Much of modern life seems as if we are floating through a day dream, things not quite real. Many people, specifically young adults, are becoming increasingly disillusioned with the world; with politics and governments that continually breed corruption and injustice, in the West and worldwide; with the economy which seems to make the rich richer and leave the poor stranded out in the cold. My hope with this platform is to speak truth to power, to use my small but not insignificant voice to rally my peers and contemporaries so that we do not become disillusioned and unengaged in the world that we live in. Rather let’s break the daydreams that consume us and bring those visions to life.
It is not uncommon for people to daydream. I do it all time. My mind wanders to many things: what I’m going to eat for lunch, the books I’m reading, the person I wish I were kissing… But young adults are not given nearly enough credit. Many times we find ourselves frustrated by the state of the world and our daydreams take us to places where justice, equality and fairness reign. A gentle reprieve from the hell we live in. If we could harness these dreams, break through the clouds of disillusionment, then we could create real change. We could create a reality that reflects our dreams. So – we must do something! We can no longer sit silently.
I will no longer be silent about gender politics, because while on many university campuses, perhaps, gender fluidity exists and flourishes, it is an unfortunate fact that the rest of the world is largely unwilling to relinquish its binary conceptions. Heteronormativity stills pervades society, culture, and politics, threatening to ruin the lives of many people, those in the queer community but also those who buy into this concept of heteronormativity. It will slowly kill us all. People, through their prejudice and bigotry, physically and emotionally wound others and it’s not okay. We need to speak out – make real dents in the power structures that have the means to change laws, and influence societal perceptions and opinions.
I can no longer be silent about race relations while people are being harassed, killed, persecuted and discriminated against because of the colour of their skin. Supposedly we live in a free and democratic society in the 21st century, where things like Jim Crow laws and apartheid no longer govern the world, however, nothing could be further from the truth! America’s 13th amendment allows for the ‘slavery’ of prisoners (although they’d never admit it was a form of slavery) and this can be seen and understood completely under the umbrella of racial injustice when one looks the prison industrial complex (‘13th’, DuVernay, 2016).
Closer to home, South Africa claims to be so far past apartheid people barely even consider its repercussions. But our country has been a democracy for a mere 25 years and what has really changed for people of colour in this country? Can we really expect things to have changed drastically if not much sustained effort has been put into improving race relations, fixing the poverty crises and socio-economic disparities and truly striving for reconciliation and justice not just what we called the TRC (which didn’t last very long). Poverty and unemployment are rampant; the black middle class amount for a tiny percentage of the black population while the rest are living in dire poverty and terrible conditions, corrupt politicians take money that is not theirs to take without consequence… Furthermore, because of poverty and unemployment, education is not enforced and is not of a good enough standard to keep our population growing in knowledge and thus, power.
So, we have a cycle of poor and uneducated people who cannot be informed properly or fairly about politics and so do not or cannot vote with accuracy for people or parties that might make their lives better… It is a vicious cycle. And it needs to change.
Do we not dream of changing this system? I know I do. Do we not sit in our educated bubbles and talk over dinner about how we wish the system was different? I know I have, many a time. But what are we really doing to see change occur? I can no longer be silent about these issues. I have to see things change.
While I do not sit here, as a white, educated woman, claiming that my blog will see our collective dreams of equality and justice come to fruition solely because of my commentary, I do still truly believe that each voice counts. Each story counts. Each dream counts.
And if this blog can function as a platform for people’s dreams and stories and passions to be expressed, people who may have lots to say with little to no way of saying it, then this blog can make a difference. Whether in writing, in criticism, in interview or in film, if I can share people’s dreams, speak truth to power and challenge the world to do the same, we might just see our dreams become a reality. Here’s hoping.