‘Off the curriculum’: Week 3, M1 – Amelia Potter

Pablo means no harm,

He laughs along with his friends

He thinks they’re funny.

He supports them. 

Don’t be like Pablo. 

He laughs along with his friends at racist jokes. 

He thinks his friends are funny, but he doesn’t really know why. 

He supports them so they acknowledge him. 

“Don’t be a Pablo” was a statement made to a year 13 English lit class this week. It was a break from the intellectual thought and a presentation of advice. I wanted to talk about it because in school, there is a lot of potential to comply, like Pablo, and people do. Pablo laughs along with his friends, (Stanley and Steve) despite their unkind remarks. To Pablo, it doesn’t matter what they say. But today, it should matter. 

It is very easy to become convinced about and comfortable with the norm, or what appears to be the norm. For example, you see a group laughing at a picture of a person on Instagram, you look at it, and because maybe you want to seem conventional, or you don’t want to conflict their opinions, you laugh. You may not find it at all funny, you may even think the group were rude to laugh, but you did it anyway. This is what Pablo would do.

This process of compliance is dangerous. Because one can become brainwashed to ideals they previously disagreed with. To have your own opinions, to feel no fear of possible judgment towards them, is a gift.

I, like Pablo, would’ve laughed at something that wasn’t funny, I might’ve complied to ideals that I didn’t really value. But I can learn from this and decide that I’m not going to constantly be what I feel obliged to be. Normal is different to everybody, and if you spend your life adjusting and re-calibrating yourself to fit in with who you happen to be around, you may forget what it is to be yourself.  This is not to encourage you to stay quiet, but instead, to encourage you to say something when you talk. To not be the words from someone else’s mouth. 

It is a gift to be secure enough to know who you are and who you are not. We all may come to this realisation at different times however, but by remaining compliant, you might only prolong your self-discovery. 

Be You, Pablo’s already taken.  

If you are interested in Pablo and his friends, read ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’.

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