I gave my students a Thomas Friedman editorial to read last night. In it, he labels this generation of college students (and I have juniors this year, so I include them in this generation) as "Generation Q." He claims they are a group of quiet, virtual activists--and as Friedman says, they maybe too quiet for their own good because they don't take on the world face to face, but behind a virtual line.
We have been discussing The Crucible in class for the last few weeks and I thought this article might serve as a good ending discussion. In the play, Miller advocates social involvement, in the character of John Proctor, so I wanted them to think about THEIR involvement in the world--or lack thereof.
Some of my students had a lot to say on this topic, claiming they could be activists on-line and that Friedman didn't understand how powerful MySpace and Facebook can be as a tool for communication. But most of my students had nothing to say about any issue. When I asked them "What would you fight for?" They just sort of shrugged. One girl said meekly, "the environment"?
Well, this is something I would fight for--to shake them up, make them think, help them see that they can and should make a difference in the world. The most dangerous citizen is the apathetic one.