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When reading news, don’t let apathy win

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When reading news, don’t let apathy win

By Sandhya Sivakumar, Columnist

Every day when I wake up in the morning, I check Twitter for the headlines of the day. Updates on Ariana and Pete’s breakup show up right above the breaking news about a shooting at a yoga studio. The Kardashians are the top story of the day, and underneath that, news about a 31-car pileup in China that killed 15.

This unsavory juxtaposition is a direct result of where I choose to get my news from. I could check Al Jazeera in the morning, or catch the PBS NewsHour at night, but I make the choice not to. I can’t handle more than the drop in my stomach when I read another sickening headline, and I need a security blanket of celebrity gossip and memes. I used to follow the news voraciously, but now?

I’m tired.

I’m bombarded with shooting after shooting, and they’re all starting to blend together. I see a new GoFundMe campaign every time I open social media, each with a different story, all asking for money to pay for the most basic things — rent, food and medical bills. I never remember the faces, the names or the story. Almost every company has a sickening scandal behind it, and each trip to grocery store becomes a guessing game — who am I giving money to by buying these bananas? Is it to funders of terrorism?

Even if the corruption isn’t quite so drastic, it’s no secret most corporations are morally grey at best, and trying to be an ethical consumer on a college student’s budget isn’t easy. When your apartment goes through 54 eggs a week, it’s not really a toss-up between the carton that’s 97 cents and the carton that’s $5

It’s hard to be woke in every aspect of your life. There are so many things happening in the world that are fundamentally evil, fueled by a tiny, obscenely wealthy minority with the power of millions, if not billions of unconscientious consumers and uncaring citizens behind them. It’s asking too much of one person to care deeply and personally about the tragedies of seven billion, and the people steadfastly funding the status quo know that.

We have lived through so much trauma as a generation, and we have an intrinsic, firsthand knowledge of the powerlessness of the individual. The easiest, most freeing option is to simply stop caring, and the temptation is hard to resist when you have the privilege, the wealth and the safety to do so.

As disillusioned college students, as millennials, as Americans, sometimes it’s the most difficult thing in the world to bring ourselves to care about anything, but even the most ignorant and privileged of us no longer have the luxury of apathy. Inaction is complicity. Voting is the bare minimum. Caring honesty, actively and angrily, is the maximum. We can all fall somewhere in between, no matter what’s on our plates.

Sandhya is a sophomore in LAS.

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