To the Editor,

In the viewpoint “Learning to Be Fearlessly Opinionated,”  [The Hoya, Sept. 22, 2017, A3] I can relate to a lot of what the author is feeling. As I am more reserved, I tend to keep quiet in social settings, not wanting to stir controversy or contradict what another person has said. The author is right in wanting to overcome her trepidation and become more vocal in sharing her beliefs.

Being opinionated is something different. The definition of opinionated is to be “conceitedly assertive and dogmatic in one’s opinions.” It means to be so rigid as to disregard other points of view. The author notes that many on the left have “felt empowered to share their unadulterated thoughts” on social media in the wake of the 2016 election. However, the same has been true for voices on the right. Can we seriously claim that the hyper-partisanship online has been constructive or led to greater understanding on either side? While it has undoubtedly become a powerful tool for mobilization, social media acts as a sounding board for like-minded people. Sites like Facebook use algorithms to deliver us news and information that conforms to our already held beliefs, making it less likely that we will come across ideas that are not aligned with our own.

My purpose here is not to discourage people from taking a stand . Our convictions compel us to fight, as the author astutely points out. Yet when we fail to consider alternative views, we limit our perspective and allow ourselves to be driven further from those we disagree with. We would all do better to engage in honest, direct dialogue, the kind which can’t be had online.

Benjamin Croner

Former Admissions Coordinator, Georgetown University

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