Saturday, March 10, 2012

KONY 2012: Awareness vs Popularity

With every passing day my generation moves closer and closer to being the generation saying the unavoidable catch phrase: "These younger generations are doing nothing with their lives. They fight no causes and get worse and worse every year". But just before we reach that "old-timer status" we are currently at the brink of a new "flavor of the week" so to speak. As an objective writer I tend to keep my political and religious beliefs in check, as a subjective writer I involve my emotions with every key stroke I press. In regards to Joseph Kony and the Invisible Children movement it is difficult to write strictly objectively or subjectively. With this difficult task at hand, I find that my only solution is to dive into this subject completely and wholeheartedly in order to present both sides accurately.
As with any popular movement that receives support there will always be the inevitable opposition filled with bias negativity looking to make people "think". I've seen the response videos, status updates, and ignorant comments in regards the popularity that the KONY 2012 movement has gained over a few short days. I also understand where these reactions stem from. We are a nation that is consumed with popularity, status, and celebrity. With these three elements combined and used inappropriately we often find, that we as a nation are easily manipulated into believing whatever we are told without question. Take into consideration that both the mistreatment of animals, and cancer have been around for longer than you and I can both begin to calculate; throw in a few celebrities, properly placed advertisement, and a decent touching sob story then you have every American walking around with a yellow LiveStrong bracelet on their wrist, and an ASPCA bumper sticker on their cars. Does this mean that Lance Armstrong and Sarah McLaughlin's affiliation with their cause cheapened it's credibility? Did the popularity of a yellow LiveStrong bracelet derail researchers from their main goal?
I understand big business schemes have left a bad taste in our mouths, but the fact of the matter is money is a necessary part of making change. I am not condoning aimlessly donating to every charity that pops up, I do however feel that a little research on the part of the donator is necessary.
Being weary is one thing, but putting down a movement that can possibly bring about a positive change is another. Awareness always has and hopefully will not always be a major issue when educating young people. It's difficult to get them to be aware of their surroundings let alone aware that there is a world outside of their own. This is what this movement and all "flavor of the week" movements are about: awareness. Making sure you know that it exists, making sure you know what is going on, making the invisible… visible so you decide on your own what is the next step you must take. You shouldn't just jump and do because everyone is doing it, you should just react because everyone is reacting, and you shouldn't donate because everyone is donating. You do what you believe is the next necessary step for you to do not for anyone else. The important key factor is that you KNOW what is going on around you so the choice lies within your hands. In the end it is important to realize that the video was created to build awareness about an issue that has been taking place for over two decades. With awareness comes progress, movement, understanding, and possibly a solution. Downplaying an important issue that has become popular just because it is popular while you go on to watch the millionth "Shit Black Girls Say" spinoff video makes you apart of the problem.


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