This is What Happens When We Shame Others for their Lack of Education
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Politics and Activism

This is What Happens When We Shame Others for their Lack of Education

We perpetuate the ignorance

This is What Happens When We Shame Others for their Lack of Education

While the millennial generation is very aware, politically involved, and dare I say "woke," we can't be educated on everything. So when news such as, the RNC, the DNC, Brexit and beyond come into play, while there is a substantial group well educated on the topic, there is still a group that knows nothing at all. And we shame them for it.

We are concerned by our peers lack of knowledge, disgusted by their ignorance, and have a chip on our shoulder in knowing what they don't. When people lack the knowledge that we have, we assume the worst of those people, and we consider those people as lesser than ourselves. But a great quote I keep in mind when this feeling overwhelms me is the powerful opening of the Great Gatsby:

“Whenever you feel like criticizing any one [...] just remember that all the people in this world haven't had the advantages that you've had.”

We need to stop criticizing people for their lack of knowledge and focus more on educating them. (Some, of course, will bask in their ignorance forever, but that's a different problem). Education is not a right, it is a privilege. We live in a world where more than 25 percent of the worldwide population is still illiterate. That's over 1 billion people. In the United States alone, nearly 20 percent of household don't have access to a computer or to the internet, especially those in low income levels where the number increases to nearly 40 percent without access.

When we judge others for their knowledge, what we're really judging is their privilege versus ours. Not everyone has access to a computer at home, some may not even have access to a computer at their local library. And computer access aside, everyone simply isn't educated.

In 2013, only 59 percent of people who started their bachelor's degree finished it, and the number drops based on the type of school attended.

It is no secret that not everyone can afford college. College is still very much a privilege in this country and in many countries. And that is only higher education. Still today there are 124 million adolescents who have never even been given the chance to start school.

So, when we turn our nose up at people who may not have the same resources and same education as us, we are doing the entire world a disservice.

Share your education. Share the wealth, share the knowledge. Stop continuing to believe that you're a better than someone for what you know and for what they don't. It's easy to get wrapped up in what we expect people to know when we assume that they have had the same privilege of education as we have. Unfortunately, that's not the case.

Not everyone is as fortunate as we may be which is why we all need to take it upon ourselves to share the fortune. Stop shaming people for their lack of education and start sharing. If someone asks a question, don't laugh, don't smirk, don't roll your eyes. Share the information. Share the website you got the information from, share a book with them. Just share with them what you know. Chances are, they know something that you don't too.

And while many are privileged, well educated, have access to resources and are simply just ignorant to what's going on in the world, let that be a lesson to you that education is nothing when matched with complacency. So don't be complacent in understanding the world's problems - even if they're problems you just don't understand.

But still, try not to shame the ignorant too. There's a difference between ignorance out of choice and ignorance out of a learning disability or other circumstance.

Not everyone learns the same way, and not everyone is a fast learner. In some cases, the most educated people may still simply not understand what's going on. And what happens when you shame people is that they become ashamed to ask questions. They become ashamed to learn. And that shame just perpetuates the ignorance.

Every time you shame someone for not knowing something you know, you are helping perpetuate the ignorance.

At the end of the day, too often we take our education and the resources we have for granted without realizing how difficult life may be without them. Even just the privilege of having a smartphone at our fingertips rewards us with access to information all day long. But what we forget is that not everybody has that access. Sometimes we are that access to others. We are how they gain their knowledge. We are their resource.

So when someone asks you a question that you believe they should already know the answer to, try to remember that you may be their only resource.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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