The Dilemma of Silence | Teen Ink

The Dilemma of Silence

April 25, 2008
By Anonymous

“Tell me about a moment in your life where you felt out of place or like the minority,” Mr. Vac. tells us in my history class. “This will show you civil rights in a new way. Some of you might not think of things. Some might, but do this assignment anyway. 1 page by tomorrow.”
I went home, thinking about what to write for his class. Honestly, I have been through many moments where I have felt awkward and out of place, but choosing the right one was going to be hard. Being an adopted Jew in New Hampshire has some of its downsides, and many memories that I wish I hadn’t had to drag up, came to mind.
I have always been a big believer in civil rights. After all, skin is just skin, beliefs are a part of us, and situations are totally circumstantial. We need to be more tolerant of what is in front of us. So I thought and decided on one of the more extreme instances that I had been faced with and I wrote. Just spilled what I felt in what I think was a very therapeutic session of thoughts.
And so, the next day, I walked into the class, feeling good about what I had written. After all, all I am is my thoughts and who I voice them, and this assignment helped me to do that. Then came the dreaded words, “Who wants to share?” Standing in front of people and speaking is one of the scariest things I have ever done, and I know that I most likely can’t escape it; it is just like having everyone stare at your insides. It’s exposing yourself fully in front of a room of people. A few others hands raised and they spoke, and I realized that many of the people in my class didn’t know what I have been through, they might not even be able to understand it, and so, I needed to speak, because staying silent was just enabling moments like the one I had written about to continue. I needed to break the silence, at least in myself. So I raised my hand and I spoke. I told the class my story, and even if the didn’t understand or didn’t really believe me, I did it, and my silence was gone.
Civil rights need to be talked about, opinions need to be voiced, and the silence needs to be shattered. We can stop the flow of ugly words and horrible suffering, just by speaking up and helping others to understand. My silence is broken, is yours

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