Every child has used the excuse “it wasn’t me”. Whether they stole a snack, drew on the walls, or started a fight with their siblings, “it wasn’t me” is the most common defense mechanism. Since we were infants, society has taught us to place the blame on others and rarely own up to our own mistakes. We fight tooth and nail to ensure that our reputations remain in tact and refuse to believe that we are anything less than perfect. So when it comes to violence in the food system, who’s to blame? For the consumers, that’s an easy question. The employees are at fault. Because the consumers are not the ones directly abusing the animals, they must be in the clear. How could it possibly be fair to blame all the wrongdoings of a slaughterhouse on an innocent grocery store customer? Many use this excuse to feel guilt free as they indulge themselves with a juicy burger or when they attend the next family barbeque.
But what meat eaters fail to notice is by simply purchasing meat supports factory farming. If Americans stopped craving chicken wings at the next super-bowl game, maybe 2.2 million chickens would not have to die each year (Foer, 68). Denial has embedded itself in the core of our society but still remains unnoticed. Consumers refuse to believe that they are contributing to violence in the food system, others ignore the possibility that the latest diet is a scam, and the community of Columbine denies the possibility that they may have contributed to the escalation of the school shooting. For most, it is easier to place the blame on others than to reflect on the role they are playing in the situation.
In the Columbine school shooting, Dylan and Eric’s parents were used as a scapegoat for the situation. Because they raised the boys and were the closest to them, they were automatically deemed at fault. Parents blamed them for the deaths and injuries their children sustained and sued the families wit hopes that they would pay the medical bills. The community was so consumed with the idea that the parents were at fault; they failed to recognize other factors. It was never mentioned that the community fostered a hostile environment by having so many weapons readily available to the public. It was never mentioned that the police could have saved students lives by entering the school sooner. It was never mentioned that the media’s misinformation made the situation more difficult. Instead of recognizing all of the elements that led to the escalation of the school shooting, it was easier for the community to disassociate themselves from Eric and Dylan and wipe their hands clean of any involvement.
Not only do communities deny their involvement in violence, but parents do as well. Getting your child the perfect present for Christmas seems like a harmless act, but that depends on what lies underneath the perfectly wrapped gift paper. Parents ignore the issue that the toys, such as video games and Nerf Guns, promote violent behaviors. They are more concerned with keeping their children happy and giving them what they want than the message their gift may send. A phenomenon known such as the “weapon effect” proves that simply showing someone a picture of a gun releases an endorphins in his or her brain that leads to a higher level of aggressing (McGloin) But parents still continue to purchase toy guns for their children. In the past year alone, so many Nerf guns have been sold that the darts could circle the world four times (McCarthy).
Parents do not want to believe that the toys they give their children may cause them to be violent in the future. But the denial does not end with toys; it extends to how parents view their children. A recent study from the Anti-bullying Alliance showed that 44% of parents suspect that their child is bullying others online, but 54% of parents still allow their Internet use to remain unmonitored and unrestricted. (nobullying.com) Even though almost half of the parents surveyed suspected that their child was bullying others, they still chose to avoid the issue. It is easier to remain in the dark about your children’s activities than accepting the hard truth.
Aside from violence, consumers deny the consequences of their diets. Five Hour Energy is a common supplement seen around college campuses. It really comes in handy for those late night study sessions. So instead of getting enough sleep or finding natural motivation to do work, college students resort to the Five hour energy. But instead of increasing their alertness or capability of, it is known to give sever migraines and heart pains thirty minutes after it is ingested (Malinauskas). If this drink has so many adverse affects, then why is it so popular? The answer is simple, consumers are in denial. They rather maintain the false assumption that this shot of energy is their solution.
Throughout the Critical thinking and Writing course sequence, denial has been prevalent throughout ever subject, essay, and class discussion. Denial fuels our society and allows us to maintain a positive self-image of ourselves. Americans prefer to avoid a situation rather than facing it head on. For some, the realization that they are contributing something as corrupt as factory farms is to much to handle. The power to overcome denial will allow you to see situations in their true form and make a change. So be the one to make that change, don’t let denial blind you.
“You will find peace not by trying to escape your problems, but by confronting them courageously. You will find peace not in denial, but in victory.”
– J. Donald Walters
Foer, Jonathan Safran. Eating Animals. New York: Little, Brown, 2009. Print.
McGloin, Rory1, Kirstie M.1 Farrar, and Joshua1 Fishlock. “Triple Whammy! Violent Games And Violent Controllers: Investigating The Use Of Realistic Gun Controllers On Perceptions Of Realism, Immersion, And Outcome Aggression.” Journal Of Communication 65.2 (2015): 280-299. Education Full Text (H.W. Wilson). Web. 26 Apr. 2015.
Malinauskas, Brenda M., Victor G. Aeby, Reginald F. Overton, Tracy Carpenter-Aeby, and Kimberly Barber-Heidal. “A Survey of Energy Drink Consumption Patterns among College Students.” Nutrition Journal 6.1 (2007): 35. Web.
Cullen, David. Columbine. New York: Twelve, 2009. Print.