I am liberal. I am about as liberal as it gets. I am a freaking leftist. So this rant pains me. I dig the fact that I go to an extremely liberal university. I dig my fellow students. One would think I’d dig my fellow liberal students.
Sadly, that can’t be.
I was on the bus this morning, happily going to class. Behind me, two girls are talking about their plans for the summer. Typical college student stuff. Then the subject of Colorado comes up.
“Like, I hear there is this Buddist co-op in Colorado and I think I am going to visit there this summer” says a girl that in any other decade would have been a debutante
“Oh wow. It is so cool that they are like living out their beliefs and all” says girl #2.
“Yeah, like, they are even vegetarian there!!! It is so brave.”
Look, people, liberalism is not the sort of thing you do as a tourist. Stopping by a co-op full of other rich white wanna-be buddists on your way to your daddy’s cabin is not a humanitarian effort. Why don’t you use the money you’d spent on a plane ticket on something useful? I know a lot of kids in the neighborhood I grew up in would be happy to have something other than ramen and toast to eat at the end of the month while you are out cavorting with those brave Colorado vegetarians who have probably never know a moment of hunger in their life. Patting yourself on the back for visiting a co-op is not exactly the kind of political action that is going to acheive anything in this country.
It gets worse. They start talking about their classes.
Although my university has a reputation as a slacker haven, there are some majors that are damn hard. In my major (film) we are expected to be writing publishable material by our second year. We encounter readings that arn’t usually touched until well in to grad school. We work our asses off, and we come out with an awesome education.
But then there is the Community Studies major.
In the Community Studies major, you take a smattering of random classes with no real direction except that they all involve some sort of arm-chair liberalism. I did a community studies course once that consisted mostly of sitting on couches in the women’s center and bitching about life and reading fairly simplistic feminist musings. It was a great class- we all need to take a break every once in a while and do something fun. But it isn’t the sort of thing that you can make a major out of. In the interest of fairness, Community Studies chooses to keep their classes lower division and open to non-majors. In other words, there are no classes that delve deeper than a single quarter’s worth of work. There is no core material that is then expanded on and challenged in upper division classes. But hey, nothing wrong with a somewhat easy major, right?
The crowing glory of the Community Studies major is the field study. You spend two quarters not doing any schoolwork whatsoever. Instead you participate in some kind of project that “helps” some kind of community. Although options exist in the area, almost all Community Studies majors get their daddies to finance long trips to wonderfully exotic third world countries, where they can then gush about all the epiphanies and self realization that they gained from being around people that are neither rich nor white. Actually learning anything or doing something useful never seems to factor in. It is all about feeling empowered and fulfilled by your third-world experience.
It is the perfect major for kids who are only going to college so that they can get a couple more years of full support out of their parents.
So these girls are Community Studies majors. One of the girls didn’t have a single class…she got credits for an independent study where she apparently just reads books in order to prepare herself for her field study hanging out with strawberry workers in Watsonville. Nothing wrong with helping out Strawberry workers in Watsonville- heck, my boyfriend does computers for the AFW, but it isn’t exactly the sort of thing that you need a whole quarter’s worth of background reading for. At this point in your life, in this part of the state, Mexicans should not be so exotic that you need a huge amount of preparation to begin working with them. I just can’t help but think what these poor strawberry workers are going to do when these well dressed blonde college students desend on to them as their pet project. Don’t these girls see a little bit of a problem with the fact that they are well fed, well financed college students using these people as a mix of gunia pigs and lab rats as they BS their way through a college career that these strawberry workers could never dream of providing for their kids. Does that ever bother them in the least?
The other “classes” mentioned were no better. One of the girls was getting five credits for working at the on campus natural food co-op. Yeah, helping hippies get their four dollar bottles of Odwalla is really helping the community and providing a valuable education. The other girl talked about how she was doing multiple education abroad trips (which are known more for parties with cute foreign boys than academic challenges- this girl was going to New Zealand, no doubt to get out of any language requirements). Why are you going to college if you have no intention of doing something that remotely betters yourself or others???
That’s right…you can afford to.
I’m a little bitter. I work my ass off and starve on a regular basis so that I can go to college. A lot of people I grew up with didn’t even get the chance to do that. Why do these girls get to waltz around doing absolutely nothing and still get to pat themselves on the back about how wonderfully liberal they are and how wonderful good that is? Why do they get to gush about how going to a protest made them feel so “empowered” (hint: protesting is for causing change and that sort of thing- not making the participants feel all good about themselves) when people are going hungry, starving, and living in worlds with no oppertunities? GGGGrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!
Please grow up or get off my bus!!!