“People don’t want to hear the truth because they don’t want their illusion destroyed.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
Ignorance is bliss, as they say. But being ignorant is not necessarily the fault of the inflicted individual; after all, we don’t know what we don’t know. The true problem arises when a person is presented overwhelming evidence and still believes the opposite is true.
Earlier this year I teamed up with Macklemore and Ryan Lewis to raise money for charity. When we discussed which cause should benefit, they were strongly in favor of using the funds towards social justice and race inequality issues.
Wait… why?! I thought to myself. It’s 2017… does racial and social inequality still exists? I mean, sure they happen occasionally, but we just had a black president so it can’t be that bad, right?
I was ignorant. Not because I’m racist or I’m against any particular group. Rather, because I didn’t know what I didn’t know.
I’m white. I live in a nice neighborhood. I wasn’t seeing or experiencing inequalities first hand so I never really paid much attention to those issues and, as a result, it was relatively easy for me to dismiss them as not being a “real” problem because they didn’t directly affect me.
However, since that fundraiser with M&RL, I started paying closer attention to what was actually happening. I did my own research and found many recent examples to racial and social injustice. I also asked a few of my black friends about their experience. These guys are pretty successful (high paying jobs, great families, etc) so I assumed they would tell me “no.” Instead, they looked at me like “Are you serious?! Yes, we can give you lots of examples. How much time do you have?”
If you don’t think these issues exist then I implore you to get out of your bubble and talk to other people, and learn what’s really happening. But that would require two things: 1) effort and 2) possibly putting yourself in an uncomfortable situation and learning things you’d rather pretend don’t exist.
On second thought, maybe it’s just better to preserve the illusion that everything is great for everyone.