I was at a leadership camp last winter break, and we were talking about cheating. More specifically, we were talking about what caused cheating.

The talker, Civil Air Patrol’s Major Dana Moss, brought up three things that could be responsible: the cheater, the school in which they cheated, and society in general.

When he was talking about society and the many ways in which it could influence us, he brought up an interesting point “In all my years I’ve never seen someone with the name tag ‘society’.”

Who is society? Us. We are all a part of society. We love to act like society is this blob that lords over us all, and then throw the blame at it. But every time we blame society, we partly blame ourselves.

But you’re just a small speck in the big thing called society, right? So you have no impact on it at all, right? You are not to blame for anything, really, because you’re just one person.


After all, it’s not like you have thousands of platforms to have your voice heard. It’s not like movie companies are reliant on people like you buying their products to stay in business. It’s not like you can stand up and say (or tweet) “This isn’t right, and unless you fix it I’m not going to buy your product/vote for you/watch your movie/read your book”. It’s not like politicians are voted in or anything, or responsible to the people who voted for them. 

It’s not like movies are displaying characters that they think will sell – no, they just like sending out the same stereotypes. I mean, it’s not like movies are going to change or anything if the director realizes that more representation means more money?

It’s not like you can’t stress to whoever looks up to you (and someone probably does) that integrity is more important than test scores. That failure isn’t worse than lying. And it’s not like that person is going to turn around and stress it to the next person, and that next person isn’t going to stress it to the next person, and that eventually the message would have spread. There’s no way one teacher can tell a room full of students that failure is okay as long as they know how to recover from it.

What is one person in the long run, if that person can only touch another, who can touch another, who can touch three people, all of who can touch at least one other person?

So who are you to blame anyways?