Censor Me

Censor Me

Nobody can be expected to change the world when they got half of an education - especially when it wasn't even the challenging, thought-provoking half.
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John Locke, a famous Enlightenment philosopher whose writings influenced the Declaration of Independence, once said, "The only fence against the world is a thorough knowledge of it". And especially, in a world that has become seemingly more hostile and convoluted, today's education of our world - holistically - should be top priority.

Now, more than ever, we should focus on preparing our kids to deal with an unknown, dangerous world that is ever changing. Now, more than ever, we should talk about the uncomfortable subjects and analyze the history that we as humans have lived and created so that the future are prepared if and when it repeats.

Are we doing that?

Well... no.

Within the school systems are required reading books per grade level, each level being organized by a central theme that dictates the list of books that are read. One of the most anticipated books, and, in my opinion, one of the best that is read in school, is a book called Columbine by Dave Cullen. The book - predictably - analyzes the school bombing/shooting, but it also goes more in depth about everything - who the shooters were, what they had intended to happen, who the victims were, the aftermath, etc. It is extremely well written, and it focuses on a theme that, unfortunately, seems only to be growing in prevalence.

And parents have decided that this is too sensitive of a subject to be read, complaining that it is "disturbing" and "inappropriate", and it is now being moved to an optional read.

Besides the obvious dig that presents itself - that, for a generation that looks down on the current high school kids for being "overly sensitive, close-minded snowflakes", this is a pretty close-minded sensitive statement to make - one has to just stop for a second. When did education become about learning what was comfortable? Why should we learn only about what we want to learn about?

Jewish people do not choose to skip the Holocaust lessons, although I'm sure that that is a disturbing topic to discuss in depth for many people. Nobody avoids discussing slavery, even though I'm sure it's lovely to hear about the oppression of your ancestors. Columbine was legitimate history. It happened. People died. Just like both of the aforementioned historical events. And it is equally important that everyone is aware that it happened, especially high school kids whose peers - and I'm knocking on wood as I say this - could possibly be considering something similar. (I really hope not, but there was a threat at my school about a year and a half ago)

I recognize that you have the ability to censor your own child's knowledge, and if you'd prefer they not get their mind disturbed with modern, relevant history, that's your prerogative. But when you start raising hell and waving fists, you affect everybody's education. Because of you, children who are growing up to change the world (yours included) are missing out on exposure to world events and new points of view that could potentially be relevant later in life. Wouldn't it be better for somebody to read a book that freaked them out a little bit but allowed them to see the signs of the planning of a school shooting now? That's what education is for, at least.

Perhaps you'd prefer your child not to know about these things, but I believe education should be free and open, and everybody who gave permission to be interviewed and included in that book - who was personally, irrevocably affected by the events and thoughts that were written down and shared with the world - believe in that same principle. They believe their stories could possibly change the future for the better. As Neal Donald Walsch once said, "Life begins at the end of your comfort zone". Being afraid to hear about history is a limitation you are imposing on yourself, and, by virtue of your sensitivity, you are censoring everyone else's education.

Literature is meant to be an escape. Throughout history, people have used expressive writing to put their thoughts and feelings into a shareable media that is relateable and understandable. It IS the softer way to hear history. And other people would like the benefits of the education that comes from a class reading of a novel - discussions, classwork, etc. - that you do not have the right to take from them. Talk to your children if something disturbs you; hiding from the world does not mean it doesn't exist.

There can be no democracy without freedom of speech, and there can be no freedom of speech when people get censored. Please, respect others' rights to education. Nobody can be expected to change the world when they got half of an education - especially when it wasn't even the challenging, thought-provoking half.

Cover Image Credit: List Challenges

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I'm The College Girl Who Likes Trump And Hates Feminism, And Living On A Liberal Campus Is Terrifying

I will not sugarcoat it: I don't feel safe on my own campus.

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I will get right to the point: being a conservative on a liberal college campus in 2019 downright terrifying.

At my university, I'm sure about 90% of the population, both students and faculty, are liberals. They are very outspoken, never afraid to express their views, opinions, and feelings in several ways. There are pride events for the LGBT community, a huge celebration for MLK day, and tons of events for feminists.

Then there's the minority: the conservatives. The realists. The "racists," "bigots," and "the heartless." I am everything the liberals absolutely despise.

I like Donald Trump because he puts America first and is actually getting things done. He wants to make our country a better place.

I want a wall to keep illegals out because I want my loved ones and me to be safe from any possible danger. As for those who are genuinely coming here for a better life, JUST FILL OUT THE PAPERWORK INSTEAD OF SNEAKING AROUND.

I'm pro-life; killing an infant at nine months is inhumane to me (and yet liberals say it's inhumane to keep illegals out…but let's not get into that right now).

I hate feminism. Why? Because modern feminism isn't even feminism. Slandering the male species and wanting to take down the patriarchy is just ridiculous.

I hate the media. I don't trust anyone in it. I think they are all biased, pathological liars. They purposely make our president look like the devil himself, leaving out anything good he does.

I will not sugarcoat it: I don't feel safe on my own campus.

I mostly keep my opinions to myself out of fear. When I end up getting one of my "twisted" and "uneducated" thoughts slip out, I cringe, waiting for the slap in the face.

Don't get me wrong; not everyone at my university is hostile to those who think differently than they do.

I've shared my opinions with some liberal students and professors before, and there was no bloodshed. Sure, we may not see eye to eye, but that's okay. That just means we can understand each other a little better.

Even though the handful of students and faculty I've talked to were able to swallow my opinions, I'm still overwhelmed by the thousands of other people on campus who may not be as kind and attentive. But you can't please everybody. That's just life.

Your school is supposed to be a safe environment where you can be yourself. Just because I think differently than the vast majority of my peers doesn't mean I deserve to be a target for ridicule. No one conservative does. Scratch that, NO ONE DOES.

I don't think I'll ever feel safe.

Not just on campus, but anywhere. This world is a cruel place. All I can do is stand firm in my beliefs and try to tolerate and listen to the clashing opinions of others. What else can I do?

All I can say is... listen. Be nice. Be respectful of other's opinions, even if you strongly disagree. Besides, we all do have one thing in common: the desire for a better country.

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Dear Young Voices Of America, Stand Up, Speak Up, And Do Something

Our time is now.

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Dear young voices of America, I think we can both agree that we are sick of being told we are America's future while simultaneously being told our opinions don't matter. Now I personally do not listen to the people that tell me I'm better seen than heard; however, I know there are people that are a little timider when it comes to raising their voices. I am here to encourage you to be loud and speak up on topics that matter to you. There is no better time than the present to make your voice heard. Whether you are advocating for change in your school or the government, your opinion matters and is relevant.

We are the future of our country. How are we supposed to evoke change and reform if we can't have our voices heard? I call bullshit and I think it's time to take action. Even if you're the first or only person to advocate for your cause, be that person. Don't be afraid of anyone that tries to stand in your way. The only person that can stop you from speaking up for yourself and your cause is you. No matter how many nos you have to hear to get a yes or how many doors you have to knock on to get someone to open up, never give up. Never give up on your cause, never give up on yourself or the people you're representing, just don't do it. There is someone out there that supports you. Maybe they're just too shy to raise their voice too. Be encouraging and be supportive and get people to take a stand with you.

It is never too early or too late to start thinking about your future or to take action. But don't hesitate to say something. The sooner you start speaking up, the sooner you have people joining you and helping you, and the sooner you start to see and experience change. So get up, make that sign, write that letter, make that phone call, take part in that march, give that speech. Do whatever you feel fit to get your point across. Shout it from the rooftops, write it on your profile, send it in a letter, ignore everyone that tries to tell you to give up. Maybe they don't understand now, maybe they don't want to listen, maybe they're afraid to listen, but the more you talk about it and help them understand what exactly you are trying to get across, they will join you.

Even when it feels like you have nobody on your side but yourself, I am on your side. I will cheer you on, I will march with you hand in hand, I will write letters and make phone calls and help you find your voice. My life changed when I found my voice and yours will too.

So dear young voices of America, the time is now. Your time is now. Don't be afraid of the obstacles that you may have to face. Someone is out there waiting for you, waiting to grab your hand and march on with you. As Tarana Burke once said "Get up. Stand up. Speak up. Do something."

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