by Julio Diaz
Though it would bring me great pleasure to write about the youth and their desire for social justice, or any change as a matter of fact, I can not. For every day I witness the growing apathy within the heart of my generation. Our society and “culture” have attempted to mold us into mere cynics and sadly with some success. Our voice and opinions for any issue that does not directly affect us are increasingly decaying.
It is truly sad that many of us can not demonstrate the least bit of interest for any issue of actual importance (such as our future), yet display a great amount of interest in possibly the most irrelevant and undeserving topics.
My heart aches when I think about those children and teenagers who simply refuse to take a mere second to think about the injustices our brothers and sisters face within our country and around the world. Yet they apply a vast amount of time to discussing the latest electronics on the market.
And this electronic gadget may very well be the outcome of injustice faced by children in third-world countries, such as the children and young adolescents who assembled our Apple products under agonizing working conditions. Their employers had them work with extremely dangerous chemicals that resulted in deformed and paralyzed hands. Some of these kids no longer saw any reason to live, ultimately forcing themselves to jump out of the windows to end their short miserable lives, from what I have read.
Apple’s only response and solution to this free-market tragedy was to install nets outside the windows so the kids would not be able to commit suicide, and could be brought back to assemble more Apple products. If you are a young person like me, can’t we at least try to do something about such situations?
I understand that we live in a first-world country, so the use of electronic devices is both inevitable and desirable, but why are we not at the very least demanding basic human rights for the young people who are making our lives such a luxury? It is our apathetic consumerist outlook that treats these issues with disdain.
What perhaps hurts the most, is to see one of my fellow classmates express their views on an issue with a clear sense of where they stand, and with a shred of hope that they will be taken seriously, but instead they are berated by the other students. Such an experience causes my poor classmate to no longer feel comfortable to assert their voice, and drop back into the pits of apathy.
But why is it that the multitude of us are so scared of different ideas? Why is it that the multitude of us are so scared of being challenged? And why is it that the multitude of us are so scared of questioning why things are the way they are? Wasn’t it the intellectuals of Europe that questioned and challenged the authority of the church, and by introducing a variety of new philosophical ideas led Europe out of the Dark Ages into the Enlightenment?
I believe it is time that society as a whole began to question and challenge this “Virtue of Selfishness” attitude that is fed to us. As soon as we do that, we will have loosened the fetters of apathy. But to break free completely from those fetters, we must begin to embrace education, cooperation, and an openness to new ideas.
Hopefully, that will lead us on the path to creating a fair and just world we can all be proud of.
Julio Diaz is an L.A. h.s. student in the 11th grade. He’s 16.