I didn’t know, so it’s fine
“Ignorance is bliss.”
This quote Thomas Gray mentioned in his poem titled “Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton College” is a well-known line and quite a lot of people recite it as they further express their admiration for the quote. The quote is popular for a reason, mainly because of its meaning. “Ignorance is bliss,” to put simply, you do not need to worry about something if you do not know about it. Indeed, it is an admirable quote, however, there are times when it cannot be considered as reasonable.
There are plenty of instances wherein the quote is untrue and instead of ignorance being bliss, it is vile, unpleasant, cruel, and problematic. There are times when I heard people my age say certain offensive words and use slurs. Even if someone corrects them, their response would be “I didn’t know” or “I had no idea” or worst of them all, “How was I supposed to know?”
Their excuse for being disrespectful is simply because they did not know any better. It is a clear exhibit of ignorance. As humans, we can decipher between right and wrong, and as we grow older that ability becomes well-built, I and my peers may be young, but I am confident that we know that some words should not be said, and that ignorance is not an excuse.
Perhaps the education system failed us? Were we not taught by our elders properly? Or is it simply within our own morals? Even if the answer to all the questions were “yes,” there is still the Internet and other mediums that could teach us, inform us, and make us more self-aware, while the Internet is not completely credible in teaching morals, it could certainly be a steppingstone for some, but I digress.
It is noticeable that people come off as more ignorant when it comes to words in comparison to actions and other things. Too many times I heard my fellow Filipinos and people of varying nationalities make offensive remarks regarding someone’s race, I see my community growing in diversity and it is exciting, those who were once tourists are now citizens of the place I call home, but fear comes over me when I get reminded that ignorance could easily affect that in a negative way. Ignorance was always a problem, and it will continue to be one unless we do something about it.
We should be taught of certain offensive words, the history of them, and as to why we cannot use them, otherwise people will use the words and excuse themselves by saying “Well I didn’t know what it meant” or “Nobody told me it was bad,” while it is a given that you should not say words you do not know the meaning of, there are still a handful of people who are unaware of that fact, especially the younger generation. If nobody is there to teach us, then we can educate ourselves. Ignorance should never be taken lightly, especially in certain circumstances, so it is only right that we prevent its negative effects.