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Outsider in my own home

October 13, 2023 at 4:00:00 PM

Billy Quick ‘25

Mercersburg Academy is, in the eyes of more right-leaning students, a liberal institution, similar to most other institutions of higher education. Many of my peers identify most strongly with liberal ideas, and with this comes an abundance of challenges for students from backgrounds and with views that differ from the mainstream on campus. Oftentimes in the classroom setting, I, along with other conservative-minded students, have felt marginalized and without a voice. 

When discussing the classroom environment,students such as Brayden Pearson ‘27, said he “wished teachers kept politics in their classes, but made it less obvious what side they leaned towards.” In my classes, I have often endured the difficulty of being the minority opinion on a topic and feeling disliked and judged. I’ve experienced feeling alone when discussing my view on an idea while having to constantly battle against a majority of the group, who are trying to dismantle my argument. It isn’t easy when you are ten-to-one in an argument. You must keep up the articulation of your thoughts with multiple other minds, and it’s extremely easy to get flustered when you don’t have anyone to support you in this situation. 

During one of my history classes, we debated the subject of meat production, specifically focused on the United States. The class was artificially split in two in order to prevent a lopsided assault by a larger group upon a smaller. However, most of the people in my class didn’t support meat production or understand the importance of meat production for ranchers. So when it came time to argue, my side didn’t even try to support the idea, and a lot of the argument relied on my personal experience. I felt that no matter what I said, my view was vilified. In all honesty, I wasn’t given the voice that I needed in order to express my opinion. 

And the issue isn't just me. I have spoken to others who have also felt like outliers to the general opinion of the community. Many have said that this scenario well describes how they feel when they find themselves in similar situations. Lucas Duarte ‘26 has said,” I felt like my history teacher passively made jokes about my political views” and “called me out unnecessarily” when discussing topics such as the second amendment. True learning can only occur when the true range of opinions on any subject is included.

The fact is, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all fix, but there is something that can be done to address this issue, and it comes down to individual actions. If we take others' views into consideration and try to understand how it feels for someone to be solitary in an issue, stop disregarding those with different thoughts on issues, and allow for freely flowing safe discussion, we can create an environment in which everyone can express their ideas freely and comfortably.

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