One day before class started, another student told me that any man accused of sexual harassment is guilty—no matter if there is evidence against them or not. I find this view reprehensible, but college is a time to learn and grow. It provides a unique opportunity to be around people from all over the world who might not share the same beliefs as you, and this opportunity was a chance to examine my own. As such, I listened.
However, sometimes, this can be hard. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but what if that opinion is too bigoted? Here are some helpful tips if you hear someone saying a belief that hits a nerve.
1. Walk Away
This is what a reasonable person would do. Everyone on your campus has a first amendment right to say what they believe and you have a right to walk away. It isn’t always worth your time, and it isn’t worth a discussion. Instead, go study for that exam you should have started studying for days ago, and go home.
2. Engage In A Civil Discussion
If you can keep calm, have a discussion with them. Stay civil. The best way to learn on your campus is to talk to people you disagree with. You might think their views are crazy. Great! All the more reason you should want to understand where they are coming from. If you only know one side of an argument, you really don’t know anything about the subject at all. Be open to learning. A calm discussion can go a long way in making a new friend and broadening your horizons. You probably won’t agree in the end, but it will be worth your time to understand your own views better.
3. Start Sharing Your Views
If you see a group of students sharing their beliefs, get a group together and do the same. Find some friends who have the same political or religious beliefs as you and start a club. Then you can share with the campus what you believe. Sharing what you believe on campus might seem scary, and you might get some pushback; however, the only way your peers will learn is if you tell them.
4. If You Can’t Handle It, Drop Out
If you can’t do any of the suggestions above, you don’t belong in school. The university is a place of intellectual diversity where you are supposed to be challenged in your beliefs. If you are unable to handle yourself by either walking away or engaging in civil discussion, then there is no way you can survive your classes. You will be challenged in college. If you can’t handle it, don’t come.
The one thing to not do if offended is to retreat to a safe space. We don’t need safe spaces on campus. Some ideas will confuse, shock, and sometimes offend you. That is the point. Engage with them. Learn from them. Shutting them down or out only hurts you.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.