As I read My Year of Meats by Ruth L. Ozeki, it became apparent to me just how ignorant our country can be about the health problems with consuming certain types of meat. Ignorant may not even be the correct word choice. Some might even be ignoring the problem. Due to the indecisive word choice, I decided to refer to our dear friend, the Oxford English Dictionary for help.
For the word “ignorant”, the dictionary gave the definition: “Destitute of knowledge, either in general or with respect to a particular fact or subject; unknowing, uninformed, unlearned.” For the word “ignore”, the dictionary gave this slightly different definition: “1. Not to know, to be ignorant of or 2. To refuse to take notice of; not to recognize; to disregard intentionally, leave out of account or consideration, shut ‘one's eyes to’.” What is interesting and stands out from these definitions is that to define the word “ignore” the dictionary uses the word “ignorant”. I completely disagree with the first definition of “ignore” when it says it’s “not to know, to be ignorant of” because to ignore and to be ignorant of are two very different things.
Now, a distinction can be determined between the two similar yet very different words. The words “ignorant” and “ignore” are similar because they often get confused with one another and therefore misused often. From the definitions, to be ignorant is to be without knowledge, while to ignore is to know the problem exists and yet choose to not take notice of it. To ignore implies a sense of knowing followed by a choice to simply overlook or disregard the information, whereas to be ignorant implies one being unaware or uninformed of the information and therefore can’t be held responsible.
The distinction between the words “ignore” and “ignorant” is important when reading My Year of Meats. Due to the graphic and significant nature of the topic uncovered through the book, the reader is forced to take a stand and discover whether he/she has been ignoring or ignorant of the problem. The problem is that of the meat industry and its use of hormones. For so long, the country could have been easily labeled “ignorant” of such problems with our meat, but now no one can feign ignorance. Information is everywhere. We live in a world full of fast-paced communication and the internet where information is plenty. Due to the wide range of available information, most of the country is now actively ignoring this issue. Sadly, it is an issue that should not be ignored. With the increase of hormones in our meat, especially that in beef, there has been an increase in premature onset of puberty which can lead to breast cancer (1). For this reason alone, citizens of the United States should stop ignoring this issue that has already affect us and will continue to affect the younger generations until a ban on hormones is established. The European Union has already restricted the use of hormones in beef and has stopped importing beef from the