We Need to Care

By:  Kara Haselton

I walked into Target and was browsing the clothing section when I came across some ripped jeans that had words already sewn into the fabric, mimicking our middle school selves when we used to write on our jeans thinking it was “cool” and “edgy.” The phrase? “#Don’tCare.”

Why does our generation try so hard to come across with the attitude of not caring? Why is the anthem of our generation a silently expressed song of apathy? When did it become cool to be indifferent about everything?

I’m an incredibly passionate person. It’s possible that this has been shown, in a small way, through various aspects during my lifetime. But that doesn’t exclude the fact that even as a child, while I wasn’t able to put the feeling into words, I remember that caring deeply about something was often looked down upon. I remember being implicitly taught — by peers, teachers, and even parents at times — that people must blend in. They can care about whatever they would like, but they mustn’t let it show. We should all sit quietly, neatly in a row, having our own opinions and interests kept all to ourselves. But why do we, as a society, feel this way?

Everyone cares about something. It’s in our nature as human beings to care, to feel, to think, to express, to communicate. These qualities are those that separate us from animals. They’re important. They should be exercised. If people didn’t care about technology and machines, we wouldn’t have the latest iPhone. If people didn’t care about the environment, we wouldn’t have national parks. If people didn’t care about animals, we would hunt all of them for sport. If people didn’t care about each other, we wouldn’t have doctors. If people didn’t care, we wouldn’t be people.

The idea that you have to act apathetic and indifferent and inhuman to be “cool” is awful. The fact that students have to complain about their classes and teachers in order to have “conversations” and “make friends” is stupid. Everyone enjoys learning. Whether it’s world history or calculus or workshop, people like gaining knowledge – even if they deny it. Why should we deny it? Why should we express how much we hate this class and how tired we are in order to make small talk and seem like we have better things to do than learn something interesting?

But it seems that even the things we care about and become consumed with are meaningless. Things like making sure our aesthetic on instagram is just right. Or making ourselves seem cool by tweeting about how much we hate school and love food. Not only that, but we all seem to have the same interests. Weird, huh? If that’s true, are the things that we all “care about” actually our interests, or do we just say we care about them in order to fit in and relate?

We call the person who loves to ask questions in American History “annoying.” We call the person who cares a lot about environmentalism “irrelevant.” We call the person who always talks about computer programming “obsessive.”

Those who put down other people who freely express their passions have simply been denied the right to claim their own.

Even if you disagree with people and their passions, we can respect them.

Care about something.

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