Monday, June 22, 2015

American Teenagers are Desensitized and it’s Breaking Us

In March 2013, a young man stood up in my journalism class and politely stopped our instructor from lecturing to inform her, and all of us, that a bomb threat had been made to our campus and that we were all required to leave immediately to safer ground.

I pulled out my phone and sure enough the text message I had ignored said the same thing. I gathered my bags and clung to one of my friends as our professor told us to be safe. My friend and I left the building into a swarm of slow-walking students heading to the dorms. I called my roommate and she and I walked downtown to do some window-shopping.

We later heard that students who had parked in the garage spent more than 3 hours trying to get out. There was a student directing traffic because the police couldn’t get there in time. We all joked that if there really was a bomber, it would have been wise to plant it at the garage because everyone would rather wait on campus for it to blow before leaving their precious cars.

In light of all the recent tragedies that have happened to this country due to terror and hate actions, it’s important to note how these actions affect our society. More urgently, it’s important to note how the current generation, mainly 20 year-olds like myself and younger teenagers, is so desensitized to these actions because we’re so used to hearing about them.

We grew up terrified of 9-11, and yet we were excited about a bomb threat because we missed class. How could this happen in only a decade? We’re scared and angry for a few days, and then we move on because you know what? A new one will happen for us to obsess over soon enough.

Becoming desensitized allows people to view situations logically rather than emotionally, but growing up this way has made many of us emotionally-distant to even the events that directly affect us. It’s not that we don’t care; it’s that we don’t believe there is any other way to be. Rather than stress about it, we let it roll off our backs and focus on the life that’s right in front of us.

Not to take away from too much of this blog’s purpose, but dystopian novels are the exact opposite of our American society. The characters in these novels fight back and change their governments into what the people need. Americans talk loudly and break things, but nothing changes permanently.

What are we doing so wrongly that nothing changes? Are we giving up too easily? Do we move from one tragedy to another too quickly or too slowly? Or are too many Americans getting angry and depressed about the situation, because it’s culturally acceptable to get upset about people dying for terror and hate, even though they’ve already accepted it as part of life?

Being logical and strong is great, but don’t let this generation become so desensitized that they let terror control their world. It’s no longer reasonable thinking, but a lack of caring. Why? Why should possible danger and death be so acceptable in our lives? This is no longer just a fight against how the government runs things or how law enforcers go above the law or how people are fighting back by destroying their own neighborhoods.

This is a fight to break the American mold of thinking. If all these disasters and tragedies have occurred in the last year alone, how massive will the final attack be before people realize the problem is in us?


  1. I often ask myself whether I'd recognise a dystopian situation if it was actually happening. News coverage often feels like a movie, it's hard to feel emotionally involved with everything that's going on. If we did we'd probably crumble into depression, but it's also taking away our ability to be moved by anything at all.

    1. I love how you said that. It's true: if we're too involved emotionally, then how are we supposed to function at all with depression and anxiety? However, I feel like there should also be safety and comfort within whatever city/state/country a person lives in and right now, the U.S. is not that place for most individuals. While this society wouldn't be deemed as dystopian based on current YA bestsellers or even Orwell and Zamyatin standards because it is not "extreme" enough just yet, does that mean we sit back and wait for it to get that bad? Or should we try to break free before it becomes something that's on everybody's front porch?

      Thank you so much for your insight! I love following you on Twitter and hearing about dystopian awesomeness :)

    2. Thanks! Your blog is amazing really love reading your posts.