OPINION: It’s important to be provocative in 2019

By Anthony Karlsson, Media Sales Rep

Anthony Karlsson
Media Sales Rep
(312) 369-8984

We live in a “say this, not that” culture, and there is a fundamental problem with that: It constrains free thought. Sometimes you have to push past social boundaries to get a point across—as Colin Kaepernick did in 2016 when he first knelt during the National Anthem to protest police brutality and racism.

If you go against the status quo, many people immediately assume you must not be intelligent. That in itself is ignorant and is the very reason we need to be provocative.

If we look back through history, some of the most iconic figures whom we look up to today were radicals with provocative ideas. The thought of women having rights at one time was taboo, and if it weren’t for Elizabeth Stanton and Susan B. Anthony speaking up on these controversial topics, women may not have the rights they do today.

Malcolm X spoke truth to power as he fought in the Civil Rights Movement so African Americans could have equal rights. Many people didn’t want black people to have rights, but he pushed the culture forward into a better place. It is the work of the outliers who choose to, and continue to, speak their minds whom we need to take notes from.

We shouldn’t have to be comedians or artists to say something controversial nowadays. It’s within each and every one of our constitutional rights to speak up. In an ever-changing world, students, business professionals and general citizens should be free to express their true perspectives without the fear of being judged or shamed because they hold an unpopular belief. Ignorance is an innate human quality. Everyone knows a thing or two, but we can’t know everything.

People are starting to confuse their beliefs with facts. People feel so strongly about their beliefs that if you say anything to the contrary they take it as a personal attack. We’re at a moment in time where people are scared to say what they truly believe for fear of being rejected. We can’t live in a world where people are too afraid to say something because of potential backlash from their peers. How else do we create a conversation that leads to change?

I am not advocating for saying distasteful things, but I am encouraging the expression of true opinions and beliefs. Say “no” to things you don’t believe in. Join marches and pump your fist up high. Swear in public. Talk about topics that get people riled up. The more they hear and see it, the more you plant a seed in their mind.