This post is written for Five Minute Friday. The word today is “Challenge.”
My friend grabbed my arm and pleaded, “Don’t do it! It’s not worth it.” I was angry. This was not okay! Every student in my college history class had received an F on the test. The professor left the room and asked the assistant to hand out the grades. The moans of the students came in unison so we decided to compare notes. We all agreed it was wrong for the professor to ask us questions he specifically said would not be on the test. How could he do that? Some students tore up their test and left the room. It just wasn’t okay. I decided to challenge him.
My friend and several other students warned me not to. I didn’t back down. “How much worse can it get? There is nothing lower than a Fail on a test.” I marched across the campus to the professor’s office and knocked on the door. He invited me in and I immediately told him how wrong it was to tell us one thing and then do another. I told him it was not fair that the questions he asked were those he said would not be on the test. I ended my five minutes of bravado by telling him he should have stayed in the classroom to face the angry students.
The professor listened quietly the whole time. Then he said, “Hand me your paper.” He crossed out the F and gave me a B. “You have spoken up about injustice and have taken a stand. If we don’t learn history, we are doomed to repeat it.” (He borrowed that phrase). He later told me I was the only one in the class who challenged him and he reminded me, “If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.” (Yes, he borrowed that phrase too.)
Some people may have thought I was not being nice and should have kept my mouth shut. History and my professor taught me that “being nice” is what allowed the Nazi party to grow. I care passionately about injustice and I speak up when I need to. Five Minutes are up.
I still challenge injustice. Maybe if we all do, history will not repeat itself.