I’m sure some people will argue with my title…

But really—Confucianism really is the bane of my existence, and here’s why:

Confucianism puts up barriers to action, which means that it slows down the process of social activism. In my eyes, anything that slows down the process of social change is a problem. These cultural slivers exist in Asian society through the observance of elders-first absolutism.

I run into this problem in my community. The problem of following Confucius is that it is difficult to introduce new ideas. Sometimes ideas are rejected solely on the fact that it ‘has not been done before’. In the end, the ‘elders’ have the last say.

Of course, this is not new to young activists—sometimes the community sees them as green, and perhaps it takes longer to see that their ideas might work. However, the difference between this and absolute elders-first is that in one case respect can be earned, while in the other, age is the sole factor alone.

Progressive thinking is also sometimes hard. I ran into this problem when I was trying to organize a protest in my community. I had discovered that the community had always talked about protesting, but when the time came to action, no one had stepped up to lead. In the end, the student groups had to mobilize.

The other problem is the nagging persistence of a patriarchal system. Many of the elders presently have a hard time believing that female leaders are effective because they are used to male leaders. This makes women fight twice as hard to have a voice and not be used as a token presence or another ‘pretty face’.

The partial solution is a little bit sad: in order to mobilize quickly, I organize without the blessing of the traditional community. It is easier to plan when one isn’t being bogged down with in-fighting and deferring to unknowledgeable people (in one case, I had had complaints that I did not consult the community in one of my campaigns; a digital one. When I did ask for their thoughts, they didn’t have any as they had no idea how to run a non-traditional campaign). It is something I look at in dismay as I am trying to bridge the community, not disrespect it. I wonder if I am fragmenting it or not.

The other solution is to create a space on WorldPulse that allows for fresh ideas from other communities. I doubt that mine is the only one that is suffering and reaching out online is a good way to find ways to fix it.

I am only at the beginning of discovering more ways to utilize PulseWire, but I suppose it is what a journey is supposed to be anyway. In the future I hope that I can use it to bridge a path between the old and new—Confucianist or otherwise.

Take action! This post was submitted in response to Voices of Our Future Application: Challenges and Solutions to Creating Change.

Comment on this Post

Comments

It's great that you want to stay connected with your elders and your culture while you carve out a new space for yourself - and that you ask questions while you move forward. I wish you all the best for your next steps!

Andrea

The title draws the reader's immediate attention to your piece; it made me very interested in why you chose it as a title and your reasoning. The article did not disappoint! Although it is a hard problem, I think the solutions that you have worked out will definitely work to helping in the future!

I enjoyed reading your journal entry. You are realistic about what it takes to achieve what you want. Sometimes activists have to usurp some age-old traditions to make sustainable change. Good luck!

Amy