Katia Hildebrandt suggests that it is educators’ “responsibility to risk [their] privilege to give voice to those who have no privilege to risk”. Her statement is powerful. I have the privilege to give voice to anything; I have a blog, I have a Twitter account, and I am an educator. Do I want to risk my privilege to help people who don’t have the same access to online communication that I do?
Exactly two years ago, I attended a talk about North Korea at the University of Regina. History and geography are not my strongest skills, so (surprise, surprise!) I had never heard about the issues North Korean people are facing before that talk. I came back home in shock. I started making donations to this cause, and I read as many blog posts, articles, and books about North Korea that I could find. However, I was afraid. I did not know if it was okay to try to help North Korean people. I did not know how having the two words “North Korea” attached to my name would affect my career as an educator. I was not sure if helping people escape from North Korea was the best way to help North Koreans. Slowly, I stopped reading things about North Korea, and I cancelled my monthly donations. When we were talking about social justice and the use of technology to support social change, I thought about my desire to help North Koreans. I may not be able to help them directly, but I have the privilege to give voice to this issue and help other people become aware of what is happening in this country.
After our last class, I thought, will I have the courage to attach the two words “North Korea” to my new blog and make this stroke on my digital footprint? Well, here I am. I decided it is time to rethink how I am using my privilege in the online world. It is time to choose the causes I want to give voice to. It is time to remember that my digital presence is an important piece of the wisdom of crowds. According to James Surowiecki, collective wisdom shapes societies. The things I choose to write about here, and the things I choose not to write here, say a lot about how I want to engage in social change.
Tayler is asking herself if she could be doing more online than checking the news. Shelby reflects on educators’ responsibility to model online activism. Let me know how our last class influenced your decision to engage in digital activism. Are you afraid of speaking up?