People need to walk the walk and not just talk

Actions speak louder than words. As easy as it is to say that, it can be difficult to make actions against ideas or customs that have long been deemed acceptable. In the wake of Donald Trump’s election, there has been a substantial increase in people speaking up against social inequalities.

It is essential that we treat everyone fairly if America truly wants to call itself the land of the free. But there is a difference between sending a tweet or wearing an outfit and actively making a change to the systematic problems in our country. The majority of people do not want to live in a country where factors of your identity determine how you are treated.

Saying there is a problem is not the same as helping to eliminate the problem. 

There is a similar dynamic at SPA when we don’t follow through after voicing our opinions or clapping our hands. After a socially charged senior speech that questions the way our society runs there is usually a standing ovation, loud clapping, and lots of congratulatory comments. But both students and faculty seem unable to bridge the gap between supporting a movement and being a productive part of it. It is the same thing with the Opinion Board and even Harkness discussions. We generally present a strong viewpoint but don’t seem able to follow through with what our opinions must entail to become a reality.

This is by no means stating that all people at the school are a part of this unproductive trend. Disparities in the treatment of certain identities mean that some people are unable to follow through on their opinions because it is their life. However we can all be doing more. Every time we speak in a class discussion, congratulate a speaker, or post on the opinion board we need to think about how accurately our actions reflect our words.

While writing an opinion on the opinion board, it is vital that we take a second to think about what role we are playing in the change we are proposing. When discussing important issues in class, it’s important to reflect on the role we play, as individuals, in perpetuating or solving the problem. When creating awareness, we need to plan for the action: volunteering our time, advocating for policy, taking a leadership role, or committing to learning more.

People should be and need to be expressing their opinions to build awareness, but they need to follow up with action. It is okay to speak without immediately making a change, but expressing an opinion needs to be followed by a reflection of whether stating that opinion is enough to make an impact.