Why do people want to be heard?
This question is challenging. But given the recent events that have unfolded at Mizzou, I’ve been forced to answer it.
Even as somebody who spews opinion for a living, I found this question to be riddling. But, I guess they’re right. I guess that some people really do have something to say, and some people just feel the need to say something.
During my time as a student at the University of Missouri – that school whose president just resigned among racial controversy – I was exposed to the power of journalism. I learned that one story can change the world, but one story can also put you in jail.
I learned that for every responsible journalist, another journalist doesn’t know their own strength. When I first started going through Facebook after Tim Wolfe’s resignation, the comments were bearable. And although things got worse and worse, nothing shocked me more than this article.
“An Open Letter to Jonathan Butler And #ConcernedStudents1950” got passed around Facebook like a God damn bag of Skittles. It’s obnoxious, cowardly and filled with horrendous metaphors (kind of like the “bag of Skittles” one I just used).
This hot take was posted anonymously, in a personal blog called Life Is A Hell Of Thing. The article speaks out against both Wolfe’s resignation and Jonathan Butler’s hunger strike. But instead of providing answers, this writer only sparked another interesting question.
Is this a sick joke?
After stomaching the first couple paragraphs, I began feeling nauseous. And suddenly, I was overcome with the desire to chew on broken glass. After all, just about anything would be more pleasant than reading this ignorant imitation of my profession.
Honestly, it’s what I envision propaganda will look like if Donald Trump ever becomes president. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if that savage wrote this himself.
Even more unsettling, however, was seeing that thousands and thousands of people actually agree with this faceless prophet. And whether they knew it or not, these same people indirectly supported the following things:
1. Journalists with no credibility.
If this writer is so confident in their beliefs, why are they hiding? And if they’re not ashamed of their views, why don’t they want to be associated with them?
Not only did this person exclude their name, they conveniently finished the article by signing off as a “non-racist, non-violent, white college student.” And since they posted it on this internet thingy, we should believe that this completely random stranger is telling the truth.
2. Making fun of Gandhi.
While I doubt the author is intelligent enough to realize it, they just criticized Mahatma Gandhi. You know, the Indian guy that changed the world and shit…by starving himself.
3. People who think racial discrimination has only been around since 1966.
Reminder, there was this awful thing called slavery that led to another awful thing called the Civil War. So in a nutshell, you are wrong. You are brutally wrong.
I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.
4. Oh, and by the way…
THERE IS A FUCKING TYPO IN THE FIRST FUCKING SENTENCE.
People, this is the point where I bite my tongue.
I could sit here all day and bash anonymous writers, but that would ignore the point. I’m too fed up with everybody’s fuming Facebook statuses to pour my heart out. And above all else, I’m not black.
I am white.
I am white, and because of that, I have never been the victim of racism. This logic, which a friend from Mizzou tweeted on Monday, is incredibly simple. And yet, so many of you cannot grasp it.
Everybody wants their voice to be heard, but it seems like nobody is willing to listen.
It’s why Mizzou’s football team boycotted. It’s why Jonathan Butler starved himself. And it’s exactly why you posted about both of those actions on Facebook. But instead of getting pissed at the chaos currently swallowing Mizzou, why don’t you try to understand?
When I go on social media later today and discover that even more of my friends from college are secretly bigots, I won’t call them out. I won’t make controversial comments just to hear my own voice. And I won’t keep typing this rant, because I know most of you won’t read this far down anyway.
After a few paragraphs, you’ll get sick of reading what somebody else has to say and begin formulating your own opinion. You’ll forget about this article, and never answer the question I asked you at the beginning of it.
Why do people want to be heard? Because you won’t listen to them.