Life with Derek

Dear Derek,

Normally, I don’t pay that much attention in class; however, lately my class has been crazy. Students in my class usually state their opinions, which results in a debate for every class period. Usually, I don’t participate; however last week I did because two guys in my class said that women don’t deserve to be in high positions such as CEOs or presidents of companies. I was expecting multiple people to step in and argue against that, but I was the only person who took offense to this and debated. I’m a little anxious to participate in class again because I feel like no one else agreed with me. Should I continue to speak up in class, even though no one else does?

Sincerely, Female Strong


Dear Female Strong,

First off, never apologize for stating your opinion. This is why we have our first amendment. If we don’t say something, who will? Yes, we can’t force people to take back the words they say, but we can have strong and powerful meanings behind the words we say. I personally don’t think people realize the meanings they hold behind their words. Saying words such as “retarded” or “gay” when they’re used out of context is demeaning.

When I was a freshman in high school I used to say the word “retarded” because several of my friends would say it, and I never thought much against it. However, one day I said it in front of my friend who has an autistic little brother. She didn’t say anything to me about it, but the look she gave me didn’t need words to explain the pain she felt when I said that. Now, I ask people to stop using the word “retarded” around me because I personally have seen the negative effects that word can have on others.

Female Strong, you have to remember we have opinions for a reason. Yes, multiple people won’t speak up, only because as humans we fear to make a scene. We don’t like to make a scene because it makes us stand out; however, when it comes to gender inequality why conform and stay silent? Female Strong, we accept the love we think we deserve, so if you think breaking the glass ceiling is an important goal that needs to be applied in society, then speak up. If you don’t speak up, who will? Complaining about something isn’t enough. To make an impact you need to take action.

Having personal courage isn’t about being the loudest, but being the boldest. If no one agrees with what you’re passionate about, that’s okay. Like I have said in previous columns, you don’t have to agree or accept what people believe or say; however, you do have to respect them as a person. We all have different views. Whether you voted for Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, you still deserve the right to vote and voice your opinion. Obviously, you don’t have to respect their opinions for whatever is perceived, but at the same time, they don’t have to accept your opinion as well.

Female Strong, I highly encourage you to speak up because it creates a conversation and brings attention to an issue that needs to be talked about. The reason why many movements have proceeded to be successful in the past was because people were sick of the status quo and took action. It might seem like your opinion doesn’t matter, but maybe you will inspire someone to take action. A small act of kindness might inspire someone to start a movement or it might even save someone’s life.

In addition, how could you expect someone to change if you never address the problem? Now, I’m not saying to personally attack the two gentlemen by insulting them or publicly shaming them because that brings you down to their level. Overall, state your opinion because this allows you to educate others. People might change their opinion based on what you have to say.

Sincerely, Derek

The views expressed are those of the writer and not necessarily those of The Torch.

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