This is something I am planning to put in a social justice anthology I am currently writing. I hope you enjoy!
I came to school today and found that the entire group of kids was obsessing over a dress. A dress. I’m not kidding you. It had gone viral. The colors were apparently some kind of optical illusion; some saw black and blue, others saw gold and white. People kept making up theories; if you saw black and blue, you were a sinner, had negative energy, etc.
As I witnessed all of this madness around me, knowing that this new obsession could not last for more than twenty-four hours, one of my classmates said something that altered my perspective: “There are starving children five minutes away. Why is everyone focusing on something so meaningless as a dress?” And that got me to thinking: Why do people spend all of their time concentrating on things that don’t even matter, and ignore the things that truly impact the world, the people around us, and our future? In Jamaica, rape is a national pastime. A child is diagnosed with cancer every three minutes. Are people seriously getting upset over some stupid dress? How apathetic can this world possibly be?
That’s when I realized that apathy was not the only factor contributing to these menial obsessions—it’s also fear. People are scared to think about actual issues because the first thought that crosses their mind is: that could be me. That starving little girl, that child refugee, that rape victim—that could be me. So their solution is to block these issues from their mind and spend all of their time focusing on the latest picture on Instagram, the funniest video on Vine, or a dress that changes color.
Whether it’s subconsciously or consciously, actual problems are ignored, causing the world to delve more and more into a state of disrepair. I hear many? adults make statements such as, “The problems brought onto this Earth are ones we can no longer fix. We’ve tried. It’s your generation that needs to find solutions.” And I want to help. I hunger to save the world. But there are so many moments where I feel that I am alone in my pursuit.It’s at times like these that I get hit with this feeling.
Here is my proposition: I want you to prove me wrong. You don’t have to start a nonprofit or save a life. Even making a small, random act of kindness reassures me, because I will know that there is one more person out there who cares. Plant a tree. Write a relatable story, poem or article. Give someone a smile. Because if each of us just helped one other person, the world wouldn’t have so many problems.
Realize that the Earth is in bad condition. Don’t succumb to fear.
Put away the picture of that dress, and change the world.