Concerning the recent world events, almost everyone, everywhere has voiced their opinions about what comes next and what we (meaning the United States or citizens should be doing to help). It is within these declarations of war, these calls to arms, and the blaming that i can fully understand the dangers of the ignorance we all believe we’re above.
Now, a quick disclaimer, i am ignorant. I by no means know everything about every country and every person in each one. However, it is for this same reason that i have made my opinions regarding these topics based on the information i have researched. As well, it is also for this reason that i do not publicly share my opinions and beliefs regarding this. From my personal experience and understandings, i would rather hold my tongue than speak about a subject i do not understand.
Ignorance is defined as a ”
I can’t lie and say that I’ve never said anything ignorant on social media or in a conversation. However, I learned quite a bit from these situations and found that i would rather be blissfully silent than blissfully ignorant.
It is from this understanding that i know it is not my place to force my opinion or beliefs upon you in any way shape or form. However, it is also due to this understanding that i would like to share some of the things i have learned about how we should be approaching them vs. how we are approaching them.
- Stop overgeneralizing.
The recent terrorist attacks in Paris were done by members of the Islamic State. They took credit for the attack and the blame has been given to them. That is fact. Now, the Islamic State identifies itself as a caliphate which would give it control over the world’s Muslims. This is fact. However, the Islamic State is a militant movement that has taken control of certain areas in the Middle East, but more specifically Iraq and Syria. It is not a country, or even a nation state, bound by a common culture or a governing body and is not recognized in international communities as such. It is, as has always been, a radical extremist group. Therefore, it can be said that not all Muslims are part of the Islamic State or even live under this group as the Islamic State believes. So here’s the bottom line – Muslims are not to blame for the attacks. The Islamic State is to blame. It is so incredibly IGNORANT to punish all Muslims for the actions of the small percentage that make up the Islamic State. This extreme and developed hatred of Muslims has been given the name Islamophobia and has created such a fear in people that it is almost debilitating. Two articles describing the actions taken against Muslims in the recent days can be found at:
– Canadian Muslims Report More Backlash After Ontario Mosque Torched
– ‘Fear and Islamophobia’: US states shun Syrian refugees
In response to these recent events, and the serious retaliation upon the Islamic faith felt by Muslims all around the world, more than 120 Muslim scholars wrote an open letter to the leaders of the Islamic State denouncing the group’s claim to Islam on the grounds of Islamic teachings. You can find the letter here: Letter to Baghdadi
- Find an UN-BIASED, RELIABLE news source.
Holy canolis, the importance of this cannot be stressed enough. When you post articles from FOX News on your page which support your position, you’re not fooling anyone. In order to form an informed opinion, one must first find an informed source – a source that doesn’t chose which stories are heard based improving viewer ratings or a source which doesn’t receive huge amounts of money from anonymous political sponsors for sharing their good work for that day. From my experience, these are not the easy sources to follow. These sources are the ones that very rarely show up in your Facebook news feed and cannot be found on TV during the prime time hours. It is these sources that share world news that isn’t otherwise heard on the major media outlets.
To be completely honest, I only follow about one or two of these sources – which is hardly enough to consider myself “informed” or “educated”. However, i do believe in the importance of receiving news from an unbiased source enough to share my sources with you.
Here are some of my favorite, and most reliable, news source outlets:
The Real News
- Accept your ignorance.
This may be the most challenging piece of advice there is because no one likes to acknowledge their short comings. For example, I have been studying the Spanish language for the last 9 years. I would like to think that i know it all. However, i was not raised speaking the language or born into this unique culture. When I am in the classroom working with native Spanish speakers or even teaching them Spanish, the first thing I acknowledge is that they know more than I. There’s no doubt about it that they know more even though I’ve studied with scholars and worked my butt off all this time, but that doesn’t make it any easier for me to accept this. This definitely doesn’t make me feel better that I’ve spent 9 years of my life studying this language but will never know as much as the 13-year-old in front of me.
The only way to objectively learn about something, some place, or someone is to accept that we do not know everything and, probably, will never know everything. The first problem of ignorance is thinking you already know all there is to know. When in all reality, even if you do know quite a bit about the topic, you can always learn more. That is one of the marvelous things about our world and the many diverse cultures and peoples and places that exist – there’s always more to learn.
At the end of the day, the most important thing to remember is that we’re all human and we’re all sharing this Earth. The way that we are treating each other now will go down and be remembered in history much like the treatment of the Japanese during the 1940’s, the treatment of African Americans still to this day, and the overall poor treatment of other cultures with the United States since inception. The only question is, and it’s not a new one so say it with me, “which side of history will you be on?”. I challenge you to take on tomorrow with an open mind and explore more. I challenge you to think critically before you speak and especially before you develop an opinion. I challenge you to respect those around you regardless of their skin color, their religious beliefs, or their sexual orientation.