White Lie

Have you ever lied about getting someone’s message? Have you lied about having your cellphone on silent? Have you ever fibbed about losing your phone?

Have you ever lied about lying?

Many people, like the half of the 1000 participants of an Associated Press-Ipsos poll in mid-October, say that lying is never justified.

Yet up to two-thirds compromised that lying was okay in certain situations. “If telling the truth would hurt somebody … and lying would protect them, then lying is okay,” says De Anza student and La Voz freelance writer Jay Serrano.

Of those who took the poll, four on 10 people claim they’ve never had to lie or cheat. But one in 10 of those four said that yes, they might have told a lie in the past week.

Colleague and staff writer LiWei Shih is among them. “Lying is not good, because you lose people’s trust,” Shih explained. “When you meet (someone), they give you a basic trust. When you lie, you lose it.”

Shih laughed as she later admitted that she often lied to her mother “after midterms (exams) or finals.”

Kirsten Barta does more “in terms of coming up with creative excuses or embellishing the truth” rather than “outright lying.” Barta, a Journalism student at De Anza, is among the four in 10 respondents who said it was okay to exaggerate a story to make it more interesting.

“When someone asks me something really personal … I might make up something to tell them that protects my privacy.”

“I’m not gonna say lying is never good,” Angel Roque, a part-time Anthropology instructor, said. Roque, 39, is no stranger to lying. He said his students lie in class all the time, such as when they forget to study at home. “When it comes from students it bothers me, but I’ve developed a thick skin.”

Kirsten Barta recounts a traffic accident. “I was at fault,” she admitted, as she did to the police officer who observed the incident. Barta said the person she hit claimed he had hit his head.

The officer caught him in a lie, Barta said. “The cop basically said either he wasn’t wearing his seatbelt and hit his head, or he was wearing his seatbelt and he’s fine.

“I thought it was kinda funny … but later when my insurance rate doubled I was really pissed off.”

While there’s a general consensus that lying is wrong, perhaps only 18th century German philosopher Immanuel Kant would believe that all lying, even one that could save life, is bad.

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