I think the society we live in is so closed-minded, despite every one claiming to be “open-minded.”
Open-minded simply means you are willing to hear other people’s ideas and views. This idea is often associated with the liberal mindset and that all liberals are open-minded people while all conservatives are closed-minded.
I would like to challenge that. I think no matter what “side” someone is on politically, there are closed-minded people. For most people, it is hard to hear a new idea that contradicts with their own and welcome that viewpoint.
I know when I hear an opinion about something I already have made up my mind on, I tend to shut it down instead of looking further into both sides of the argument.
We as humans automatically assume that our opinion is right and everyone who disagrees is uneducated or unintelligent. However, when do we really take the time to sit down and ask why we feel a certain way or what lead us to that decision?
Often times, people who think a certain way surround themselves with people who think the exact same way. This doesn’t allow for any growth or new knowledge to come your way. You’re simply surrounding yourself with people who will 100% affirm your beliefs.
Behaving this way prohibits us from exploring and diving into other cultures and mindsets.
Our culture is in the midst of being a “cancel culture,” which means that if someone does something wrong just once or has a different opinion than you, they’re automatically “cancelled.”
This can result in exclusion or people feeling as if they can’t speak their minds. I know many students who feel like they can’t speak their mind because they feel like they’ll be looked down upon.
No opinion is right or wrong and everyone is entitled to their own beliefs. The only time where this wouldn’t be the case is if it involves a person’s civil liberties and rights.
If you don’t surround yourself with people from other backgrounds or belief systems, you limit yourself. You limit your knowledge and your ability to learn more.
As college kids, we’re in our 20’s; we have a long life to live and to think that we know everything at the age of 20 is absurd. We don’t know everything and there’s always room for growth. Even in your 50’s there is still room to learn.
I think this goes straight to the root that people are afraid of what they don’t understand or don’t know. This happens many times within different cultures.
Someone might not understand why a certain culture does something; therefore, you feel threatened or intimidated by it instead of asking questions or be willing to learn more.
This allows people to be “stuck in their ways” as we so often put it. I think the first step of challenging your biases is being aware of them.
If you believe that people deserve free college, ask yourself why you feel that way. Acknowledge that the reason you believe that is because of the way you grew up and that someone else might have a different point of view because they were raised differently.
If we have the ability to put ourselves in others shoes, we are already a step closer to being open-minded and willing to change our mindset or at least challenge it.
I also believe that people aren’t willing to simply admit that they don’t know something. Everyone always has an opinion about something and when he or she does not know enough about the topic, it definitely shows.
I have seldom been involved in conversations where the person admits that they don’t know enough about the topic to sit it out and not offer up an opinion.
People are so afraid of looking like they don’t know something so they either offer up invalid information or make themselves look like fools, or both. Sometimes admitting you don’t know enough about a topic is the way to go about learning.
Asking questions doesn’t mean you’re uneducated, it means you have the desire to strive and learn more. In the end, if you learn more about a topic you’ll be able to offer up an opinion that you’ve created based on the facts and information you have found.
Challenging our biases creates a comfortable environment to learn and grow in. If we don’t challenge our ways of thinking, we will stay stuck in this space of always feeling like we are the experts of a topic and we will often fail to dive beyond the surface level.