By Paris Finnie
The most significant trait humans have in comparison to the rest of the animal kingdom are our brains. Under the concept of plasticity, we are able to continually learn. Filling our head with new information, the human mind is able to process stats, facts, and the abstract to no limitation.
The human brain also has the frontal lobe, whose prime function, aside from executive order over the body, allows you and I to think abstractly. No other mammal has developed such a region in their brain. From the frontal lobe we can predict, visualize, and project intangible concepts. The saddest reality however, is how the victimization of controversial topics kills any attempt of logical opposition. Thus, constricting the growth and expansions of our minds by shutting down alternative modes of thinking.
The plethora of social movements in modern day is remarkable. People of all ages are standing together to fight for causes to stimulate positive change, but is one cause “better” than another? Most commonly noted among college campuses is the push for safe spaces. The ideology of safe spaces is supported by how some words, phrases, or notions are so offensive that students rather not hear them for fear of discomfort. Obama during a commencement speech at Howard university spoke on just this.
President Obama Commencement Speech at Howard University
In case you don’t have 45 minutes for a speech here is one take away:
“Nothing that God ever made is the same thing to more than one person.” Think about that. That’s why our democracy gives us a process designed for us to settle our disputes with argument and ideas and votes instead of violence and simple majority rule.
So don’t try to shut folks out, don’t try to shut them down, no matter how much you might disagree with them. There’s been a trend around the country of trying to get colleges to disinvite speakers with a different point of view, or disrupt a politician’s rally. Don’t do that — no matter how ridiculous or offensive you might find the things that come out of their mouths.”
Expression of a opinion should be a liberty awarded to all, not just those who feel their cause carries more sorrow then the rest. The catharsis achieved through vocalizing disagreement begets compromise and understanding. Dorothy Thompson the most influential woman of the 1930’s wrote, “Peace is not the absence of conflict but the presence of creative alternatives for responding to conflict — alternatives to passive or aggressive responses, alternatives to violence.” When we systematically silence dissent, a world of peace and understanding is also erased.
Rape culture is absolutely in need of addressing. No one should be coerced to engage in sexual behavior, but is removing the topic from classroom discussion the ideal solution? Black Lives Matter and All Lives Matter are at their polar ends and very much within their reasoning to be so, but do we think a solution will be reached if members of each party throw urine at one another? The inability to come together and have a logical discussion only hurts the generations that follow. If our Congress members, Doctors, or Teachers are not allowed to express/teach/represent the differences of opinion or controversial topics, how should we expect the society to grow and foster the minds of the youth?
The biggest impact is being made on the educational system. Students are failing to realize that forcing “safe” spaces are not considering the unsafe space they create for those of dissenting opinion. The caustic concept of preferred speech over freedom of speech will be the demise of the educational prowess. In a institution that is made to challenge your current understanding, individuals are gagged from fear of discomfort. Never allowing an opposing viewpoint to be discussed only indoctrinates ignorance on the minds being molded to lead the generation.
If we are never challenged how do we expect to grow? If we silence students trying to understand the world around them, how do we expect them to thrive in the world outside of the educational institution? If society is unable to consider contrasting ideologies how to we expect to grow as a populace? So we challenge you, to instead of shutting down the person who you disagree with, try instead to hear them out and then follow with why you disagree in a civil and respectable discourse . Here is the true secret to the human minds plasticity and abstract understanding.
Remember, don’t just believe what we say. Research what we say!
The New Yorker