Think global, but also think local

Read this. “Why Class Matters in Campus Activism”:

But why are the U.K. crowds almost 500 times as robust as those in the U.S.? Why does the American movement to fight tuition hikes and funding cuts remain so anemic in comparison?

In no small part, it’s because privileged students at America’s colleges and universities generally don’t take the issue personally. Those who are politically active tend to set their sights on distant horizons — the poor in India, say, or the oppressed in Afghanistan. Without their privileged-kid allies, first-generation college students, immigrants, and students dependent on financial aid are going to have a hard time creating the kind of buzz that Britain has just produced.

Many of us from middle- and upper-income backgrounds have been socialized to believe that it is our duty to make a difference, but undertake such efforts abroad — where the “real” poor people are. We found nonprofits aimed at schooling children all over the globe while rarely acknowledging that our friend from the high school football team can’t afford the same kind of opportunities we can. Or we create Third World bicycle programs while ignoring that our lab partner has to travel two hours by bus, as he is unable to get a driver’s license as an undocumented immigrant. We were born lucky, so we head to the bars — oblivious to the rising tuition prices and crushing bureaucracy inside the financial aid office.

What do you think?


One thought on “Think global, but also think local”

  1. That undocumented friend isn’t necessarily owed a bicycle. I’d rather they use public transport and pay into the system.

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