In this day and age, it is easier than ever to stay updated with events going on throughout the world. All you have to do is log into any social media site and scroll. In fact, 62% of U.S. adults get their news through social media. But in an age where we are constantly bombarded by news, are we really absorbing it, or rather becoming numb to the tragedies and injustices that plague our feeds? After the 2016 election, 27% of Americans reported avoiding the news, simply because it was too difficult to watch. This leads me to a question: are Americans’ apathetic attitudes towards news and current events leading to heightened worldwide distress?
Despite having a circus in the White House, America is still widely regarded as the leader of the free world. As an American myself, I can honestly say that living in America is like living in a glass bubble. We don’t experience the horrific tragedies of war, or have to flee as refugees because of terrorism. Because of this, so many Americans have no idea how to relate with some of the struggles people in Syria and Somalia face on a daily basis. Sometimes our inability to understand others’ struggles comes out in racist and destructive sentiments, like wanting to build a wall between the border of Mexico and the U.S. and proposing a Muslim travel ban. However, the typical reaction from most Americans when seeing an injustice that doesn’t affect Western countries is to sigh and shake our head- and then go on with our daily activities. This passive attitude towards issues countries around the world face negatively affects the amount of help they receive. If Americans began actively protesting, posting, and showing their distaste with the awful injustices affecting these people, then American lawmakers would take notice- and act accordingly. Nothing gets more attention from the American government than a good ol’ protest- and that’s what we need to start doing. When everyday Americans act, the rest of the world will follow. In turn, if Americans are silent on a wrongdoing or injustice, the rest of the world will be too.
Showing your solidarity with oppressed people doesn’t always have to be something as large as a protest. Instead, show your support in smaller ways. Call your Congressman and ask him to increase the amount of Syrian refugees we accept. Donate money to countries like Somalia that are going through massive famines. If you can’t donate, raise awareness through a post on social media. Too many tragedies that don’t directly affect the West aren’t aired on the news, meaning many people simply don’t know the atrocities going on in many foreign countries. The next time you find yourself being indifferent about persecution going on around the world, remember this quote by Albert Einstein, “The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything”.