Shawn Murray | Staff Writer
College is a time in our lives when we are seeking a higher education in a freethinking academic environment. It is seen as a transition phase into the real world. We find out a lot about ourselves through experimentation and formulation of a mindset that we can become comfortable with for the latter years of our lives. These are the years in which we find out who we are and how our true potential has an affect on this world upon graduation.
One way many college students set out to affect the world is by becoming active in their respective communities in some way, shape or form. Whether it is by marching for justice as many did for the Trayvon Martin case, or bringing awareness to impoverished areas of the world including here in the United States. The point is, everyone wants to stand for something that he or she feels is important to the community, no matter how big or small the issue.
Because of this desire to be down for a cause, many in the college age group are standing for something that they are not fully informed about. Even more so, it has become a common practice for students to take a phrase and run with it, using it in various contexts in which it does not belong.
Ashley Davis, a senior studying Political Science, created a term for this phenomenon. She calls it, “sound bite activism”, in which people take something that they hear, and if it sounds good, relate that idea to situations in which it is not applicable.
Davis first coined the term during a Twitter rant about how her fellow students took the idea of Toni Thorpe, who is a respected figure in the black community here at NCSU, and ran wild with it as though it was their own thought. “Mama Thorpe said the date auction is reminiscent to slavery,” said Davis. “People don’t want to pay for the date auction tickets because they’re being cheap, so they’re excuse is ‘oh it reminds me of slavery, so I’m not going to go’”.
Davis said, “I can’t respect sound bite activist because they’re not using their own original thoughts.” She continued with, “You’re taking what you heard and are no longer thinking for yourself. Instead, you’re waiting for others to think for you.”
Davis does however have a solution. She encourages students to start formulating ideas and thoughts on their own. “Educate yourself before you start talking. Stop basing your opinions off of the thoughts of others and learn for yourself.”
NCSU is the autobahn of innovation, and we, as students, are here for a reason, to create ideas that will make this world a better place. Students have to realize that they have a true potential within themselves in order to change the world and leave a big legacy. We go to a school where “Red means Go”, where nothing can stop us from being the next big thing.