Ignorance Isn’t Bliss


Amanda Black

The “Libertyville bubble” may prevent people in our community from wanting to be aware of international issues. But by watching the news, people can break through this bubble and help others around the world.

It’s easy to ignore issues when they don’t directly affect us, and I’ll admit that I’m guilty of doing exactly that. It’s easy to ignore politics when our life or our safety is not at stake.

But unfortunately, not everyone has the luxury of tuning out the news simply because they “don’t want to hear it” or because it’s “too sad.”

Of course, it’s not your fault if you were born into a life of privilege or the “Libertyville bubble,” as it’s often referred to. But that doesn’t mean you can’t pop this bubble; start by expanding your perspective.

Let me define the bubble as I see it: It’s a barrier that shelters us from the outside world; a place where our privilege blinds us from recognizing the suffering of others. According to DataUSA, a website that collects and shares government data, the average household income in Libertyville as of 2016 was $119,125, nearly double the $60,690 median for Illinois, and $57,617 in the United States. Eighty-nine percent of our population is Caucasian, while 61.6 percent of Illinois residents and 61.1 percent of residents in the United States fit this description.

Obviously, our town of 20,435 people is not an accurate representation of our nation as a whole, let alone the entire world, so why would we let it dictate our views when we only see such a small portion of the world?

It would be unfair for me to assume that everyone in Libertyville falls under these exact demographics. A median household income takes into account all numbers from both extremes, as well as right in the middle. Eighty-nine percent of our population being Caucasian still leaves 11 percent, which is more than 2,000 people. Their lives are of equal value to the other 89 percent.

Across Libertyville, the lives of countless men, women, and gender-neutral individuals differ greatly from my own. Someone’s life may be drastically changed by a new policy or regulation that I would never even give a second thought to, simply because it didn’t directly affect me.

It’s easy to stay in this bubble; it feels safe, it feels comfortable and it’s familiar. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying these perks, as long as we’re aware of our privilege and its effects. We can’t let it blind us from what’s happening on the other side of the world, let alone the other parts of our country. If we never work to understand the different perspectives around us, we will never truly experience unity as a country or world.

Sure, it’s a little unreasonable to expect everyone to be informed on every subject, particularly a high school student who already has enough on their plate. But I don’t think it’s too much to ask for people to simply stay informed on what’s going on outside of Libertyville.

And I get it; it’s frustrating, it’s sad and it’s tiring to follow everything that’s going on — especially now, when it’s seemingly impossible to turn on the news and not hear a story that’s about someone or something suffering.

If you feel sad or discouraged because of the things you hear, that’s all the more reason to get involved. Change never has and never will come unless people who truly care step forward and fight for what they believe in.

I’m not suggesting that everyone needs to pursue a career in political science or set their sights on the White House, but instead that each person must fulfill their civic duty. I believe that no one is truly free while others are oppressed. So, until there is true equality for every man,

woman and gender-neutral individual– and we have a long way to go before reaching that– we must stay informed and stay involved.

Staying informed is not as daunting of a task as you might first think. It could be as simple as taking a 10-minute study break to watch the news. And who doesn’t love study breaks? While you eat breakfast in the morning, scroll through a newspaper’s website or listen to the news as you drive to school. Listen to a podcast while you get ready in the morning, or follow a news outlet on social media. Perhaps the best way to challenge your own intellect is to talk with someone whose viewpoints differ from your own.

By no means do I want you to feel guilty about your privilege, but rather I hope you’ll keep it in the back of your mind as you go through life so that you can use your privilege in whatever way you can to make the world a better place.