Your Words Matter.

I’m not sure how to say this without it sounding like a rant. Because I’m frustrated. I’m frustrated by the ridiculously large number of people who have discredited my opinion based on my age. By my lack of experience, supposed naivete, youth, whatever. Like my college degree doesn’t matter. Like my personal life experience thus far doesn’t matter. Like my opinions and beliefs don’t matter.

Hey, I don’t care how old you are or what stage of life you’re in. Your voice matters. Your experiences matter.

I hate being told that my educators brainwashed me like I’m unable to make my own decisions on what I do and don’t believe. I hate when people assume that I don’t know what I’m talking about. That I’m just spouting off useless information that I mindlessly agreed was fact.

No. I have spent time researching and forming my own opinions. I continue to learn and shape my beliefs now, after I’ve graduated. No one forced me into this. I chose my major. I chose my classes. I chose which side to take (and my teachers almost always offered all sides).

I try to make sure every single one of my beliefs are based firstly, off the Bible and secondly, reliable research. I’m not an idiot.

I know what I’m talking about, and I’m tired of people telling me I don’t. Yes, sometimes I’m wrong. Sometimes I don’t know everything about a topic. Sometimes I get lost and confused. Sometimes I change my mind.

But some things I know a lot about and when people (who haven’t studied what I have) tell me I don’t, it makes me angry. Actually, it makes me sad. I just want to shout “HELLO. I HAVE A DEGREE IN THIS. I KNOW WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT. WHY WILL YOU NOT LISTEN? CAN YOU EVEN HEAR ME?” I feel invisible.

Because most of the time, it feels like whoever I’m talking to doesn’t even want to listen. They just sit in their own mindset refusing to just listen to a different side. I’m not trying to convince you or force you over to my side. It’s not red rover. I just want you to hear me out. Listen. Just count my side as valid. Instead of counting it out before I even speak. It’s more like the telephone game.

I feel like the older generations think millennials are clueless and dumb and out partying and protesting and have no idea what the “real world” is like. But I wish they’d see what I see. Millennials are wise and passionate and strong and brave and powerful. We know what we’re doing (as often as they do, anyway). They just refuse to listen or look or pay attention. Yes, we’ll love to learn from them. But they can also learn from us. We can all learn from each other. Let’s sit around a bonfire together.

If you’re reading this… even if you can’t read it, your words are important. I spent so much of my life not speaking the words that I wanted to say. Out of anxiety and fear. I still do it all. the. time. But we have to remember, our words matter. Even if no one listens. Even if no one cares. Even if no one agrees. They matter. You matter. Regardless of what your beliefs are.

So listen. and speak (in whatever language you want). and learn. and keep pushing forward. keep advocating. keep writing. because it matters. it all matters.

Make your voice be heard.

Trust me, someone sees you. I see you. God sees you.

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. 1 Timothy 4:12

Side thought: Maybe we protest so much because others refuse to listen during actual civilized conversation and we long for our voice to be heard somehow.


Education Inequality

A few days ago, I had the inspiration to write blogs on three different subjects. In the midst of finals week, I didn’t (and still don’t) have time to write any of those. But for some reason, here I am writing one when I should be studying.

  1. Adderall use as a study aid
  2. Education Inequality
  3. Ferguson

Those were the three subjects… This blog is about education inequality because my rantings about adderall probably couldn’t be a decent blog, and I am so not educated enough about Ferguson to even form my opinions on it. But you never know, you might see blogs on those subjects sometime soon.

Education Inequality.

I really don’t like it. It’s probably second place to gender inequality which if you know me at all… you know I hate it. A lot.

I took a social inequalities class this semester, and while I already knew that education inequality existed, I guess I never really knew the extent of it until we talked about it in that class.

There was this study that Jay McLeod did on two gangs in a school. One was mostly black with one white member and the other was mostly white with two black members. The white gang was extremely violent and sold drugs and were basically like your typical gang. The black gang, though, tried to do well in school, participated in athletics and other things like that. The black gang had high hopes for the future while the white gang expected to be in jail within the next few years. Within the two groups, the only member that did semi-well in life was the white member of the mostly black gang. The two black members of the mostly white gang did the worst out of all them.

Now, you might be saying that this sounds more like a race issue which it is. It’s a race, class and education issue. If I learned anything from that class, it’s that all inequality intersects with each other. I don’t know about you, but I find that scenario ridiculous. It makes me so angry that one person from the group that actually tried in school did well and that person was the only white member in the group. It also makes me angry that the two black members in the group that didn’t try did worse than the white members. Why didn’t the white members do that bad? Why didn’t the black members of the other group do as good as the white member? It’s all about stereotypes, I think. No matter who you are, we all tend to conform to the stereotypes that society has decided for us. I don’t like that. We should all be able to be ourselves without the judgement of society, but that’s for another blog.

The part that I really don’t like about education inequality is the unequal opportunities. Schools in different areas are better or worse off than other areas. Every school should be equal. Within poor communities, school buildings are falling apart, schools don’t have recent textbooks, there isn’t new technology, students don’t have proper lunch (when students are hungry they do much worse than students who aren’t because it’s hard to focus when you’re hungry), and so on. If the funding was equal, this wouldn’t be the case. IQ tests are also unequal. Tests like that ask questions geared towards middle class students who are taught in school proper English. The problem is that in lower class schools, teachers don’t take the time to teach the students proper English. Because of the stereotypes of where these students will end up, the teachers allow them to write in slang which causes them to not know the answers to questions on these tests. What if instead of: A symphony is to a composer as a book is to a (n) _______ (paper; sculptor, musician, author, man) tests said If you throw a dice and “7” is showing on the top, what is facing down? _________ (Seven, snake eyes, box cars, little joes, eleven)… Just think about it. We need tests that are geared towards everyone, not just certain classes or races.

There’s also the problem of well off children being pushed towards college prep classes whereas lower class children are being pushed towards vocational courses. Instead of allowing our children to choose their course in life, we force them to inherit what their parents did or what their situation now is telling them to do. When your family background is telling you whether or not you’ll go to college, we have a problem that needs fixing.

I don’t really know what the solution is. There are many, many different theories out there and any or none of them could be true. All I know is that everyone should have equal opportunity and right now that is certainly not the case. It makes me sad. And angry. And makes me see the privilege I have in being white and middle-class. We all have some sort of privilege whether it be male, white, middle-class, protestant, etc and we all in some way or another take it for granted. Let’s change that. Let’s not take what we have for granted because there are people who don’t have the opportunities we do. They should, but they don’t. Society is messed up, y’all. But be thankful, in spite of that.