Other essays on this theme

Essay: "Courage"

by Richard Nieto
"Courage" can mean different things to different people. Some people (especially in prison) think of courage a being willing to fight and "stay down for yours." I'm not denying that there is courage involved in those cases, but courage is so much more than a show of fierceness. A lot of inmates fight more out of fear from what will happen to them if they don't. The consequences of showing hesitation and weakness can be dire, we all know that. A lot of times though it takes a stronger form of courage to stand up for what you believe to be right even if you are in the minority or standing alone. A lot of people conform with the majority in order to be agreeable and not appear "freakish." I don't speak solely about prison environments, the same applies to society in general. It starts at a young age when we're in school and a certain style of clothes, shoes, hair styles is the norm. It doesn't stop after high school as we've come to realize. We see this lack of courage in bandwagon voters in political stances, religious institutions, organizational structures, etc, etc. Society in general will label you a freak or outcast if you go against the grain. This is basic sociology and its not new to our generation this is something as old as man (human kind) itself. I won't attempt to argue whether it's human nature or a learned behavior but real courage is required to stand alone and be an island in a sea of opposition for something you know or believe to be right. Whether one is actually right or wrong is another issue but I believe that society as a whole would be so much different (not necessarily better) if people had the courage to stand their ground instead of going with the flow out of fear of being looked at as weird or labeled.

I don't know if I write this for the reader or more for myself, because I'm certainly as guilty as the next man and maybe it's because of this lack of courage to stand for what I believe to be right that I find myself in the position I'm in now? It seems likely. How many of you are too?...