Ignorance Isn’t Bliss, It’s a Weapon: The Consequences of Ignoring the Suffering of Others

By DaiJhah Owens


How can we still be fighting the same battles? Poverty, Racial & Cultural genocide have been around, well since forever! We have thousands of non-profits in the U.S. alone tackling social justice issues but there seems to be no real end in sight. Why? Some would say capitalism, others may say a corrupt government. Maybe so, but I would say one of the biggest threats to change is willful ignorance. That may seem like an overly simplistic answer but hear me out.

Willful ignorance is to be aware there are things you don’t know but ignore them due to the discomfort it may cause. For example, when a white person has black or people of color as friends but dodges the topics of social justice during conversations in order to avoid being faced with their own privilege. This is willful ignorance, and is very harmful. You see, if they never learn the full extent to which the current systems we live under have harmed their friends than they can’t be held responsible, they can simply say “I had no idea.”

Because of the ignorance of the privileged, generations of families stay in poverty and black men are gunned down by law enforcement without consequence. Your “I had no idea” holds power and it will cost someone their life. “I had no idea” may seem innocent but when people in power are not held accountable by those with privilege, the oppressed will continue to be harmed. If the goal is long lasting change and a better world for ALL people, those apart of privileged groups must be willing to do three things; learn, address their own complicity, and take action. Our oppressive systems uses ignorance as a weapon to ensure the status quo.

I am tired of the status quo. Minorities and other oppressed people have been fighting the status quo for too long. We take two steps forward and 3 steps back. It seems like we’re just running in a hamster wheel. This fight cannot continue to just be ours but, if someone is unaware there is a battle to be fought, how can they join the war?

DaiJhah Owens is a Contributing Writer for the Pedestal Project, LLC. DaiJhah is passionate about shifting political power to oppressed groups through education. She believes there is nothing more powerful than an educated black woman who can smell political BS a mile away! Connect with her on Instagram at @d_nakhole!

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