#woke / by Kailee Haong

Every day, I am haunted with the ghost of my past-self kept alive by the embalming fluid known as “Facebook ‘On This Day.’”

While a majority of my posts from six, seven years ago are simply a monotonous string of “I’m bored”s followed by an occasional scream into the void (you know, those posts you made that have ZERO interaction), some were flat out rude and ignorant.

There have been a few occasions where I’ve been baffled by younger me’s lack of knowledge, but rather than condemn myself for what I used to believe and how I used to think, I’m actually quite grateful to see the progress I have made.

It would be incredibly easy to call me out and say I am a hypocrite—to ask how I could stand for what I do today, and how I could explain what I used to think and believe—but shouldn’t we be proud of the strides I’ve made? At least, I know I’m proud of myself for that. What people and the general public needs to know is that it’s okay to change your mind or your opinion on something. In fact, that’s precisely what education tends to do to people.

While I’m a little abhorred at the stance I used to have on issues, I can say with a sigh of relief now that I’ve been educated, that I’ve learned and grown and changed, and that’s great.

America, it’s never too late to change your mind and your heart. You’ve screwed up a lot of times in a lot of different ways, but that doesn’t mean you’re all bad. So learn something. Face your fears, fight your stereotypical viewpoints, and really see from an underrepresented place. You’ll never know how you really feel about an issue before it hits you in the face.

Not sure where to start? Reading is an excellent place to learn something new, find a new passion, or challenge a view you hold. Join me in a reading challenge this year and do yourself some good. 

Not sure where to start? Reading is an excellent place to learn something new, find a new passion, or challenge a view you hold. Join me in a reading challenge this year and do yourself some good. 

Sincerely,

A kid who used to be against gay marriage because that's all I was ever taught who is now a gay that can’t wait to get married.

P.S. Change is good. Change is really, really good. That’s exactly why we shouldn’t “make America great again.” First, it wasn’t great to begin with (i.e. slavery, racism, homophobia, sexism—to name a few). Second, change comes about from moving forward, not going backward. Anyways, that’s my rant. Get out and get educated. Change your mind about something. I dare you. Time to get #woke.

A quote:

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.
— Nelson Mandela