This is about the Kony 2012 campaign video by Invisible Children that went viral on Tuesday.
Most of you have probably already seen it as the hashtag trended and it was reposted by millions on Facebook and who knows what other social media.
I did it. I watched it. Reacted emotionally and reposted it without knowing anything about the issue, the organization or their operations.
I thought "wow, I'll show this to my grade 8s and what a great discussion we'll have, what a teachable moment."
Yes it's a teachable moment for sure but I'll be approaching it a little differently than I was thinking right after I watched it. You see, I didn't think critically about it at all and critical thinking is what I feel is the main purpose of education. Ouch!
My friend Tammy started me thinking when she posted a few links to blogs and tweets that opened my eyes about how naively and emotionally I was thinking (or not thinking). These links led to information about the organization. Information that would have made me think twice before sharing the video.
For example, most of the money raised by Invisible Children goes to executive salaries and movie making expenses. OK, that's par for the course with a lot of charities. Worse, they are funding the Ugandan government which has used the same tactics as Kony's militia uses. Rape, pillage, child soldiers, etc.
Then I read a blog post by Shelley Wright at Wright's room. I've been reading her blog for a long time. I respect her. A lot. What really struck me in her post was her reference to how this smacks of colonialism. Rich white guys over simplifying a problem and trying to "fix" it through military force and trying to force politicians in Washington to intervene. We all know what the history of Western intervention has led to in the past.
I still don't know if Kony 2012 is good, bad or in between. I couldn't possibly understand the issues in just a few hours of online research.
I'll let you do further research if you wish to. This is a good place to start.
The real point of this post is that I did not think at all. I shared something on Facebook based on my emotional reaction and felt like I was doing something. I wasn't. I am a slacktivist. So basically I'm promoting something I knew nothing about. I certainly would not have shared had I known that some of the money supports a military that rapes, kidnaps and murders its citizens.
Slactivists don't walk the walk. I talk the talk and I shuffle a bit. I repost things. I tweet. I compost. I buy some used clothing (but I also buy new clothes made in Asia that likely are made by children). I own gadgets that have diamond products in them from Africa, slave labour.
What makes this doubly sad is that I have a Political Science degree.