Sunday, June 28, 2015

Agent of Change

Image result for excessive heat warning

First I have to say, that yesterday morning I posted that I was going on an adventure. Unfortunately it was just too damn hot! I did go to Buffalo Wild Wings and had a beer and some wings with the group, but as we stepped out the air-conditioned bar into the 112 degree heat all plans of trekking through the streets of Las Vegas melted into a soggy pool and evaporated as soon as it hit the scalding hot concrete. The heat here sucks the life and drive out of a person. We all had good intentions to roam aimlessly through the little trodden paths of Las Vegas, but ended up calling it a night around 7pm. The spirit of the adventure was there, but the body was not willing to brave the heat.

So, sitting here this Sunday morning I was somewhat perplexed as what I should write about. Then I Googled the words “Agent of Change”. This seems to be a catch phrase for a lot of  different things.   
Agent of Change even has its own definition:
A person or thing that encourages people to change their behavior or opinions:

Such as: Two important studies have emphasized that students can be agents of change through learning and teaching.
“Agent of Change” has its own song which is sung at elementary schools across the nation:

Norman Rockwell's depiction of Ruby going to School
Ruby Bridges being escorted from school
I found that this phrase while it has been around for a while, as far as I can see it cropped up between 1965-68 and was used in a social context during the racial tensions and major equal right movements of the 1960's. One famous Agent of Change was a little girl, Ruby Nell Bridges, she is the first black Child to attend an all-white elementary school in Louisiana.  In 1960 Ruby then six years old, was escorted to and from school by Marshals while being taunted by angry mobs. At 60 years old Ruby is still an activist in civil rights. In November of last year Ruby was quoted in the Huffington Post  NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Civil rights pioneer Ruby Bridges says "America today looks a lot like the world she helped break apart 54 years ago: A nation with segregated schools and racial tension".  Debbie Lisle writes "this encounter with difference reveals so much about the shifting authorities that divide us from them, here from there, and the present from the past", her view points on engaging in cultural difference in Travel writing, suggest that we in society become Agents for Change, whether in the way we write as Travelers or as Citizens of this world.
This  image belongs to Staford Public Schools

 Since 2008  Agent of Change has become a catch phrase for everything from business expansion to fighting online sexual exploitation, to changing racial relationships and in this class applying it to the modes of travel.
Google found about 750,000,000 results for the phrase "Agents of Change" the overall ideology behind it is that we as human beings 
must change our behaviors in order to appreciate and thrive in the
world around us. (Disclaimer: I did not go through all 750,000,000
 results, the sites became repetitive after about 20 pages).
The questions about being an Agent of Change posed for
discussion and contemplation are:

  • How does your involvement or the involvement of somebody you know help us understand what it means to be an"Agent of Change" as a traveler?  
  • How can we inform ourselves about the best ways to be agents of change?
If I start with the definition; I find that it is very vague
and ambiguous. "A person or thing that encourages people to change their behavior or opinions":
How does one begin to have the understanding to become a person
of change? Throughout our readings there has been an underlying 
sense of the idea of understanding through immersion, acceptance 
through learning, and tolerance through progressive fairness.
How can the traveler apply these ideas into travel and travel writing,
 for me personally, Ricks Steves idea of traveling beyond the beaten
 path. Go into the culture of the place you are visiting learn the 
culture,learn to appreciate the people for their struggles, 
their wisdoms,their differences and their beauty.
Make a difference by sharing who we are past the “Single Story”. 
Leave a place with a better understand of who you have encountered
 and a better understanding of who you are. As  Rick Steves says
 we are more similar than different, we all have "baggage". 
We must unpack that baggage through communication, 
cultural acceptance, and  mutual respect. 
Then we can truly be Agents of Change.

  Agents of Change: Cambridge.dictionary.Org. 
Chimamanda Adichie "The Danger of A Single Story

Rick Steves, Travel as a Political Act. 
Debbie Lisles, Engaging in the political: contemporary
travel writing and the ethics of difference.