Silence is Not Golden

I have been in Delaware for the last month settling in and getting back into the graduate school state of mind.  Since I am in the disaster science and management doctoral program, I can hardly shut out current events. I do have a television, but I do not have cable.  Although with the internet, one can live without cable.   For those of you who follow my blog, you probably thought I had been swallowed up by the school.  After all, the life of a doctoral student can be rather boring.

When I should be reviewing research methods or statistics, I find myself thinking about white supremacists and Charlottesville.   I am pouring through my social media instead of my textbooks.     For those of you who are wondering what the heck is happening in the world, I want to expand on a point I made this weekend on FaceBook about how some people live in a bubble.   When we look out at the world, we look through our eyes and with our experiences.  If we have never seen, experienced, or even acknowledged color, racism, sexism, or any inequality, then we may not recognize it happening around us.   For the record, telling me or anyone else, that you do not see color, race, and gender does not absolve you of your prejudices or biases.  It just means that you are blind to all of them and ignore the fact that people who are multicultural, LGBQT, etc.,  face different risks in their daily lives.

Without rehashing any events from this weekend or earlier, there are several points I would like to make about witnessing injustice and acting.

  1. Everyone has a different view of every situation but white supremacists who advocate for the death of non-white people are wrong, every time. Frankly, anyone who advocates for anyone else’s death is wrong.
  2. Staying quiet when you see or hear injustice is providing consent. You are showing the adults (and the children) around you that you agree with this behavior and will do nothing to make it stop.
  3. Sometimes you must stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves, for those who do not have a voice, or for those who are ignored or overlooked.
  4. It is okay to be afraid of the consequences of standing up to injustice or to the bullies. If you do nothing, the consequences of your inaction or acquiescence will be far greater.
  5. We can disagree about many things but we can also listen to each other respectfully. The Google employee and his manifesto that got him fired and made many of us so very angry is an excellent example.   Do I agree with him?  NO! Did he have a right to his opinion?  Yes!     If we shut down all conversation just because we disagree, how can we move forward?  How can we learn anything from each other? Think about this the next time you shut down or end all communication.

In an earlier post on my blog, I shared with you all about standing up for others because it was the right thing to do.  In all our social media, we have countless examples of people referencing military, family, or personal experiences fighting the Nazis in World War II, surviving the Holocaust, or regular people like you and me saying no more inequality.   I want to end this post with a modified version of the quote generally attributed to the British statesman, Edmund Burke.

“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good [people] do nothing.”

2 thoughts on “Silence is Not Golden

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