I don’t know how to properly fold a fitted sheet.

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I see so much hate in regards to “ignorance.” The unfortunate part about this is that people would rather complain about how “ignorant” people are instead of offering insight or indulging in a conversation with said person. Let’s get one thing straight.

Ignorance is defined as, “lack of knowledge or information.” That said, it’s not an insult by any means. People seem to think being ignorant about something is a bad thing. In some cases, it can be, but I’ll be the first to admit that I’m ignorant about physics, sailing, working my wireless router, what all the settings are on my camera, pottery making, most religions, changing the oil on a car, intestinal metaplasia, events that lead up to WWI, how to properly fold a fitted sheet, and a whole slew of other things I’m not willing to admit. You don’t know everything. In fact, you will never know everything. While it may be frustrating to you that some random person on Facebook doesn’t know something that you know, it’s helping no one by shaming them, making them feel bad, and then offering no words of wisdom. “You suck, good luck.” You don’t get mad at a four year old for not knowing how to tie their shoes. You teach them.

 Truth is by nature self-evident. As soon as you remove the cobwebs of ignorance that surround it, it shines clear. / Mahatma Gandhi

There’s quite a difference between someone being aware and not giving a good god damn about topic A, and someone who genuinely doesn’t know any better. In the latter, for example, this uneducated way of thinking may be a idea perpetuated by family/peers/the media/society. We are influenced by everything, all the time, every day. You grow up with a family who teaches you that the sky is called the triangle, you go to a school where you learn about stars in the triangle (Triangle Monthly magazine exists, your town has annual triangle watching nights,etc). If you’re constantly exposed to this concept that the sky really is, in fact, called the triangle, someone is going to have a hell of a time trying to convince you otherwise. You’ve been brought up and conditioned to think one thing, and that concept has been perpetuated by everything around you for 10, 20, maybe 50 years.

And that’s what I’m here to talk to you about today. Sometimes, there’s no budging people. No matter how many Nat Geo documentaries you watch, you’re still going to struggle with this Sky VS. Triangle business. But here’s the deal – some people hold these ideals because that’s all they’ve ever known. Some people grow up believing that pit bulls are vicious, extremely dangerous dogs (and let’s face it – some are, but in my experience, Poodles are kind of bigger jerks). Some individuals are horrendously racist and have nothing to base that on other than their parent’s opinion (who were conditioned that way because of their parents). There are folks who grow up believing your and you’re are interchangeable (Guess they missed out on Mac Lethal’s grammar lesson). This is what it comes down to – some people just don’t know any better. If you are brought up with a certain set of moral/ethics/values, once you are old enough to start “thinking for yourself,” you’ve already adopted a certain mindset, and sometimes it’s hard to kick. Other times, you can move across the country and witness culture shock or  maybe start reading books that make you question everything you’ve ever been taught.

 Blinding ignorance does mislead us. O! Wretched mortals, open your eyes! / Leonardo da Vinci

Here’s where I see some potential for improvement. There are some people who have “no tolerance for ignorance.” This mentality is generally “You don’t know how your meat is made? Fuck you for not knowing and fuck you for eating it. SHAME SHAME SHAME.” I’ve heard “arguments” along the line of, “I think what you believe is horrible and you’re basically a dumbass for believing that.” I’ve witnessed someone saying, “Oh, you know nothing about feminism? I’m not going to sit here and talk to you about it because you need to find out for yourself like I did.”

Look, I’m not saying you need to hold hands with someone and skip down to the library together to school them passively-aggressively. I’m just saying that there’s a difference between someone genuinely “not knowing any better” and someone with a “IDGAF attitude.” You don’t need to break out your superhero cape and go around telling everyone they’re wrong and try to set them “on the right path.” Opinions certainly play a factor in all of this business, and sometimes you’re not going to get through. It’s a headache and a hassle to go around  trying to “correct” people, but if you’ve got the time and energy to write a rude status update about someone being “ignorant,” it’s obviously a topic you feel passionate about. If that’s the case, take progressive steps to help, not shame. Raise awareness, not guilt. Perhaps instead of shaming someone for their ignorance, you could offer a helping hand or some insight. Don’t think of ignorance as a dark room. It’s merely a shade over a lamp, which can be unveiled by someone who takes the time to do so.

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6 responses »

  1. I left any kind of social justice blogging behind a few months ago because this attitude of “oh youre ignorant, well f*** you!” was starting to get downright abusive, especially from “allies”. I dont know if they were trying to impress people, or they just enjoy putting people down. But I couldnt watch it anymore. Especially when phrases like “go die in a fire” “go kill yourself” and the like became not only okay, but popular. WTF?
    Youre right: you dont have to hold someone’s hand and walk them through the whole learning process. But I dont see how going around cussing out EVERYONE who doesnt agree with everything you think for being ignorant (another thing I noticed: the person being called ignorant isnt always so, just in disagreement with someone else) doesnt do any good.

    • Exactly. It shouldn’t be anyone’s responsibility to inform someone about topic X, Y, or Z, but if their ignorance gets you all worked up, it obviously matters to you, and it’s doing no good to bash them without offering an explanation. There are billions of folks wandering around on this planet. We’re not all going to agree on any/everything, but on the topic of ignorance, it’s really proactive to shame someone instead of offering guidance/education. Thanks for taking the time to read/comment!

  2. agree with you 100%. the problem is remembering to take a second to breathe before replying, to think just for a second. it’s hard to remember that, especially when you’re emotionally invested in something. doesn’t make it right, of course, but it’s definitely an issue, with me anyway.

  3. This is one of the best posts I’ve read on here in ages. I can’t stand haters and shamers. I think sometimes you are wasting your breath but other times you find that people really surprise you and are more open than you think. Something I find difficult is that a lot of people surrounding me in my life, are very different to me. They struggle to understand my interests and passions and a lot of the time find it too much to absorb so I’m often hit by a wall of ‘ignorance’, but I learn to choose my battles, and shaming and hating is certainly NOT what I do as a response. I just save my positive energy for someone who cares enough to listen and learn.

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