By Hania Raza
This lecture was very informative, and I learned a lot from listening to Leonard Pitts Jr. speak. The main topic of his lecture was America’s gravest crisis, the misinformation crisis, where knowable facts are denied. This crisis has existed for many decades, but the degree to which it is affecting our lives is much higher today. The misinformation crisis feeds other crises and makes them worse. If it is not solved, none of the other crises will be either because, when we cannot agree on facts, we cannot solve our problems with debate. Mr. Pitts mentioned four examples of this: COVID-19, racial reckoning, climate change and political polarization. All of these major crises have been made worse by ignorant people who preach to the ill informed. He also provided reasons for why this crisis has become so immense only now by explaining the “perfect storm,” which caused it. The “perfect storm” is made from distrust of authority, internet and social media, journalistic cowardice and miseducation of the American student. Towards the end of his lecture, Mr. Pitts talked about some of the possible solutions. For example, no one should use social media as a source for news, and everyone should make their assumptions fit the facts. This event reminded me of one of the senior speeches last year, where the topic of “The Double Standard of Mainstream Media” was discussed. I would recommend this lecture to anyone, as it is very relevant right now.
By Ani Eagan
Hi Mr. Pitts,
I am a white high school student at North Cross School and in our journalism class, our teacher shared your article, I enjoyed reading it a lot and thought it was interesting, so I figured I would send you an email giving my opinion.
I don’t really find learning about topics such as slavery to have “traumatized” me at all. I think it’s very important to learn about these things and learn about the mistakes that have been made in the past, as they are the grounds on which today’s mistakes are being made. While the things that happened are awful, kids learning about them is important, as they did in fact happen, and as a kid who learned about slavery and the discrimination on race in our history, it hasn’t “traumatized” me at all. It frustrates me when I hear adults say things like this, especially when they are white, because we are not the ones that this has had a large impact on, and simply being ignorant to it doesn’t make it go away.
As someone with some childhood trauma and issues with anxiety now, none of that came from things I learned in school, and simply leaving things that happened out of history when teaching it to children, isn’t teaching history right. I definitely think schools should be teaching about slavery, and of course, that it was wrong. It’s important for kids to hear about mistakes that were made and hear the full story.