some out there go all in on the activism side and making the change. i hope that my legacy is having helped those individuals arrive at the place where they make a difference.