Oh hi, I’m back! I spend a lot of time mentally composing blog posts but forget that it is harder to share them when they’re just in my head…
So something I’ve been thinking about recently is whose students’ union it is.
NUS have been doing some really interesting work on talking to students like they’re selfish (as in don’t do that), part of which talks about using our/you/we and who is included/excluded from those.
The one I’m particularly interested in at the moment is the use of ‘your students’ union’ because I don’t think I like it.
I’ve used it loads in the past – hey it looks inclusive, hey we want you to know you’re part of this too, hey if we say it enough times maybe people will start to believe it. Our email newsletter used to come from ‘Your Students’ Union’, we refer to ‘Your Officers’ and it crops up all over the place. I thought it was familiar and would indoctrinate people into thinking they truly were ‘Their Officers’.
Now I’m not so sure.
Like, if someone tells me they’re my something and I don’t feel like they really are then I instantly feel annoyed by their presumptiveness. Who are you to tell me that you’re my anything?!
What if we’re alienating people at the very times we’re trying to make them feel included?
If I like you and we have some sort of prior connection then maybe but even then isn’t it a bit weird?
Isn’t it a bit like someone you meet on a train telling you they’re your stranger on a train? No mate, you’re just a stranger talking to me on a train. Don’t do that. I’m terribly British about that.
You may well be my city council but if you’re not taking away the recycling often enough then you signing your letters ‘Your Council’ doesn’t make me like you any more. If I couldn’t pick your officer out of a line-up and/or I don’t know what they’ve done for me then they’re not really My Officer. Telling me they are all the time doesn’t make it true.
I’ve started thinking that you only get to call yourself someone’s something if you’ve earned that and if they believe it too. I don’t think it is causal. I don’t think you can ‘I’m yours’ your way into someone’s life or heart.
It’s like when people say ‘don’t tell me you’re funny, make me laugh’. If we’re so busy being presumptive about our relationship with people by telling them something maybe we’re not spending enough time actually doing stuff that will make them feel like they belong.
Or maybe I’m wrong.
What do you think?