Enough with the shallow conversations

Alex Urbina Favela/Contributing Writer

FIU wants to be open-minded, but it’s not.

Very few of our Golden Panthers are willing to discuss opinions and viewpoints that might directly contradict their own or incite unpleasantries.

On many occasions has it been the case that one of these topics will flutter across my mind, demand my curiosity, and casually make its way into conversation in the form of harmless inquiry.

Out of a pure desire to learn, I will ask a friend to share his or her insight on the topic. Yet this friend will usually respond with a shrug and a face that resembles an infant’s when given bitter medicine. Afraid to get into “touchy” subjects, my friend dismisses my question.

And if it is not the person with the infantile frown, I will usually encounter the self-righteous bigot whose close-minded assumptions prevent further discussion.


I understand that these affairs are controversial , but must we be so close-minded? We avoid these topics the way we avoid that one awkward dude from Chem. lab two semesters ago.

Yet it is the implications of understanding controversial subject matter and forming intelligent thought that shapes many of our actions, ideals, and passions.

And speaking of thought, is that not what this whole university thing is all about? Is a university not a place where ideas can be shared in a mature and peaceful manner?

I might be beating a dead horse here, but, as students, we should be having more than just meaningless, shallow conversations with our peers. I would hate to think that when our Panthers are confronted by hot-button topics, they become scared cubs.

Paul Massingill, Executive Director of the FIU-MDC Wesley Community Group, is endeavoring to create an opportunity for open forum discussion here at MMC.  After pairing up with students from a variety of different ideological backgrounds, mainly scientists, agnostics, atheists, Muslims, and Christians, Massingill is ready to dive into difficult subjects in a profound way.

Massingill will be organizing a series of discussion groups that will encourage students to discuss otherwise controversial topics in a relaxed, open-minded and unprejudiced context.

“My hope is that students would be challenged to think about their own world view. Whether or not their world view changes is not up to me, but my hope is that students would be open to people of other perspectives and opinions.”

His group will focus on discussing scientific and religious concepts and how they might be reconciled. Participants will be encouraged to submit to the group things that they would like to watch, read, or discuss; these could be articles, YouTube lectures, ideas, and so on.

I cannot help but applaud Massingill for upholding scholarly conversation. Surely the University can benefit from the free exchange of ideas. Although Massingill’s group will primarily focus on scientific and religious material, it is certainly a grand leap in the right direction.

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