I am about to say something the majority of people will probably disagree with. Members of Generation Z, supposedly known for being tolerant of everyone, ultimately view their beliefs as absolute truth. Anyone who goes against their specific worldview is considered not “woke.”

This is a toxic mindset.

When there is a difference in opinions, there should be a conversation. Civil dialogue is key to these discussions, yet differences in opinion often result in screaming and fighting or with someone getting canceled. 

Because of this, people who have opinions that do not follow the status quo often bite their tongues. They fear the backlash that could potentially come their way if they choose to share what they believe. 

In a society where individuality is championed, why are people so scared to speak up?

It's because we want to fit in.

Voicing unpopular opinions in the wrong environment can hurt your social life. The media takes advantage of this. Outlets often portray one group above another. They're very selective as to what they report and how they portray certain groups of people. 

Christians are a perfect example of this. Today’s society doesn’t really vibe with Christianity and its core beliefs. The media often blatantly mocks Christians in shows and movies. They are portrayed in such negative ways.

News outlets will be quick to identify a criminal suspect as a Christian, resulting in everyone jumping on board to call out the entire religion over one man’s actions.

This takes an entire group of people and negatively stereotypes them. That causes them to fear speaking out about their opinions and beliefs. It causes some people who once were joyful about their beliefs to begin distancing themselves from their source of happiness. (There’s a whole sermon about this subject, but this isn’t that kind of column.)

The point is that difference of opinion doesn’t always lead to fruitful discussions. It often leads to heated arguments between the two sides. Sometimes, one voice is louder than the other.

When that happens, people draw back. They stop talking about things they were once passionate about. Families stop talking to each other over differences in opinion. Long-time friendships are ended over petty debates. 

I shared one example. Look back on 2020, it is flooded with moments where differences in opinions caused a ton of conflict. As far as I remember, it was a pretty horrible year. 

If we continue down this path — where dialogue isn't welcome, and where a someone having a different opinion means they don't deserve one — we will never grow.

Do we really want to bring this same attitude into 2021?

Anthony is a 21-year-old English major from Opelousas.

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