[Opinion] Free speech: An argument for decency

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The dictionary definition of free speech is “the right of people to express their opinions publicly without governmental interference.” This means that each American citizen has the right to express their opinions in public. However, in the developing age of microaggressions, free speech is under attack. 

A microaggression is defined as “a subtle but offensive comment or action directed at a minority or other nondominant group that is often unintentional or unconsciously reinforces a stereotype.” Personally, I prefer the definition from Urban Dictionary, which is, “In practice, it’s what happens whenever a white/straight/male does anything, ever. So basically, it’s an excuse for liberals to be angry for no reason.” For the majority of Americans, this is their personal definition of the word, too. As a person in several minority groups, I reject microaggressions completely. The defiance of them is extremely important. The idea that someone is “triggered” by another accidentally reinforcing a stereotype is absurd. The world is about growing thick skin. However, I think the protest of these aggressions has gone too far.

The idea of being a provocateur just for the sake of notoriety is flawed. Everyone deserves to speak their mind, and I support that. Some things, though, should not be said. For example, calling someone the “n-word” just for the sake of free speech is inappropriate. There is a difference between speaking your mind and being rude. While you have the right to use your words, I have the right to disagree with them.

Conversely, the idea that someone can be so emotionally immature that they can’t handle being offended is sad. I believe in a responsibility to tell people like it is. The idea that any statement you disagree with is a microaggression is very close-minded. Since tolerance is so important to the left, they should teach tolerance of opinion, too. Everyone is entitled to the rights provided to them in the law. To argue against that is to be an adversary of what our country stands for.

Free speech is important. But free speech without a reason is unnecessary. Learning to use words wisely is crucial, and not just for the left.

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