Preventing Hateful Ignorance

Jocelyn Arraya, Layout Artist

“Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” This was said by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a minister who fought for the rights of those who didn’t have them. Today we speak of how those times are behind us, but are they? We go online and read about how an unarmed person of color was shot and killed by police. We say that we are no longer a racist country, yet we constantly hear our president’s unedited thoughts on Twitter, many of which seem racist.
Growing up, I didn’t understand why people had preconceived prejudice of others without having spoken to or bothered to meet them. This can only be the work of ignorance, which is defined as a lack of knowledge or information. In life, many of us experience ignorance on a daily basis. We see it on the news or right in front of us. It is shown in forms such as racism, homophobia, transphobia, and simply nonsense. Someone yelling racial slurs is ignorance. People harassing two men holding hands is ignorance. Someone believing a rumor going around, without doing research, is ignorance.
Like the definition says, ignorance stems from the lack of knowledge. In order to prevent it, people need to fully understand who or what it is that they are hating. Many people are raised with a hateful environment around them as they grow up. They begin to be accustomed to it because that is what they’ve been shown. When the people who raise them mistreat others because of ignorance, they instinctively learn to do the same. They blindly hate without knowing why they are in the first place. What is known is that hate is taught—no one is born with it.
If hate can be taught, so can understanding. Just like everyone else, people who are part of the LGBTQ community and those of different cultures desire to feel welcomed and loved. There is no reason why they shouldn’t feel like this. Fully understanding and appreciating our differences can prevent hate, the product of ignorance. To fight hate, we must work to educate ourselves and learn to walk in each other’s shoes.