I do not consider myself an academic and rarely do I have intelligent, thought provoking conversations unless forced to do so. I tend to be a very surface level lady who enjoys the finer things in life such as conversations about food and ice cream. However, I can sense a change. I began reading for my doc program and was astounded at how wrong I had been about so many things.
Let me share.
For years we have been taught the value of our opinion and through social media hubs such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram we are encouraged to share our thoughts, lives, political stances, religious dealings, baby mama drama and court dates. We all have a very different view of social media and we all use it differently. But nonetheless we ALL feel that it is our right to share our opinion on whatever the good Lord sits on your heart. Well, my dears, I learned that this is no longer a fashionable position to take in this meager world of ours.
“What you mean Leslie?! I can share my opinion on WHATEVER I want, WHENEVER I want because don’t forget I have the FREEDOM OF SPEECH!”
Gahlee, honey child, you are correct. Feel free to share but let me explain. There is a CLEAR difference between your opinion and informed knowledge. Now, this distinction can most likely be seen on social media sites during heated political debates. We all want to share how we feel and most of the time we do share but are we sharing informed knowledge? Is our opinion an informed opinion? Have we taken the time to find sources to support our opinion?
Let me tell you about opinions per Ozlem Sensoy and Robin DiAngelo’s text “Is Everyone Really Equal? An Introduction to Key Concepts in Social Justice Education”.
And I quote:
“Opinion is the weakest form of academic engagement. When our comprehension and critical thinking are limited, expressing our opinion is the easiest response. Opinion doesn’t require us to understand the issues or engage with the course readings… Expressing these opinions simply rehearses what we already think and doesn’t require us to expand, question, or go beneath our ideas. Students often share their opinion as a cover-up for not understanding (169).”
Y’all. I nearly had a heart attack. I consider myself at least mildly educated and for years I have valued my opinion because I thought others valued my opinion. And then… this.
“Leslie, what is your point?”
Sorry, back to it. This passage allowed me to see that we as social beings and educated individuals do have the right to share our opinion. We do have a right to speak out about things that we are concerned about and things that we are passionate about. But dearies, this passage showed me that my opinion needs to be informed. SOOOO many times I speak out from personal experience, which is a form of informed knowledge but many times that is the only holding I have to support my stance.
Young grasshoppers. Be bold. Be passionate and be informed. As our world continues to throw social justice issues at us that break our hearts and enrage us, be informed about the situation. If we want this world to listen to us we have to give them more than just OUR opinion. We must give them facts, data, statistics, patterns, court cases, etc.
My dearies, your intelligence extends far beyond just your opinion. Prove it.
All my love and happy school year honeybuns.