The United Nation likes to call the world a “global village.” But one wonders: is it really? It’s 2016, and with advances in communication technology the world is literally in the palm of our hands. Yet some people don’t know what islands make up the Caribbean. There are some people who believe that hailing from the Middle East makes you either a terrorist, related to a terrorist, or oppressed by a religion that is controlled by terrorists.
People make statements like, “Eat your food, there are starving children in Africa,” forgetting that there are starving children everywhere, even in St John’s, Newfoundland. Then there’s this theory that if you’re not from the United States, the United Kingdom, or Canada, you must be from a struggling third-world country. I had a roommate who asked me if I knew what a pop tart was.
My question is: if the world is so interconnected, why then are people still ignorant toward other peoples and cultures?
Admittedly, we are all guilty of making ignorant statements and having ignorant assumptions but come on, we’re the generation that freaks out if the Wi-Fi is down for two seconds. Meaning, we are always on the internet and, as I’ve heard from good sources, the internet is a gateway to information. So why are people still misinformed? Could it be that instead of looking up quality information, we are keeping up with the Kardashians and Jenners, the latest dance crazes, and celebrity feuds? Are we on Tumblr or Facebook pretending to be social activists with an original opinion? Or are we on Yik Yak anonymously being racist bigots? Could it also be that people are too busy snapchatting about that turnt night out on the George with the by’s? Oh, there are so many possibilities…
However, it is clear that people aren’t using the internet to enrich their lives with knowledge, but to be social media experts and social media famous.
Media, and perhaps social media especially, dictates how society sees the world, what society cares about, and how society reacts to certain cultures and issues. For example, every Christmas worldwide and without fail feed the starving children in Africa advertisements play on television. These ads contribute to the notion that the majority of, if not all, Africans are starving. Through research, I’ve learned that the continent of Africa has cities that rival the infrastructure of developed countries. Point being, there is more to Africa than hunger issues and civil unrest. Sadly, some people don’t know this because the media portrays the entire continent as a desolate waste land.
According to the media, a woman who wears a hijab is oppressed not only by religion but also by her husband. Because of the media, black people are commonly viewed as overly sensitive thugs. Because of the media, entire religions and nationalities are labelled as terrorists or supporters of terrorism. Because of the media, we were only told to pray for Paris and ignore other countries that are and continue to be annexed and terrorized by radical groups. Because of the media we know about Manzy, but we forget that Aboriginal girls and women go missing every day. Because of the media, we only remember the treatment of aboriginal people when a non-aboriginal person speaks about it.
Because of the media, society learns to be selective, self-absorbed, and ignorant all at once. Because of the media, you know nothing, John Doe…