Speak Freely, At Your Own Risk

This week we called out a few of our friends for their Facebook status’. There seems to be some confusion as to what we mean when we call someone out for behavior like this. Our intention is not to say that the person is wrong for what they post, but that WE don’t like it and there is a very huge difference. There are things people post that can just be wrong and need to be stopped, but there are other things that are completely fine, we’ll just mock you for it. As part of a society it is our collective duty to monitor what people put out in the common area and judge it. People take offense to that judgement, but it’s completely necessary. We collectively create the society we want. We need to monitor it and take note of criticism.

It’s one thing to post something offensive as click bait, it’s another to post something annoying to show you’re #Blessed. The difference is that when you’re putting down an entire people (race, gender, nation etc) you have to be able to take those people pushing back at you. Too many people cower immediately behind, “Freedom of speech” and “I’m just saying” sometimes sprinkled in with “That’s just my opinion”. We’ve heard you’re opinion, now you will hear the voice of the people in that group.

The only thing you should hear from that group is their opinion, as long as things don’t go to extremes. If you’re just staying something that doesn’t threaten anyone, your opinion can just be noted and shot down. The largest problem people face when trying to express an opinion is that they are afraid of what the opposition will do. There are too many calls to arms over comments that can just be regarded as dumb. Too many things labeled as “hate speech”. Don’t get me wrong, hate speech does exist, but you can’t call for someone’s arrest or for a group to harass someone’s social media because they didn’t like a kissing scene on a show or they thought a comic book character needs to be portrayed by a certain race. These are just ignorant comments that need to be addressed, but not fought to the bloody death.

I think the rise of the new type of “social media that’s not for EVERYONE” like Snapchat is that people will feel less judged. Honestly, if you were a 14 year old teenage boy, would you really want your comments to be judged by a 3rd year college student majoring in women’s studies? Would you even want your comments judged by a senior at your high school? You’d rather just spout off your opinions to your friends. You’d probably already feel a bit of judgement from them and curb your language a certain way. The problem with this is, if we make people feel too scared to voice their thoughts and opinions, we will lose two very important things 1. We will lose our collective voice. What will be recorded in searchable history will not be the philosophies on life and a record of how we grew as a people. 2. The individual will not be corrected and their ignorant, sometimes hateful, words, thoughts and actions will go by unchecked.

We need judgement. We need to be able to voice our opinions. We do not need to be on one side or the other on this. We just need to realize the potential consequences of voicing that opinion and the judgement of others’ opinions. The respect you give someone in front of you did not translate to any digital medium. There are too many threats and jabs thrown online. Yes, we have freedom of speech, but always remember: so do they.