Why I hate the word "opinion"

  1. As a writing, literature, history, and civics teacher to adolescents, I really hate the word "opinion"
  2. Kids learn it at an early age
    And once they find out there's a word for a thing you can say and no one can tell you otherwise, things get out of hand quickly
  3. By the time I'm trying to teach them how to compose a careful, effective written argument, the damage has been done
    It is SO HARD to try to tell them: YES, you can feel a certain way about something, but that doesn't mean you have the ability, let alone the right, to express it to someone else and expect them to be moved by your "opinion" alone
  4. I'm also a big believer in the idea that the words we choose to use, however many synonyms we might've chosen instead, have huge power
  5. And because I've almost never heard someone use the word "opinion," then say something truly revelatory and significant, I try not to use it at all
    I use "argument" instead, which is also a loaded word, but which to me at least implies some level of craft, context, strategy, and knowledge
  6. Of course I know the line between opinion and argument can be so expertly, even beautifully blurred
    And I fully believe in that kind of discourse
  7. But I think our culture has created a monster in this word, one that fuels far too much division, misunderstanding, and eventually, hatred
  8. I thought of all this, for instance, after reading a list by @gd3 which I thought was brilliant
    But because it dared to use the word "opinion," and question whether a person ought to freely have one, it seemed to take a lot of heat
  9. Can we think of a different word, please?
    One that means: "this is what I believe but let's be honest really something I FEEL due to years and years of personal experiences and biases and knowledge and unique intelligence and it doesn't mean I don't want to hear yours it just means I'm pretty stuck on mine and I probably won't change"?
  10. I just think that would help things
  11. And until that word comes along, I'm just keeping mine to myself