THE TALON
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By Lucas Smalley

As far back as our country’s history takes us, disagreements have always been a giant factor in the growth and prosperity of the human race. The Declaration of Independence, the Civil Rights Movement, Civil War, are all examples of how disagreements have arisen and made our country a nation of freedom and openness. Unfortunately, diverse opinions on culture and issues such as politics and social views are hard to come across in our generation due to our fear of backlash from their opinions. 

While Cancel Culture mostly aims towards people who have a big audience such as celebrities or social media influencers, Cancel Culture can still play a role in the silencing of teens’ beliefs both on and away from social media.  

The fear of being canceled or silenced from the perspective of young people boils down to young people wanting to be accepted. 

Adolescents are sensitive to peer rejection, and they spend more time with their peers than their families, according to the National Library of Medicine.  If teens’ beliefs do not align with the people they associate with, they will likely resort to staying silent when speaking on specific topics, such as politics, to avoid backlash. When teens keep their opinions to themselves rather than making an argument as to why they believe their peers’ opinions are wrong, they prioritize their desire for approval and acceptance from the person with whom they disagree. 

The issue isn’t only with teens trying to be accepted by peers, but also by their families. When attempting to express opinions with older people in teens’ lives, they tend to avoid sharing opposing opinions to avoid conflict. Their views or opinions might spark argument or even disownment through just having an opinion on an issue.

Spouting false claims and creating an unsafe place for teens and children with the rise of social media creates an atmosphere of intimidation that negatively impacts the minds of this impressionable generation. 

I have seen and experienced this feeling of hiding, yet there is no need to. For example, when discussing my political views with an elderly family member, I tend to keep silent when I disagree.  I’ve kept silent and did not oppose a statement made by my family to show respect, however, we all should be able to disagree respectfully. Opinions do not completely define who we are–they are ideas. 

Voicing your opinion on certain subjects should not be a problem for anyone. We are all entitled to our own opinions. So speak up and stand up for what you believe in. Whether it be your opinion on politics, religion, or even social standpoints, speaking up–respectfully–is better than staying silent.

 

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