I felt like this reading gave me an array of emotions to deal with. On one side, I appreciated the reflections of feeling emotionally “paralyzed” by all the negativity in the world. Especially this semester, I have lost the ability to be empathetic towards so many things. There has been so much violence, death and injustice in the world, and the university has done so so so little to support the communities that are suffering the most. I think the fact many POC communities had to protest for basic services from the university on a wellness day sums up the school’s support pretty well. Anywhooo, I feel as though this sensation of emotional apathy can also come from the perception one has over the work they are doing. A lot of the times, service is seen as an action that helps others, but more often than not, service is performative and helps make the provider “feel better” more than it helps the one receiving service. There is definitely a “pressure of virtue” in our society that makes people believe they¬†have¬†to help other people in order to be a good person. Although this can objectively be a good thing, it can also create a great deal of apathy, and even a false sense of accomplishment for doing the bare minimum for another human being.

The part of this essay I didn’t quite like, and I feel is very common in our society, is the rhetoric used throughout the essay. The author mentioned having a chronic illness and framed his idea of service around the small acts of kindness others would do for him that made his life a little bit easier. Instead of focusing on the fact that in one of the most highly developed countries in the world a man with a chronic illness was walking home over a mile in the snow, that “capitalistic” mentality makes us all go “wow what a resilient guy! Oh and his neighbor’s a saint for driving him home!” Maybe it’s just me, but my first reaction was “Uhh what? This man becomes literally paralyzed at random, and he doesn’t have some reliable form of transportation paid for by his insurance/ government??” Idk, just food for thought. I do not believe service should be interpreted as providing basic human needs that the state, or employers, should already be providing. I feel that maintaining this mentality only perpetuates this exploitation of the working class.

3 thoughts on “4/22

  1. Sophia Hartman

    I felt the same way, while I fully support and appreciate what seem to be described as simple acts of kindness that help the world keep functioning, the functioning of the world and the survival of those within our social system should not depend on these random simple acts of kindness to function. This rhetoric takes away the responsibility of those who are hindering change that would actually improve the lives of those that rely on these random acts. While appreciating these acts is important, its also dangerous if we don’t still hold others accountable to improving our world.

  2. Hiroki Cook

    I think this very representative of what’s going on currently, especially in social media. There are so many people who repost, donate to this… or advocate for this… on insta. Yet, most of these people don’t do the very acts they are telling others to do. A lot of people do the bare minimum to make themselves feel good but they don’t back up their actions. Celebrities get called out for this all the time, but it’s reflective of a lot of people out there as well. Advocacy is great, but it loses its meaning when the person advocating it doesn’t mean it.

  3. Alejandra De Leon

    I feel the same way about feeling “paralyzed.” I just had a discussion with someone from the Office of Multicultural Affairs and she asked me if I still think about the protest and I said it definitely is still a topic depending on your roll but also there are other things that have also come into play. Right now we are wrapping up classes and have work that needs to be done which become priorities and take time away from other tasks and priorities that you may have.

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