Unism is the start of a new participatory culture, which solidifies the open-minded and well-intended among us: the millions and millions of otherwise non-categorizable, non-affiliated people who are not satisfied with the state of disharmony, predation, and warfare we exist in. Unism is for those of us, all across the world, who seek to move beyond the limitations of our current societies, mentalities, and ideologies, and into a future not poisoned by ancient hatreds, outdated attitudes, and unreasonable disparities between the most and least fortunate among us.
Here is an excerpt from Henry Jenkins’ “White Paper,” in actuality titled, Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture, wherein he and his co-authors shed light on how this New Generation of technologically literate persons are the least politically and societally represented, while being the most capable, reasonable, and qualified. It’s time we understand our capacity for absolute unity, in ways that restore power to the people, so that it will not remain constrained to the wills of the few.
Buckingham (2000) argues that young people’s lack of interest in news and their disconnection from politics reflects their perception of disempowerment.“By and large, young people are not defined by society as political subjects, let alone as political agents. Even in the areas of social life that affect and concern them to a much greater extent than adults—most notably education—political debate is conducted almost entirely ‘over their heads’” (pp. 218-219).
Politics, as constructed by the news, becomes a spectator sport, something we watch but do not do. Yet, the new participatory culture offers many opportunities for youth to engage in civic debates, to participate in community life, to become political leaders, even if sometimes only through the “second lives” offered by massively multiplayer games or online fan communities.
Empowerment comes from making meaningful decisions within a real civic context: we learn the skills of citizenship by becoming political actors and gradually coming to understand the choices we make in political terms. Today’s children learn through play the skills they will apply to more serious tasks later. The challenge is how to connect decisions in the context of our everyday lives with the decisions made at local, state, or national levels. The step from watching television news and acting politically seems greater than the transition from being a political actor in a game world to acting politically in the “real world.”
Jenkins, H., Clinton, K., Purushotma, R., Robison, A. J., & Weigel, M. (2006). Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
Thus, we have started our Calls To Inaction. If you are engaged in civic/political personas via a videogame or other simulation, you are steps ahead. But for those of us still watching television news, literally or figuratively, there are steps to take that will start to offer you that sense of empowerment which is so very vital to a gratifying life as a human being.
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