Gen-Z Will Save Us All, That’s Why They’re Being Censored

By Sam Judy | Dallas Weekly Magazine

As the TikTok Ban makes its way to the US Senate, progressive organizations on college campuses advocating for Palestine are targets of a new resolution signed into law by Gov. Greg Abbott. Generation-Z, with higher rates of diversity, civic engagement, and education, could be the spark that manifests a radical shift in US politics. And that’s precisely why our current political leaders fear them.

One thing the United States government hates with a fiery, intense passion – more than terrorism, more than world hunger, and more than homelessness – is a constituent educated to the unsavory aspects of western culture and politics.

I don’t think this, I know this. How else could you explain legislation on a social media platform, primarily distinct as it’s become an oasis for progressive awakening and radicalization, advancing faster and with more bipartisan support than policies like marijuana legalization, universal healthcare, or divestment from foreign wars, that are well-received across the political spectrum?

Even as congressional action will progress slowly on this legislative initiative, it’s considered widely to be largely agreeable within the halls of the House and the Senate building. It’s like Nancy says, “Tic-tac-toe, a winner. A winner.”

But unintelligible ramblings from someone’s grandmother aside, the high-ranking Democrat and Ronald Reagan fan speaks subjectively on the TikTok ban when stating that this “is not an attempt to ban TikTok, it’s an attempt to make TikTok better.” Because what’s good for the US government is not always good for the people of this country.

So no, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that a platform mainly used by young Americans, who have either just entered the political sphere or are approaching it, is being treated as a potential digital center for propaganda because government entities can less effectively censor its content.

Aside from government rhetoric on TikTok holding racist undertones, a ban of the platform would be a hit directed against Generation-Z. Our current political leaders, many of whom have made careers on blocking critical and consequential legislation to appease lobbyists, hold an enormous fear for younger voters.

Younger voters, Gen-Z in particular, are less likely to go along with the status quo. They are less likely to follow the reasoning that the political establishment lays out for why our policies are so regressive compared to the rest of the world.

Whether this is related to the false depiction of universal healthcare as inefficient and ineffective, Nestle misleading consumers and lawmakers to prevent the establishment of federally-required paid maternity leave, or AIPAC’s normalization of Zionism through infiltration of American politics, Gen-Z is not taking the bait. And distinctively, Gen-Z doesn’t seem to be going the way of the former hippies of the Baby Boom or the previously anti-establishment modern beatniks of Generation-X. In fact, they’re doubling down once they leave college.

In both Texas and the United States overall, as educational spaces are typically seen as a catalyst for political awakening, college campuses are similarly receiving a significant amount of scrutiny. Gov. Greg Abbott recently signed a bill into law cracking down on ‘anti-semitism’ on college campuses.

Students for Justice in Palestine at the University of Texas at Dallas have been particularly active in organizing spaces. Working closely with other national organizations like Palestinian Youth Movement and the Party for Socialism and Liberation to organize demonstrations advocating for the people of Palestine and condemning the actions of Israel, students are under threat of censorship from their university and even expulsion, as outlined by Abbott’s measure.

“By misrepresenting pro-Palestinian demands for justices, he tarnishes the reputation of Palestinian and pro-Palestinian activists while claiming to protect students’ rights,“ SJP of UTD said in a statement last month. “[Abbott] is aware that student-led organizing for Palestinian freedom is a rapidly growing movement across our connected Texas campuses, and he purposefully seeks to silence our voices.”

While UT Austin made headlines for sanctioning students for pro-Palestinian activism, schools in California and Tennessee have had students arrested following advocacy for the people of Gaza. This confirms that Texas is not an anomaly with its crackdown on ‘anti-semitism.’

But ‘anti-semitism’ in this sense is simply a dog whistle for anti-Zionism. Ironically, the conflation of Judaism with Zionism shows parallels with the repurposing of the swastika as Nazi imagery from its previous context across Hindu, Buddhist, and Indigenous American faiths as a symbol of peace and prosperity.

Zionism, a bipartisan colonial and nationalist movement, is being more widely rejected by Gen-Z than any other age group. For many people, realizing anti-Zionist belief is a gateway to rejecting the colonial system overall. The United States, a colonial empire, does not like that.

The United States being a colonial empire is not an opinion. When you assess its actions across its 400-year history, you’ll find commonalities in policy from the extermination and displacement of Indigenous and Black populations with current struggles in Puerto Rico, the Sudan, the Philippines, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

My opinion though, is that a largely peaceful demographic arguing for human rights to be censored by a government that profits from war, genocide, and displacement shows a troublingly-wide moral dichotomy that designates that peaceful demographic as being in a position of enormous power and purpose. The facet of generational change makes this political wave inevitable in its influence.

Gen-Z enters the political stage with more clarity and greater respect for scientific and liberal arts institutions rather than business and commerce and more regard for workers than CEOs, owners, and landlords. This, paired with authoritarian attitudes against criticism for the government and its allies, sets an inevitable civic confrontation if lawmakers fail to rein in Gen-Z’s political awakening and radicalism. Who knows, maybe Gen-Z will completely transform our political system as they grow and develop as individuals in American society.

The US House of Representatives just passed a resolution condemning the rallying cry “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” as an antisemitic phrase with a majority vote of 377-44-1. With this, Congress continues to actively work against young pro-Palestinian activists by painting their support for liberation as a terroristic threat. As a pattern is beginning to take shape, we’re likely to see more and more legislation that imposes an authoritarian will on the people of the United States. Especially young activists hoping to make significant changes to the political system of this country.

As far as the government sees it, the kids are not alright. But with a big brother like this, what’s the point of good behavior?

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