By Erika Gill, Reflection –
sensitive and grossly insensitive, with double standards and ignorant people who just won't shut
I find it absolutely liberating and lovely that we are able to say just about whatever we
want and can express our opinions to the fullest without being thrown in prison or killed.
In many countries, a person’s view on the world is snuffed out by the dictatorship and
evilness of others. We are so lucky to have a privilege that is denied to many, and yet we take
advantage of this, myself included.
One of the beautiful things about college is that we walk in with all of our varied
opinions and are able to enter into friendly, intellectual combat with students who may believe
We are able to have our beliefs tested and perhaps end up leaving with other perspectives
we never once thought of.
Yet it is extremely frustrating when some students feel the need to belittle and cut down
their classmates, just because they don’t like their view on something, or simply don't understand
This kind of self-absorbed attitude makes it harder on shy or sensitive people who are
already afraid to speak up. Those people make others feel that their opinions don't matter.
The truth is, they do matter. What we believe shapes who we are, and it is simply not fair
to prevent someone from sharing that.
People are going to say offensive and disgusting things, and they are going to spew out
thoughts that are appalling or just plain unmindful. Some perceptions are going to make us angry
and others are going to make us scratch our heads in bewilderment.
However, it is motivating and should light the fire under us to challenge their opinions
with our own. Iowa Rep. Steve King recently made several benighted comments about how we
as a country need to stop trying to rebuild Western civilization with “somebody else's babies”
(referring to minorities and whites procreating, as well as minorities and immigrants).
When asked to clarify what he meant, he responded that he meant exactly what he said.
His comments were ridiculous and made in poor taste, yet I am glad he said what he thinks
because it gives us the invitation to either throw his thoughts to the wolves or validate him.
I have always been timid in my convictions because I am terrified of the idea of someone
disagreeing with me and receiving a verbal beatdown as a result. I oftentimes will listen to what
others have to say, and only speak up if my opinion is one of the same. How ludicrous is that?
Yes, I don't want to step on toes and confrontation stinks, but speaking our own truths
gives others the go-ahead to do the same. Just like we may not share the same tastes in music or
movie genres, we may not hold the same values or beliefs. We are free to both agree and
disagree with each other, and that is evidence of a colorful and versatile world.