Today, in class, my teacher quoted a friend of his, another professor at a different university. “I never believed that I was imposing my views on blank slates.”
This was referencing the argument people made that he shouldn’t give his college-aged students his own opinions, beliefs, and experiences when teaching. He was told that he must remain neutral in a classroom, especially while discussing literature and philosophy. He was there only to deliver the facts to other humans, not ‘impose his views’ onto them.
He countered, saying, “if we really want to be unbiased, let’s be clear about our biases.” His point was that no one is truly and utterly unbiased about anything. Everything we believe has come out of a lifetime of experiences and watching other people in their own lives. A man refuses to drink at all because his father was an alcoholic. A different man drinks every night… because his father was an alcoholic. Part of who we are is determined by who we don’t want to be. No matter what, we are influenced by our surroundings, therefore, we are never truly unbiased.
So you cannot remain neutral on a controversial topic, so you might as well be honest up front before continuing to present the situation and facts, besides, college kids are not blank slates. They are not instantly going to be changed because of one professor’s opinion. Instead, they will continue to grow, learn, experience, and build their own beliefs. Everyday, these beliefs are exposed and susceptible to change. To quote my professor, “Every time I think I’ve made up my mind about an issue, someone shows up in my life with a credible opinion that makes me question my own,” and I can only hope this continues to be true in my life. I want biases, arguments, and influences. They complicate what I want to be simple issues. After all, nothing is simple.