This past week we travelled to take our daughter on her first college tours. It was a fascinating experience, and afforded me the opportunity to dust off my undergraduate sociology and cultural anthropology studies. I find social systems as fascinating as I find people tiring, so it was a joy to be in a position where I was expected to be a diligent observer 1.
In fact, my daughter came up with perhaps the best observation of one of the schools the evening after our visit.
This school attracts three kinds of people: slackers, activists, and people who actually care.
This insight impressed me. Many people, especially in this charged environment, equate “caring” with activism. But the reality is much murkier than that. People’s motivations, even among the politically active, can range from true belief all the way down to a selfish desire to belong. That my daughter, who has strong political opinions, is able to pick up on this makes me very glad indeed. It leads me to think she’ll do well post high school.
- You get less funny looks. ↩