Ignorance is NOT Bliss

Why you should speak out and educate yourself about social/political issues.


Erica Niehoff, Staff Writer

This is an opinion article piece. Erica Niehoff is a junior at Mendham who writes for Arts and Entertainment. All opinions expressed in the following editorial are her own and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Patriot. 

We can all agree that 2020 will go down as one of the worst years in history. From Covid-19 to the Australian wildfires to the deaths of icons like Kobe Bryant, Alex Trubet, and RBG to the most recent terrorist attack against the United States Capitol Building. This year has been a wild ride and people seemed to try to ignore it and treat it like any other year. This is understandable, it’s very stressful with all the events going around and it is important to take time for yourself by stepping back. However, some people completely ignore their surroundings in order to comfort themselves or avoid social and political problems around them. This can be for multiple different reasons. One reason is peer pressure. The need to be socially accepted by the society around you is very apparent. Commenting on toxic culture and calling out someone or explaining others’ wrong actions can sadly end friendships. This is especially apparent for men, as the excuse of “dark humor” is used to make racist and sexist comments. 

Another reason that is apparent is fear. The dread of creating fights or losing friendships is the main factor that people are hesitant to advocate for these problems is because many will find a way to disagree or be offended. Or, more depressingly, some just don’t care. Focusing on a problem that doesn’t affect you or is not seen around you is easy to be ignored. Overall, it is very easy to be ignorant of important issues around you when they don’t directly affect you or not even aware of them. 

In times like these, it is important to use your voice. Educate yourself on issues that are apparent currently or that affect you. Now that you comprehend the topic better you can be more equipped to have these conversations. There are so many ways to help and stop the spread of false information. First, follow verified social media accounts to gain correct information and stay up to date with important issues. Instagram is a great place to get regularly reminded of important topics and you can spread the word by posting it on your story. Of course, it is very important that this information is true and uses credible sources. Another way to stay informed is by downloading news apps like ABC News or The Washington Post where they will notify you about recent events.

Making sure that you are reading the correct information is extremely important. Not only this but being sympathetic towards others that are having a very difficult time. Having these conversations is very crucial to lead others to understand your view on something and comprehend the topic. Respectfully having a conversation about topics that can be debated is important in order to understand each other. Don’t claim you understand a topic when you don’t, so learning from others and gain your own stance on the subject. Rember that some things can be debated, while others like human rights and science can not be. It is so incredibly important that everyone should use their time to educate themselves on topics that interest them or important problems. Many use escapism instead of actually facing these issues. However, this will not be able to be used for the rest of your life. You’re going to need to face the world eventually and many will look down on you if you don’t understand the topic at hand. 

Even though as a high school student you may seem like there isn’t much that you can do, no matter who you are you still have a voice. Whether it’s calling out someone’s behavior or signing and reposting petitions. All of these acts, even meniscal, can help the world become a better place.