WARNING: this is an opinion based post. If you disagree please comment on this and we can debate. However please keep it PG for the other readers thank you.
A question that lingers in the mind…
Where ever you go does consciousness dwindle as number rise?
Social consciousness is what I’m talking about. The awareness of the social and political constructs that bind us as people.
For black people I’m talking about the social constructs of racism.
The idea that the system wasn’t designed for us as a people and we are always on the wrong side of the ledger when it comes to social justice.
In 2018 social consciousness appears to be at an all time high with the use of camera phones and the emergence of Black Lives Matter in 2012.
Donald Trump contributes slightly but we’ll not give too much credit to Donnie in this post.
As well as living in an Information Age, you can become socially conscious over night by research alone.
There is no excuse to not realize that there are social constructs that affect our everyday lives.
Or are there?
As a graduate student at an institution of higher learning, I’ve noticed that social awareness isn’t as high as it was before.
This could be mainly because there are more students of color that attend now than before. Potentially diminishing the need for social consciousness.
Why is this I ask?
Maybe there is a sense of comfort when there are more people that look like me that allows me to look away from the racism and bigotry.
Maybe this security will allow me to not feel alone when encountering white people. Having people that look like me in my classrooms.
Having people that look like me when I go to the dining court and not having to go to one section of the food court to feel comfortable.
Could this be the answer?
It seems that the need for social consciousness has dropped because this idea of strength in numbers. The more black people, the less the need for a strong foundation of unity.
But, is this a good thing?
Does this eliminate the need to understand the social implications of racism?
These are the questions that linger in my mind.
Because then I ask the questions after that of do these students know the problems they may face in the real world and that an institution of higher learning is only a microcosm for the real world?
Taking my experiences further in a comparison.
Growing up in a small city where I’m usually around people I know and that look like me.
A lot of people I grew up with aren’t as socially conscious as me. Mainly because they’ve been around the same people their whole lives. So that sense of security is established. They have the same strength in numbers ideals as these students.
So the need for social consciousness isn’t necessary.
However, is that a good thing?
Is that something we value?
Because we have other things we can be doing?
Because we have friends and contemporaries that may take those worries away for the moments of being lit and living life?
Slow down. So the explanation for this is that because we’re around each other constantly and not necessarily interacting with say white people, or police ( two problems black people face daily). We don’t need to worry about these factors because we can focus on our friends. We can steer away from those trauma filled experiences and thoughts.
However is that really a good thing? Is it necessarily a goal?
My interpretation? No. Because I believe one can focus on both. A person can enjoy life while being aware of the social systems that control their lives. No they don’t stop them, but they limit them and they must be aware of how to navigate through them. Because those obstacles will come. The micro-aggressions and the blatant racism will occur and They must be vigilant for those scenarios. The balance become second nature once you practice it enough.
We must continue to raise awareness even if the want for it isn’t necessary anymore. The need is always there. The only problem is it isn’t in our faces, and there’s enough of us to not worry about it.
This is no knock on those avoiding these pressures. No this is a reminder. Stay woke my friends, just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it isn’t real. And just because you don’t see it affecting you doesn’t mean it’s not effecting you.
Take for example an institution of higher learning. It will recruit a myriad of students of color that can’t afford college nor are fully prepared for the experience just to gain money and promote to their bosses that it has diversity. It has no structures or programs in place for retention, nor inclusivity. It’s diversity center is in shambles. It’s events are sub par. And it charges students. Egregious amounts of money and doesn’t inform them properly on their financial aid packages.
They end up owing money, doing bad in class and at the end of the semester they have to withdraw. The school steals their money and they can’t re-enlist till they pay it off or go to another school till they pay off the school they go to. Some of these students are the first of their family to go to school. Now their in debt and out of college stuck in a worse position than before a year ago. This cycle continues because the institution cares solely for numbers and the amount of debt it’s attempting to get out. Not knowing that if it takes care of its students it will all them to recruit more students and retain them as well.
Aside from that side note, the main argument is that people will lose the want to be conscious because the use of it doesn’t appear to be paramount. As you can see it is always paramount, no matter what situation you’re in.
Lastly, breaking down the argument, I believed initially that the need for social consciousness dwindled. However I began to switch to thinking that it’s more of a want to be social conscious. This is because the need to be aware is always seething through the air. The want to be aware of it is up in the air. In a world where African Americans are still viewed as second class citizens, the need for social consciousness is present with every breath.
To want to hold that social burden, that’s another argument for another day.
This could be due to the fact that a lot of these people just want to have fun. However, I believe both can be possible.
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