I’ve often wondered why students feel so hard pressed to delve into analytical thought. It seems to me that among the most vital components of a college education are the countless opportunities to engage in critical analysis. The college experience affords an incredible number of activities through which students can access these opportunities. From the classroom setting, to study groups, to an array of extracurricular activities, students are provided the means by which to challenge their intellectual capacities. In fact, I feel as though I provide you, my readers and peers, a service by making a weekly contribution to your palette of intellectually-stimulating opportunities.
My main issue of contention today it that it seems too often I receive feedback regarding my writing from readers whose sole reactions are unsupported defensiveness or critique about grammatical structure and spelling to question the worthiness of my ideas. (I should point out here that concerns of a technical nature are best addressed by my editor.) This failure to engage in a more analytic critique of the topic at hand is not, I would assume, a phenomenon unique to many of my column responses. I have no doubt that its occurrence is recognizable to some of my fellow columnists, among a number of the professors at this institution and even to some of the more thoughtful students on this campus.
It is a far less challenging endeavor to devalue the ideas of another with defensive, meritless retort than to invest time and thought in the construction of a viable argument. I write to provoke consideration for issues of significance in our community and in society, and to encourage dialogue between those with conflicting views. My writing is intended to promote analysis of influential and policy-shaping events. I don’t anticipate encountering agreement with all of my ideas. My only expectation is one of respectful and intellectual discourse.
I don’t doubt the ability of you, my readers, to participate in dialogue of this nature; I simply question your consistent unwillingness to do so.
I highly encourage responses to my columns, especially when there is a disagreement with my judgment or a challenge to my perspective. Assert that I’m wrong, explain to me why you think so and then enlighten me with what for you is your own truth. Please don’t bore me with e-mails detailing my demise in hell, don’t send me messages of a harassing nature and certainly don’t call me at home with wildly concocted stories to elicit a response because you don’t agree with my perspective on human rights.
I have a great appreciation for the passion students here at CSU feel for a variety of issues. I propose to those of you who feel strongly about certain issues that you give voice to your concerns in a credible and effective manner. Stand strong and defend your values from those who would oppose you. Defend your ideas without hiding in the shadows of defensiveness.
Veronica Garcia is a senior majoring in sociology.