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"(Un)Knowing Poverty" by the charismatic Ananya Roy.

This is one of the most wise, smart and courageous discussions I have heard on poverty and our relation to it. Roy deconstructs the “relational” aspect we construct or inherit as part of how we know the world. While this is addressed to “millennials” of the West, I believe this applies to all millennials within a Western public sphere including all of us getting Western-style education back in the East.

This reminds me of my own questions when I walk the streets of Beirut and encounter people begging for money or assistance. While a few people offer so little money to help, the dominant discourse is “why don’t you go get a job!” People tend to dismiss how the same system that privileges them discriminates against their fellow “citizens.” Eventually, it is not the self-enacted joblessness that exacerbates poverty and need but the system that rewards the rich and impoverishes the poor.

"My students belong to a can-do generation of socially conscious millennials who want to catalyze change, who want to undertake poverty action. Central to their ethics of global citizenship is a sense of responsibility towards what feminist geographer Doreen Massey has called spatially distant neighbors. But millennials who have a deep empathy for poverty on  a distant continent are often less keen to know the poverty that exists at home. They want to volunteer in the slums of India, but they squirm at their encounter with the homeless panhandler on the streets of the liberal city of Berkeley…the poor at home we have rendered foreign through our ways of knowing poverty.”  Ananya Roy

No Selfie Control | Next Magazine

"We live in a media-immersed world where the average adult spends roughly five hours each waking day consuming social media. It is time to consider how these “tools” to connect have actually isolated us as a community from what it means to love ourselves."

"Researchers have been studying the psychological effects of social media on our brains and it has never been clearer that we’re anxious because we’re never able to take a step back from ourselves. We’re constantly comparing ourselves to the slick versions of themselves our peers are projecting online."

"It seems like gay men at large have been grappling with this predicament over self-image and self-validation for years, but it may have gotten even worse in the age of sexting, Grindr and Instagram. Findings have shown that two-thirds of gay youth use technology in order to connect with those of their similar sexual orientation. It seems curious that a group trying so hard to be heard has found that the best way to do so is to send out a battle cry with a hushed mouse click. With every topless photo we post, or every status update we write about how fat we feel, we are crying out for affirmation. We are begging to be told we’re beautiful, that we’re sexy and that we’re worthy of love."

How Black Gays Can Build Better Communities Through Social Networking


So, I sorta-kinda wrote this article for Mused Magazine. Read. Share. Comment. Discuss. 

Great article! I hope it gets widely read and engenders the kind of relating and community you mentioned.

Coming out is a reason to celebrate, not to criticize. Each of us (hopefully) gets there eventually, on our own time. Some are fortunate* enough to share their sexuality with family and friends without the entire world watching. Not Ricky. So while this isn’t an act of heroism, it is an act of courageousness.
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