The following is an opinion piece and does not necessarily reflect the views of The Clarion, its staff or the institution. If you would like to submit a response or an opinion piece of your own, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Will Kah
Responsibility lies in the hands of those who have power to cause change. My words have the power to uplift, enrage, frustrate and excite. I am responsible. I could tell you that the sky looked black today, causing you to walk outside and inquire on the color of the sky. The sky looked very blue today, so therefore I would be wasting your time. Uncle Ben once told Peter (Spider-Man), that “With great power comes great responsibility.” Others may argue that I don’t have to be mindful of others when I write due to freedom of speech.
A mother can say that because she can tell a child that he is able to walk, speak, and feed himself, she isn’t responsible for him anymore. Many would disagree with the mother’s logic.
Many Americans see the unknown as dangerous. The outsider as harmful. And some believe the unknowns in life to be a threat. Whenever a writer takes to her pad or laptop, she knows not the full identity of the audience she’s writing to.
The author does not know the man dealing with mental illness issues as she writes about guns and the benefits of having guns due to her life experience of escaping sexual abuse while carrying a firearm. If the mentally ill male took her writing to read, “shoot every male you see,” the author would not be responsible for his actions.
But, if the author refuses to write about the impacts using a weapon to stand up for oneself in sexual assault cases, many women would be denied knowledge and inspiration. Literature serves as the reflective window of society. We see and enter the world through literature. If stifled by fear of unknowns, every author would cease to exist.
In dealing with the unknown, stereotypes and assumptions tend to emerge. We adhere to what we’ve heard about people whether true or false. We hear ignorant banters by powerful and afraid individuals professing that, “immigrants are taking all of our jobs.” We use such language to justify our prejudice, bigotry and outright discrimination against others. We listen to media coverage on ISIS and automatically assume all Muslims to be terrorists. Immigrants live in the United States, work, eat, sleep, breathe, and provide for America just as much, if not more than native born citizens.
Seeking to build borders based on assumptions of people from different countries seeking opportunity and freedom in America obliterates their humanity. Who decides whether someone is worthy of an opportunity? An author seeking to restrict his work from a specific demographic of people limits himself, thus restricting his creative mind, ideas, and writing.
Imagine sitting in a class, and being told that you cannot read the textbook everyone else has. No other textbooks provide material you need for that class. You fail the class. How would you feel if the professor told you that you weren’t smart enough to be in the class, you get angry when other students read from their own book, you’re a distraction?
How would you feel? Imagine all of your teachers doing that to you, without knowing you, and then building walls around the classroom so you couldn’t get into the whole school. Without knowledge you will fail, not only in school, but in life. Your necessity for knowledge is the same as an immigrant’s need for homes, jobs, education, opportunity and healthcare.
The school that chose to build borders was voted for by your government, your friends, your religious community, your family and your significant other. Would you be happy enough to say, “Well, it’s a free country….”? A man who’s hungry and fed until he’s full will not take away from his hungry neighbor. Acting out of fear hinders the fearful more than it does the feared. In the fight to keep immigrants away, do a quick trace of where you come from. You are not the original, you are nothing but a mere copy of the immigrants who migrated here. A 1952 Chevy is as much of a Chevy as is a 2017 Chevy, regardless of the look. No one is free of responsibility.