New perspective

Intention behind The Falcon shifting from Opinions to Perspectives

Hailey Echan and Aubrey Rhoadarmer

Illustration by Gabrialla Cockerell

Okay, we know what you’re thinking. Changing the Opinions section to the Perspectives section seems redundant. We’re here to tell you, it’s not.

For starters: our vision for The Falcon this year. We are still pursuing honest reporting, transparency and accountability. However, we are also pursuing an all-inclusive format for stories.

The Falcon did an incredible job last year keeping everyone informed of what was going on on campus, but we failed to create a safe space for all students to be heard. We highlighted the voices of people who deserve to be heard, and we unintentionally silenced the voices of people who also deserve to be heard.

All year we have been imploring students to listen and attempt to understand various perspectives. This does not mean compromising personal values, but it does mean choosing to step out of our world long enough to see that not everyone is standing right where we are. All of our stories are an accumulation of our experiences, our environment and the people who surround us.

Are there policies and approaches that need to change? Absolutely. Yet, there will be no change if we continue to treat other perspectives as “others.” What makes humankind truly beautiful is 1) we were made in the image of God and 2) we all have a different perspective. No one is standing in the exact same position on the mountaintop. Even for those standing extremely close to each other, their point of view may be slightly shifted based on the position they are in and the journey that has led them to that point.

Once we can pause long enough to listen, that is where progress begins.

We want to make this shift because “opinions” now implies whatever is said is considered by the author to be fact. We run into issues with this when the readers disagree with the “facts” being presented. There is nothing wrong with disagreeing. In fact, sometimes, it can be healthy. However, when we begin to categorize opinions into right and wrong, we lose the beauty in expressing thoughts.

The dilemma that we are facing is: how do we encourage people to share their voice while also pausing to hear others’? How do we convince people to listen to understand rather than listening to respond?

Words matter. Hopefully shifting this vocabulary will be the first step in building a bridge via understanding, which is different than compromise, between various divided people on campus. Real change is rooted in understanding and grows through intentionality.

Opinions are currently viewed as defining factors to who a person is. While parts of this might be true, what someone believes about a specific topic does not define that person as a whole; there is so much more.

Unfortunately, American culture has done a stellar job at labeling people with their opinions, not their stories, and definitely not the fact that they are simply human. Human beings are complex creatures who are truly so much more than what they believe about the hottest topic of conversation at that moment.

People’s perspective implies that this is how they view things, this is their reality, this is what they see from their spot on the mountaintop. So while it may not be exactly what you see, it may even be a completely different view, their experience doesn’t discount yours, and your experience doesn’t discount theirs. If we can start to hear people’s opinions as their perspective, we can begin breaking down the walls that have been built throughout generations that cause us to forget that people have a story, they have experience, and that causes them to have a different point of view on things.

We want to leave you with a quote from James Waller, a Holocaust and Genocide Studies professor and author of “Becoming Evil”: “We are a blank slate, virtually free of content until written on by the hand of experience.”

Please reach out to our Falcon Navigator, Aubrey Rhoadarmer, via email if you want to share your perspective on any topic. Feel free to reach out to our Editor-in-Chief, Hailey Echan, if you have any questions, comments or concerns about The Falcon.