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It's Okay for People to Question Unpopular Things, and Our Society Needs to Learn That to Advance

(Photo by Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP)

Letitia Wright is an actress popularly known for playing the role of Shuri in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, specifically the Black Panther movie. One day, Wright ran afoul of the Twitter mob and she was hounded off of Twitter.

Why?

According to The Hollywood Reporter, it’s because she simply questioned popular opinion about the COVID-19 vaccine. That’s all it took:

The Black Panther star tweeted a video from On the Table, a YouTube discussion channel, where the presenter opined at length about the efficacy of vaccines, the dangers of taking them and the supposed origins of the ingredients of a COVID-19 vaccine. “I don’t understand vaccines medically, but I’ve always been a little bit of a skeptic of them,” the presenter Tomi Arayomi says toward the beginning of his monologue, which was full of unsubstantiated claims, amid personal anecdotes and his own feelings on vaccines generally.

After Wright posted the video to Twitter with the prayer hands emoji, she quickly became embroiled in arguments with users taking her to task for using her platform to spread misinformation on vaccines. The British actress, who is currently starring in Steve McQueen’s acclaimed Small Axe anthology series, countered that she wasn’t against vaccines but thought it was important to “ask questions.”

“I think it’s valid and fair to simply ask what’s in it,” she replied to one user.

The mob quickly arose to tear Wright down.

“If you don’t conform to popular opinions. but ask questions and think for yourself…you get canceled,” the star tweeted.

The following Friday, Wright wrote another message.

“My intention was not to hurt anyone,” she wrote. “My ONLY intention of posting the video was it raised my concerns with what the vaccine contains and what we are putting in our bodies. Nothing else.”

Wright is correct on all counts. Vaccines aren’t flawless cures like many people seem to believe. They’re a chemical cocktail that, despite what popular opinion says, can cause some serious side effects. If you’re injecting something into your body that could alter or affect it greatly, having questions about it isn’t just normal, it’s wise.

The internet has made mainstream culture stupid. If a popular opinion catches on, it’s become too easy to find people who think as you do, ideological bubbles form, and zealous behavior arises as a result. Questioning what everybody “knows” to be true because most others believe in it has turned more people into lemmings that would walk off a cliff if everyone else was so confident in their ignorance that falling to one’s death is the smart thing to do.

The truth, no matter your position on anything, questioning everything is something you should do. I’m increasingly learning that you should definitely question it if it’s popular. Something that is so great that everyone has to force you to adopt it automatically should send up red flags for any thinking person. We’re individuals, not cows. We might be pack animals but we’re not herd animals.

Someone can be pro-vaccine but be willing to hear why they shouldn’t be. Someone can believe in climate change but wish to hear out the nuances and particulars of why the climate is changing. Someone can say be for decriminalizing drugs but be willing to hear out arguments about health risks and connections to criminal behavior.

Collecting information on something should not be a social crime but it appears that the distribution of contrary information hasn’t only been labeled as dumb but dangerous. THAT in itself IS dangerous. Callin information that runs contrary to the mainstream culture as potentially damaging to people is the height of hubris.

We do not know everything. Even scientists can’t agree on many things mainstream culture says they do, and the world is far more complex and nuanced than many of us understand. Asking questions is the way to a better future and better decisions. Do not deem to make decisions for others because you and a bunch of randos online agree on something.