With social media as the dominant platform for dialogue, this easy-access outlet for current events, cultural paradigm shifts and evolving social constructs is a privilege our generation takes for granted. In order to understand the impact social media has made on the youth’s collective character development, we must examine the crippling ideologies the Western World has thrived from.
‘Land of the free’ has been the premise of patriotic rhetoric countries like the U.S. has used to instill what is called liberal humanism. The illusion that you, a rational individual, have the free will to make choices void of underlying barriers. This is precisely the narrative that is imposed to blind us from the injustices that exist amongst minorities, non-heteronormative sexualities, religious affiliations, etc. This patriarchal rooted philosophy is designed to serve conservative interests. However, it seems our new era of social-awareness may have revolutionarily bruised that psychological epidemic.
But… have we moved to its perpendicular extreme?
These days, it has become almost fashionable for people to telegraph just how aware they have become.–Amanda Hess, New York Times Magazine
One of the major benefits of not only social media, but the internet as an entire innovative complex, is that we are in contact with just about everything that prevalently affects our world. This global consciousness is one that has been able to heal damaging close-minded societal influences that have been so prominent in the past. Of course, it has not defeated the human condition to argue and disagree, but despite not always being on the same page, we are all on the same Webpage. And this, is where questions arise of how it just so happens that the use of social media has reached its peak at the same time one of the top conversational foregrounds consists of depression and anxiety.
Is the overexposure to breaking news caused a desensitization to horrifying realities? Have we replaced our instinctual response to chaos with victimization? Are we using institutional disadvantage as an identity rather than a cause to fight, as a coping mechanism to the mundane lifestyles we are confined in that so starkly contrasts our virtual world?
These are all questions our youth must ask.
Being “woke”, or socially-aware, has become more than a healthy dose of combat against racist, sexist, fascist, your-favorite-ist profiling. It is almost as if we are abusing this need to fight anything that does not share our same fiery passion for progression. It has infiltrated a radical mind-set that insults instead of educates.
The calming truth is, we are all in an innocent rush to reach ultimate acceptance. To create a Utopia of liberal humanism that is not used for propaganda and manipulation, but an ideology that means what it intends.
But are we woke? Or just sleep-walking?