When I first received the opportunity to become a published writer I vowed to use my platform to empower and never shame people for being in circumstances that are largely a result of factors/forces outside of themselves. Sometimes it’s the classic “pull yourself up by your boot straps” argument; in terms of a conservative view that people of lower-socioeconomic standings have the ability and responsibility to persevere of their own will and ascend to higher levels of socioeconomic status.
At other times it’s the “look at what she’s wearing, she was asking for it” argument; where many people hold that a women who dresses in revealing clothing is essentially inviting unwanted sexual advances by men therefore if she is assaulted it is of little to no responsibility of the person who commits the offense. Either way I realize that victim blaming is an anti-intellectual approach to arguing a belief which diminishes the role/responsibility of outside groups acting on the victim.
Where this type of thinking becomes problematic is in the instance a person who presents a victim-blaming argument refuses to acknowledge the various factors that contribute to making someone a victim. Where people of lower-socioeconomic standings, in particular, African Americans who are disproportionately relegated to lower social classes, do have some responsibility to create networks of economic development, it is anti-intellectual to not take into account the historical and continuing systems of white supremacy and racism that constantly act against the development of black enterprise. There is a difference between understanding a person’s plight, and assuming that it is of their own fault for having experienced struggle and therefore solely responsible for gettin out of said struggle.
(Note: Throughout history there have been various instances of colonial/neocolonial states i.e. Britain, France, United States, acknowledging and attempting to reconcile for their paternalistic policies of acting on and exploiting a plethora of ethnic groups worldwide. So why give them a pass when it comes to the African American community if today we are still able to identify instances of the state implementing these type of policies?)
The role of the intellectual in society is to identify and work towards the ideals that aim to perfect society. By distinguishing fact from opinion, right from wrong and good from evil through scientific means is how human beings obtain knowledge. If you aren’t trying to define what is right and what is wrong then what is the point of having an opinion? It’s not ‘ignorant’ to disregard someone’s opinion if they present a biased argument that doesn’t take into account the entirety of a situation.
Anti-intellectualism allows people to hold onto their opinions without being responsible for providing evidence to support their claims or establishing a base of credibility, where the intellectual is to be held accountable for objective analysis’ of social and political issues.
With all of my integrity still intact, I will conclude this piece by stating opinions can be wrong and that I do not have to respect anyone’s opinion if it does not come from a place of academic or intellectual honesty. As a scholar and person who adheres to the ancient Egyptian principles of Ma’at I believe it is an anti-intellectual injustice done whenever a person or group of people suggest that opinions should not be refuted because “everybody is entitled to their own opinion”…