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Culture

Why Ignorance Should Not Be Viewed as Excusable

I remember as a child hearing the opinions of my uncles and aunts and wanting to say something only to be shut down. Being a child in a Latinx family meant, for me at least, that any opinion I had was not taken seriously. I could only stay silent as my uncle muttered sexist or distasteful remarks without much thought. It angered me as I could not speak without reprimand or embarrassing my parents, but it did teach me to learn to stay calm under angering circumstances. As I grew older,I began to realize how restrictive my environment was when it came to having your own opinions. I was raised in a Pentacostal church which had very conservative views and were rather stubborn when it came to opposing views. It wasn’t all bad; however, I did feel rather suffocated as I couldn’t even think about questioning certain beliefs. 

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Even so, I began to inform myself through the people around me and through what I believed was correct. I still remember one conversation I had with a fellow classmate when Barack Obama was running for president. I told him to tell his dad not to vote for him because he was going to make gay marriage legal. He looked at me with a weird expression and then told me “aren’t you a christian, you’re supposed to love everybody”. His remark shook me. I began to question my faith and beliefs. I began to reflect on the things that I said and I soon realized that my line of thought was flawed. Who was I to judge someone? I never wanted to hurt others. I began to discuss this with my parents. We argued, disagreed and learned together. To this day we still don’t see eye to eye but they’ve become more understanding and have begun to make an effort to inform themselves.  [bf_image id="q7jzwq-crqa6o-9eti9w"] In highschool I had an English teacher who informed us on events occurring around the world and made it a point to teach works by people of color and women in particular. This helped because at the time I was at war with myself over my culture. A lot of Latinx culture is based on machismo ,and it's quite obvious through my uncle’s words and the expectation placed on women that one day they would make “great” wives to their husbands. I realized that just because this was older generations’ norms it did not have to be mine. This brought on a lot of tension in my family because, although my parents agreed with me, they still did not believe that it was problematic that they wanted me to go to a church with those views. It did not help that during this past summer as BLM protested the injustices against black people, the church sided with police and the president. 

[bf_image id="qb7x38-64i88g-aka5vr"] Angered, I spoke against it, fighting against my childish fear of being judged or told my opinions were invalid. Many were uncomfortable when I criticized the church leaders. They would say the church leaders were from a different time and that they didn’t know better. How is it okay to allow ignorance to be an excuse for people when they hurt others? Their hateful and uninformed rhetoric would be taught to a new generation who would believe them word for word and, without intervention, would never try to inform themselves. I‘ve learned it is better to make people uncomfortable than allow them to teach ignorance. It’s time we stop making excuses for those who want to remain ignorant. 

 

Paulina Herrera

UC Riverside '22

Paulina Herrera is a junior at UC Riverside studying English. She has spent her time refining her skills as an art director intern for The Naked Magazine and as an intern for The Art Collection, NY. When she is not working on her art or writing you can find her reading copious amounts of comics and books or attending conventions.
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