You’re not entitled to your ignorance


Noor Fatima

People share their opinions everyday on their interests, politics, TV shows, food and more. The Sidekick’s CHS9 editor Iniya Nathan thinks many people hide behind their thoughts being an opinion in order to say hurtful things.

Iniya Nathan, CHS9 Editor

If you have nothing nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

This is a phrase every one of us have ingrained into our heads since kindergarten, perhaps even earlier. Despite that, many people seem to be intent on hurting others, using one excuse to do so.

I am entitled to my own opinion.

I am entitled to the belief that anyone who uses this phrase to defend their demeaning statement from criticism has no idea what an opinion is. 

According to, an opinion is “a belief or judgment that rests on grounds insufficient to produce complete certainty.” 

In other words, it is a belief that someone has but is not fact because there is little evidence to prove it.

Hurting people is wrong. Being sexist, racist, homophobic, ableist or simply believing that any group of people deserve less rights or respect than you is not an opinion. You are not forming an opinion based on the lack of certainty in a subject; you are letting your ignorance rule your mind and refusing to get educated.

And your comments are not harmless. Saying that you look down on certain minority groups and want to hurt people from said groups is harmful even if you do not follow up in the actual act of physically hurting someone, especially if this comment is on the internet. 

Nearly 60 percent of the global population are active Internet users. That many people now have access to that one harmful comment. Your comment will reach impressionable minds who will take your comment to heart, especially if you are a person with the power to influence others. Simply take a look at how a few comments from former President Donald Trump lead to conspiracies about a very real and scary pandemic. While you might have not physically hurt after anyone, the people who follow you will. That will be on your conscience. 

And they will not be the only person to see that comment. Minority groups see and hear ‘opinions’ about them a lot, in their work spaces, in their schools, on the internet, etc. It does affect them negatively.

I see hundreds of people on the internet denouncing people of color, denouncing immigrants, speaking as if anyone who does not look white deserves all the hate in the world of simply existing in the great United States. I am an American citizen, yet to some people I do not belong. I see people degrade women, speaking about them as if women are nothing more than objects. I see the hate all around me and I am afraid. When I walk the streets I feel uncomfortable whenever someone who does not look like me, who is not a person of color like me, a woman like me, looks at me for longer than a second. When I talk to someone new, I am afraid to speak my mind because I do not know theirs. And I am not the only one to feel unsafe in this country. 

Your so-called ‘opinion’ is not allowed to make anyone feel unsafe. No, it is not within your rights to say that, and no, it is not what freedom of speech is. Your freedom of speech does in fact allow you to say whatever you want but also means you have to face the consequences of your words. If you say something that is hurtful, you face the consequences of hurting someone. You do not ignore their hurt because you “said nothing wrong” because you “told friends the same thing and they did not find it wrong.”’ You do your research, you listen to the minority voices that you have hurt, you learn. You apologize. 

It is human to make a mistake and it is decency to apologize for it. 

Just because you feel safe walking the streets does not mean others do. Just because you are not discriminated against does not mean others are not. Just because you do not see the problem does not mean you are not the problem. A lot of topics that are considered political or opinionated are really not. Or rather, they shouldn’t be. Human rights should not be political. The government should not have the right to dictate whether me being me is right and neither should anyone else. Political opinions are fine; in fact, they are necessary when they are not putting a group of innocent people in harm’s way.

I am a very opinionated person. I believe that pineapple does in fact belong on pizza, and blue is the prettiest color to ever exist, and that cats are a million times better than dogs or any other animal for that matter and that books are better than ebooks. I know not everyone will agree with me. I know that these opinions will never be proven as fact. But most importantly, I know that these thoughts will never hurt anyone.

Now I suggest you look through all your own opinions and see, are they really opinions? Or are they the products of ignorance?

Follow Iniya (@iniya_v) and @CHSCampusNews on Twitter.