The Price We Pay

“… there’s too much of this society that benefits from the sustained ignorance of our young people.”

This quote alone is haunting to me. I recognize that it’s true. People profit from others’ ignorance. Eddie Brown Sr., a pastor I enjoy hearing speak because he always has such solidly profound things to say, often says, “I don’t know if ignorance is bliss, but I know it’s expensive.” And it’s true. It costs so much to be ignorant, yet so many people are willing to pay that high price.

I don’t want to be judgmental. Judgers tend to be insecure, self-righteous individuals who view the world as an “us” and “them” place, where very few people meet the standards to be “us” members. So that’s my preface to saying, sometimes I wonder if I’m judging, even though I work hard not to. When I see and hear people frolicking, relishing, nay, basking in their own ignorance, it infuriates me. We live in a world where information is easily accessible. There are factors that prohibit certain of us from accessing information as easily as others, but information is out there. What kind of person chooses ignorance? What kind of person chooses to be oppressed? I find myself inadvertently turning my nose up at those people. But then I think, I’m no better than they are because they chose not to know. But the problem comes when I’m subjected to talking with the people who chose not to know. It’s hard to have a conversation or be in a relationship with a person who simply chooses not to know.

When is ignorance OK? What can I—a lover of my people and self, a womanist, feminist, all these things, whatever they mean—do to help our sons? I recognize that our communal success rests on our shoulders and is contingent upon our ability to uplift one another. If I/we don’t empower, I/we pay the price.

“For Our Sons” is a documentary that urges us, as a people, in particular, not to chose ignorance. You can own the documentary for free (paying only for shipping and handling) and watch the first 13 minutes by clicking

~ by MsInklination on June 18, 2009.

4 Responses to “The Price We Pay”

  1. I used to say that same thing all the time. “When you know better, you do better,” until I acknowledged that it’s not necessarily so. If I use that cliche, I now tack on the world “hopefully.” Think of, for example, all the people who know smoking is bad for them (and even affects those around them, inhaling the poison they’ve exhaled) but they still smoke? Trite example, but I think the point is made.

    Then I wonder this to: Is ignorance always a cry for help or is it sometimes just ignorance? Can you cry for help you don’t know is there or you don’t know you need? And who determines whether or not you need it? Who are we to say what someone else needs?

    I wholeheartedly agree with you, however, that if we don’t teach one another, our festering sore can and may lead to our ultimate demise.

    • Good points. I feel that just because a person doesn’t know they need help doesn’t mean they don’t need it. You’re very right in the sense that it may not be our place to determine what assistance someone needs to lead them out of their ignorance, but if we don’t even attempt to aid them how can we continue to complain about the state that we’re in?

      • Totally agreed. Just because someone doesn’t know they need help doesn’t mean they don’t need it. It’s just that I believe we have to be careful about how we propose proselytizing our higher truths and abandoned ignorance, if you will. It takes a village. I get that. If “we” don’t help “them,” who will? I guess I’m just afraid to be come one of those people I avoid who imposes their thoughts and feelings about the way things should be on me, when it’s really just that–the their thoughts and feelings. There’s Truth and then there’s personal truth. Who am I to say no one should, say, live on skid row? There may be people who are content with their life on the row. Those who have things just as they want them there. But I’m also keenly aware that some people don’t know that there are options. There’s a fine line between presenting options and expecting acculturation to our personal standards.

  2. Ignorance is not bliss and one should never make the mistake of calling it so. It’s hard for people to look at for what it is and try to correct it. Ignorance is a cry for help. we as a community need to answer this cry. It’s not a car alarm that will eventually go off. It’s like a growth that will continue to plague us if we don’t take care of it by teaching one another.
    When you know better, you do better.

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