How many times have we said “that sounds like a you problem” or “that’s not my problem?” How many times have we told someone “it doesn’t affect me, so it doesn’t matter?” How many times have we chosen to ignore an issue because we didn’t want to deal with it?
How many times have we believed that ignorance is bliss? The answer to all of these questions is "too many." As a society, we have allowed for ignorance to take us all over, leaving no room for societal growth. Sure, there is still development in society, but at what expense? A majority of our growth has been driven by personal needs. We move forward for the sole reason that individuals decide to pursue their own happiness, but while moving forward, we have ignored all the problems that we have created. Our ignorance towards societal welfare has led us to create certain problems that are almost unsolvable. The divide that has been created by certain ideologies of discrimination such as racism, sexism, or culturism has led to the belittling of certain groups and the suffering of many others. We live in a world where we marginalize women, call certain races inferior, or ignore specific cultures. Yes, we have addressed these problems to an extent, but the issues still exist, and we cannot continue to ignore them in hopes that they will go away. There are people who are negatively affected by discrimination, and no matter how small that group of people may be, they deserve our attention.
Two weeks ago, my school had a culture show called Harambee, which was put on by the Black Student Union. The show incorporated a variety of different dances, poems, as well as a play called Pipeline. It was after watching this play and having a discussion with my friends that I realized how little importance society has given to the issues discussed and to the direct effects it has had on some people, including my best friends. I know I was ignorant before the show because I knew the issue was there, but I never bothered to acknowledge it or change it. It especially struck me when my best friends told me about their experiences, and I realized how ignorant I had been about that aspect of them. I’ve never belittled them because of who they are, but I’ve never fully acknowledged it either. I didn’t let it affect me, for better or worse, and in my opinion, that was a mistake. They deserve my attention, and their culture and race deserve respect, not ignorance.
For too long we have let ourselves ignore the truth. As a nation, as a world, we have problems. We have created a world where people are divided by race, gender, culture, beliefs. We have separated mankind, and we have only let our ignorance continue to further that divide. No more. No longer. We may not all agree on everything, but we all have the capabilities of acknowledging and respecting each other’s beliefs. And that is all we have to do. While we can never change each other’s perspectives, if we stop ignoring each other’s desires, and if we think of society as a whole, we can move forward. We can reduce the problems we have created. We can become whole again.