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Dansereau: Willful ignorance is privilege

Opionion Editorial by Shaela Dansereau, Pipestone Flyer
Shaela Dansereau, Editor of the Pipestone Flyer

Every day I am surrounded by media. It is my job to be alert to what is going on in my local area not only during the working hours, but in the mornings and evenings as well. Like many others, I open my social media apps multiple times a day and casually peruse their contents.

I also keep my eyes open to other stories going on around me — not just in Canada but in other countries and continents. I have dealt with a lot of COVID-19 burnout, especially in the last few months when the actions of the past few years have finally caught up to me.

When I tell people this their number one recommendation is ‘don’t go online,’ ‘spend less time watching the news,’ etc. While those suggestions are good temporary tools for dealing with stress and burnout there are three things I have to remind them of:

1. It is just a temporary break — and although it may be good for a small amount of time, to completely become a digital nomad off the grid forever is next to impossible so its best to implement coping strategies such as time limits on social media rather than multi-month hiatuses.

2. I work in media so simply deleting my social media accounts is definitely impossible.

3. It is an incredibly privileged standpoint to be able to remove yourself from current events and ignore the world around you.

Speaking on point three, I don’t mean to say that anyone is a bad person for not paying attention to the outside world and living safely within their bubble. However, it is an ability of someone who is very privileged.

We don’t have to be vigilantly searching for news on whether our home has been destroyed by the war or wondering if our reproductive rights will be taken away by the government within months.

The way I see it is that I have all this information in my hands, at the touch of a screen. I may not be able to do everything that I want to do to help those struggling in war zones like Ukraine or the middle east, or to physically march with the women in the United States at the moment, but I can stay informed.

Knowledge is power and staying ignorant will only allow for acts to be done without challenge or repercussion.

We are in the middle of critical events in history, the pandemic included, and I don’t want to look back generations from now and be one of the people who says ‘I had no idea that was even happening’.

I have talked to multiple people lately who have no idea about the current situation in Ukraine, or the potential decision by the USA Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade. I realize that we all have our own struggles to work out in our own lives, I know I do, but I don’t think ignorance is bliss — I think ignorance is just ignorance.

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