Mask Mandates Are Not an Infringement on Your Liberties

February 17, 2022

As someone who is half white and half Asian, I see and experience the characteristics of both privilege and oppression. I do not face the firsthand discrimination that many Asians receive – nor am I entitled to the natural advantages of a white person – I am in the middle, capable of seeing without innate bias to either side.

In the current climate of things on campus, I recognize how a specific group of people are trying to claim they’re oppressed. One of the typical arguments of the protests is that being required to wear a mask is unconstitutional, a claim that is outright fallacious. Mask mandates are put in place by the state with rational and effective purpose: to not infringe upon any constitutional rights.

Mask mandates do not infringe upon the liberties guaranteed by the First Amendment. They are meant to regulate potential cases as a safety precaution within a pandemic, not to suppress free speech. 

If you believe a piece of cloth infringes upon your rights endowed by the Constitution, consider looking into groups of people who have actually been historically oppressed and deprived of their rights. People belonging to the LGBTQ+ community continue to battle for their civil rights in Congress. Black people still face prominent discrimination and endure systemic oppression. If you believe in standing up for your liberties, why not put effort elsewhere – into achieving equality for everyone?

The actions conducted by these people demonstrate self-victimizing behavior. These people, the majority of whom are white, are trying to be oppressed when they are not. This is the upper hand of white privilege.  ”

Masks do not restrict you from breathing nor do they disable you. The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 guarantees equal protection and opportunities for individuals with disabilities; evidently, mask mandates do not violate this law because wearing a mask does not cause severe medical complications, and individuals with disabilities are able to wear them.

If you believe a mask is disabling you, it’s time to remind yourself of what a disability really is. As defined by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, disabilities are “long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder [a person’s] full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.”

White privilege is the innate advantage a white person holds in a system of racial injustice due to their race. This concept pervades our nation and its systems and is undeniably a factor in the controversy taking place. White privilege unequally gives white people unspoken yet prominent respect in societies of varying groups of people. People whom are white are indirectly shielded from racial discrimination and the disadvantages of being an inferior group.   

Clearly, the attempted demonstrations are an example of using white privilege. The problem with this is that, while being a “superior” and dominant race, they are acting as if they are being discriminated against. If mask mandates were truly an infringement on our rights and were proven to be more harmful than helpful, I’m sure more of us – not just a group led by a dramatically predominant white makeup – would have an issue with it.

On campus you will learn about the experiences of truly oppressed people, that civil disobedience comes with a cost, and that liberties are not absolute.

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