Guilty until proven innocent

Carly Besser Opinion Editor

Justin Bieber – that kid is the worst. He’s arguably the most loathed person in pop culture. Equipped with the belief that he is nothing but an overrated and untalented punk, I ironically decided to download his most recent album. I turned on my speakers, gave it a listen and I loved it.

After I realized that I developed an opinion about his album without even listening to it, I felt a little guilty. I had condemned his work to mediocrity before I gave it a chance, but I was pleasantly surprised in the end.

We have this overwhelming urge to develop our positions too early. Nationally televised trials are hindered because it’s almost impossible to find a jury that is genuinely neutral and disinterested and can give a fair verdict. We condemn people as guilty before they can prove their innocence.

Many of us will walk into our first day of class, see a guy covered in tattoos and piercings and wonder how he made it to college. Surprise – he opens his mouth and it turns out he is incredibly bright. Maybe, he’s the star pupil.

I’ll admit it: besides the Bieber album example, I’ve rejected people, things and ideas before even bothering to find out what’s beneath the surface. Now, I regret it every single day.

I first walked on Murray State’s campus thinking I would never associate with anyone in the Greek community. As a junior, I would say more than half of my friends are in a fraternity or a sorority, and I couldn’t have been more wrong.

It’s amazing what people can do when they are given the chance to prove themselves. I can honestly say that I wouldn’t be looked at twice if someone didn’t extend me the offer to sell myself.

In high school, I had a haircut that would make Oprah give me a free car out of pity and Dr. Phil institutionalize me. I wore clothes that begged for negative attention.

I sat with cheerleaders, drama club kids and just about every stereotype mentioned in Mean” Girls.” Why? Because people allowed me to prove myself as someone more than my appearance.

I ditched the dyed black mullet and the studded belts, but this chance is still given to me by people in places beyond highschool. I’m candid, sarcastic and opinionated to a fault, but people take the time to see what else I could bring to the table before they dismiss me as Sarah Silverman’s wannabe.

That’s why I’m writing this now. I was given the chance to be here, as a published columnist, despite some of my personality quirks that could have overshadowed any shred of talent I have.

Before you dismiss your random roommate for the most arbitrary reasons, get to know who that person is beyond the first impression. You may make a lifelong friend. If you don’t, that’s fine, too. You gave it a college effort, and that’s better than nothing.

As corny as it sounds, people have a story to tell – the way they look, what they listen to and why they dip their pizza in ranch dressing is only part of it.

In order to see the true potential in people, we have to get rid of this concept that everyone is guilty until proven innocent.


Column by Carly Besser, Opinion Editor