By Jennifer Forgaciu
Silence or Silenced?
“Silence is golden.” This is what we’ve been told by teachers, parents, and peers since we were younger. It was simply a gentle reminder to stop making unnecessary noise. But in today’s society, it has taken on a completely different meaning. So many times we are lied to and told that our society and its institutions promote inclusiveness. There’s only one catch: you must agree with them. As long as you agree with their beliefs, values, and opinions, they will gladly promote “inclusiveness.” It’s time to change that.
The primary reason this continues to flourish is because we have allowed ourselves to be silenced. It may be difficult to accept, but this does not make it any less true. From domestic violence to simply standing up for one’s self, we have given others the right to silence us. It is our own fault. Our constitutional right is being infringed upon because of us! We must stop giving others the power to silence us. It’s as if we are handing society a package with a bow on top; and that package contains all of the things we should’ve and could’ve said, which will now be tucked away, never to be retrieved. If you give others such power, they will gladly exercise it over you without a second thought. As Martin Luther King, Jr. once said: “History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.”
However, this is not to be misunderstood. We must still respect those in authority over us, such as: teachers, public officials, our President, etc. And if we respect them, we will not abuse our freedom of speech, either. It is when they (and those around us) abuse their authority that we must speak up.
There is only one way to overcome this disease of crippling fear, and that is to break the silence. Forget about what others may think of you. Forget about what they may say, or even do. Because there is a greater price to pay if you stay silent then if you stand up and say something. That is exactly what our society is afraid of – that one day, someone will take a stand and go against the “norm.” Don’t you see?! They are afraid of the day you won’t be afraid anymore. Once you break the silence, they no longer have any control over you. So go ahead; don’t be afraid. Break the silence.