By Marty Finley

Ignorance. It’s a word we all know so well. It’s an action we experience on a daily basis. It’s a process we dip into ourselves on occasion.

The dictionary term for ignorance is a “lack of knowledge,” in a nutshell.

A lack of knowledge in itself is nothing to be ashamed of. We lack knowledge on lots of subjects and situations in life, and a college education will change none of that. I respect those who realize they are ignorant in a situation and seek learning, either through independent methods, or by seeking someone out and asking for help. There is no shame in looking to others for guidance.

Ignorance is something that is curable.

But I see more and more of an arrogance that has grafted itself to people’s personalities in relation to their ignorance similar to how the alien symbiote attached itself to Peter Parker in the Spiderman comics (and the lackluster new Spiderman film).

This arrogance can ooze through people on almost any topic: sports, politics, religion -you name it.

To present a recent case in point, I traveled back home three weeks ago to attend my aunt’s funeral. In the process, I conversed with a lot of family members I hadn’t seen in years. The process was uncomfortable, but the trip home took a swift downhill fall as I spoke to a distant family member of mine.

Dabbling in small talk, as people are known to do, she started talking to me about my major. When I told her I was majoring in journalism, she recoiled like a king cobra, with a mix of disillusionment and disgust fixed on her face. She then said she hoped I wasn’t one of those liberal journalists, since most journalists are liberal.

While this statement is ignorant in itself, it was the tone that revealed the arrogance. As a journalist, I know there is a healthy mix of varying opinions and views on politics within the profession. Two liberals would see things different on many topics as well.

However, the tone she used implied accusations that underscored her words. By referring to most journalists as liberals, she was putting them on par with loan sharks and used car salesmen – liars looking at all the angles in an attempt to screw you.

I took offense to that. I’m a moderate with distaste for politics on both sides of the aisle and no interest in labeling myself as “liberal” or “conservative.” Her lopsided view of the profession I have chosen and the life I lead left me with a bad taste in my mouth.

It’s a problem I see creeping up within our society more and more. Christians claiming to be persecuted even though they are persecuting others at the same time.

Our own president trying to bully and/or guilt Americans into believing his misguided, and ignorant, policies on the Middle East under the misleading veil of “patriotism.”

And the average Joe who judges someone by his or her profession, lifestyle or appearance without knowing the person is just as arrogant.

We claim to be the greatest country in the world, but as long as we continue to dabble in arrogance and take pride in our shortcomings we have much to learn. Calling it a lack of knowledge couldn’t be more accurate.