August 23, 2017

PC: Privilege Should Not Mean Ignorance

Photo courtesy of WordPress.com

by Laura Arango ’20

Opinion Staff

At Providence College, students live in a bubble. We see, do, and experience similar things every day of the school year. We are blessed with the opportunity to attend classes and receive a higher education that will eventually allow us to have degrees that determine our careers. It is easy to get engrossed in this habitual lifestyle—and it’s not wrong.

However, PC is just a small portion of the world and it’s important and healthy to gain perspective every now and then on just how truly lucky we are. While PC is a stupendous institution, it facilitates a community that does not see the world outside of the proverbial bubble.

My native country, Colombia, experienced a devastating mudslide this past Sunday. Colombia experienced torrential rains, the agent responsible for the deaths of hundreds, and the overflow of three rivers in southern Colombia. The Colombian military reported “234 deaths and said that 158 people were missing” according to CNN. Among those that passed, there were 43 children and 22 hospitalized.

Saturday night, on the opposite side of the world, 20 were killed at a shrine in Pakistan’s Punjab province at the hands of the shrine’s custodian. That same night, an explosion at a carnival outside of Paris injured at least twenty. On Saturday morning in Russia, 100 gay men were arrested in Chechnya. The “Chechen police also killed three people while rounding up men suspected of homosexuality,” according to Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta.

In the world there are natural disasters that kill hundreds constantly and there are hate-crimes that occur just as frequently. In the Russian republic, spokesman Alvi Karimov told a news agency: “You cannot arrest or repress people who just don’t exist in the republic. If such people existed in Chechnya, law enforcement would not have to worry about them, as their own relatives would have sent them to where they would never return.”

Outside of the United States, a country known for its freedom and openness, there are areas of the world that are still following the same bigoted rhetoric that caused the Jewish Holocaust in the early 20th century. However, I am willing to bet that most of the readers of this article did not know that any of the aforementioned occurred. That simple truth does not make you a bad person. It just goes to show that we live in a country that is so submerged in privilege that we forget that other countries do not share the same advantages.

The college we attend everyday does not talk to us about these things. We hear of Friars Give Day and even formals for every class, but we do not hear about world events. Knowledge is power and in order to reject ignorance in its most theoretical maximum then we must know that there are bigger problems occurring around the world every day. The real world constitutes people of different races, cultures, and backgrounds than what we at PC see.

Therefore, it is at the very least crucial to know the hardships of other countries so we can value the blessings of ours and strive to work for a better planet altogether. We can choose to burst the Providence College bubble.

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