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Left vs. Right: Free Speech (A Left Opinion)

Kate Meyers, Girls' Sports Editor

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Freedom of speech, while it sounds like a positive and productive concept, is constantly used as an excuse for speaking and acting hatefully.

A perfect example of a problem that freedom of speech can bring the damage Donald Trump causes by speaking without thinking.

He was publicly asked “when will the U.S. stop sending money to our enemies, i.e. Mexico and others?” and his response was,

“The Mexican legal system is corrupt, as is most of Mexico. Pay me the money that is owed me now, and stop sending criminals over our border,”

— Donald Trump

 while also accusing Mexicans of being rapists, and bringing drugs or crime in to the U.S.

Mexicans make up 17% of the U.S. population; therefore, Trump is saying that 17% of people who are living in the United States are criminals and rapists. He’s alienating people, and it’s not okay.

Those who are complaining about the Black Lives Matter protests, a group which stands for peace and equal rights, are justifying their white supremacist ideology by saying they’re just exercising their freedom of speech. It cannot stand.

White supremacism is far beyond freedom of speech; it creates an unsafe atmosphere for Jews, people of color, LGBTQ+ people, and multiculturalism. To justify the decisions of a group that are aiming to harm and degrade oppressed groups is absolutely inexcusable.

Also if people can abuse their freedom of speech, they should also be able to handle others exercising their rights. If they have the freedom to say racist, misogynist, or homophobic slurs, they should be fully prepared and open to hearing people from the other side telling them that they’re racist, or a sexist, or a homophobe.

The fact of the matter is, while people are not about to be stopped from saying certain things, that does not mean they should be said.

In today’s society it has become common to hear racial and homophobic slurs like the n-word and f****t on a daily basis. People say these things without even thinking of the way they could make each other feel with these seemingly small and harmless “jokes”.

Is it fair to people of color and the LGBTQ+ community to have to hear someone casually using the n-word as if it’s not a big deal, or saying “that’s so gay” as some type of insult? Not even a little. Freedom of speech has become just another reason for people to disrespect each other without anyone being able to stop them, no matter how harmful they’re being.

Take Milo Yiannopoulos for example. He goes around to colleges and blatantly insults feminism, Black Lives Matter, and progressive social justice, going as far as to say that “it’s cancerous and toxic to free expression”. He also had the audacity to contend that rape culture does not exist on campuses.

There are Berkeley students such as Kathryn Taylor Swain and Claire Danna, who have spoken out in interviews about their fears on campus because of the people using hate speech during “Free Speech Week”. Swain says “I am thoroughly petrified and fearful for my safety on this campus during Free Speech Week as a black woman”, and she “has chosen not to attend [her] lectures in efforts to keeping [herself] safe”. Danna “worries about the safety of queer and trans people like [herself]”, and considering “stepping back into the closet [that] week”.

Berkeley did not make a mistake cancelling “Free Speech Week”, it was with good reason. When there are students of color fearing for their safety to the point of skipping classes and LGBTQ+ students considering closeting themselves all over again because of hate speeches during that week, it’s too far. Cancelling the event for the sake of the people was a smart choice by Berkeley.

When U.C. Berkeley made the decision not to allow Yiannopoulos to speak publicly, Trump tweeted angrily about how “they did not allow free speech”. Apparently, according to our president, it’s okay for someone to publicly humiliate and shame groups of people just because they have the legal right to.

Society has gone too far when we’re more focused on what rights we have legally than we are on respecting and caring for one another.

 

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17 Comments

17 Responses to “Left vs. Right: Free Speech (A Left Opinion)”

  1. lizzie woods on October 4th, 2017 1:03 PM

    This is a really well written article, and the author does a great job following the topic at hand.

    [Reply]

  2. izzy mckay on October 4th, 2017 4:12 PM

    I thought this was an amazing article and the way you put all of this into words was simply amazing because i just can never seem to be able to.

    [Reply]

  3. tia nguyen on October 4th, 2017 9:45 PM

    I love the way this was written! There were definite great points made.

    [Reply]

  4. austin zielenbach on October 5th, 2017 8:15 PM

    This article was so well written!! You took so many ideas and mixed them together so beautifully!!

    [Reply]

  5. maycie thaut on October 5th, 2017 8:19 PM

    I agree 100% with this article! It has so many great points and facts that are hard to ignore about the world today!

    [Reply]

  6. andrea martinez on October 5th, 2017 8:27 PM

    I absolutely love the way this was written. I completely agree with you. Thank you for speaking out for those who can’t. Great Job!

    [Reply]

  7. zoe hotmer on October 5th, 2017 8:29 PM

    I absolutely love the way this piece is written. There were great points made and the author did an excellent job in conveying them. This whole article enthralled me and I couldn’t stop reading it.

    [Reply]

  8. zoie bonnette on October 5th, 2017 8:45 PM

    This article really spoke to me and the points made were very insightful. This article was so well written and spoke for other people who can’t.

    [Reply]

  9. Srijita Ghosh on October 5th, 2017 9:18 PM

    I love the way this article was written !

    [Reply]

  10. Jack Thompson on October 5th, 2017 9:53 PM

    I thought that many of the points made in this article were brilliantly worded. Just because we have the right to something does not mean it should be abused and used hatefully. The ending sentence brought the gravity of the article home and I think it was very well written overall.

    [Reply]

  11. Isabelle on October 7th, 2017 4:14 PM

    The article was really well written and you made so many great points! Your ending was amazing and everything throughout fit perfectly. Great job

    [Reply]

  12. Jonah Umans on October 9th, 2017 6:51 PM

    I completely agree with everything you said in this article and how you tied everything together it felt like I was reading something written by a professional writer. Well done.

    [Reply]

  13. sammi haas on October 9th, 2017 7:29 PM

    This is so well written! Great job!

    [Reply]

  14. Lauren Yusay on October 10th, 2017 5:57 AM

    This article is absolutely pure. I truly appreciate your take and where you stand with this. This piece definitely goes above and beyond, with everything you pointed out. Very nice work!

    [Reply]

  15. Alyssa Mitchell on October 10th, 2017 6:18 PM

    What a shame it is that the liberal left will say things like freedom of speech “constantly used as an excuse for speaking and acting hatefully” when liberals will frequently say some of the most atrocious things to conservatives. I think that next time you want to write an article about freedom of speech you should focus on some of the trash the comes out of liberals mouths. Enough of this “Trump is saying that 17% of people who are living in the United States are criminals and rapists” rhetoric and take the time to really figure out what Trump is saying. He is noting that illegal aliens who are rapist and criminals NEED to be deported, not that 17% of the population are criminals. Learn the facts before you spew misleading facts and statistics like this.

    [Reply]

    Claire Cone Reply:

    I think that this article was focused more on the fact that some people of different races or sexuality aren’t being accepted in society and it is due to the freedom of being able to publicly discriminate towards people you dislike, however you choose to. Never once did she mention that conservatives are at fault for the freedom of speech problem, so don’t address points that don’t even refer to anything being said in the article.

    [Reply]

  16. Alex S. on October 13th, 2017 3:29 PM

    This article paints liberalism to be this accepting tolerant ideology. Really liberals are actually extremely intolerant, they use the excuses shared in this article to gain a moral high ground that they’re defending justice for society when in reality they’re attacking their political opposition on the right. It’s manipulative and suppressive and doesn’t belong in this great country we live in where people have fought and died for the right of everyone to express their beliefs freely. Liberalism is a direct opponent to free speech and these kinds of beliefs prove troubling to how this generation will lead this country.

    [Reply]

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