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What Should Freedom of Speech Be?

no picture High School Student
Yasmin Zadunaisky
Member since November 13, 2017
  • 2 Posts
  • Age 15

You see it everywhere. At schools, in public, at home with your siblings. Somebody always seems to have something rude to say, whether to be taken as a joke, or in a downright serious manner.

Several months ago, we were having a discussion in my Social Studies class. It was only a few minutes long, and yet I still remember it so vividly because of what happened. Our teacher was going through several debate questions. We were supposed to separate ourselves depending on what our stance was on the subject, to one side of the room, or the other. All of the questions that day remain a blur to me, except for this one:

“Do you believe the government should put a restriction on free speech?”

I stayed in my spot, which was already, conveniently, in the ‘yes’ side of the room. In my mind, it was a fairly obvious question. Although this was the case for me, to my surprise, I found almost every other kid moving to the ‘no’ side of the room. Only me and one other girl remained.

You see, I suppose it is easy to understand where everybody else is coming from. We have the right to freedom of speech…why on earth should we get that restricted? When you think about freedom of speech, or freedom of expression as a whole, you think of some pretty incredible things it has caused. Protests and revolutions have come off from freedom of expression. They were started often because of human beings like us, who wanted justice, equality, or change, and voiced it.

Although speech and expression links itself to many good things, what a lot of others don’t realize is that it also links itself to bullying, teasing, and hate speech. How many times have you encountered somebody, whether in real life or on the internet, defending their incredibly rude or mean response by saying they have freedom of speech? I sure have, not to me specifically, but to friends, celebrities, and even political pages.

If I have not yet come off as clear, freedom of speech and freedom of expression, with no censorship, allows people to voice their hatred publically of others for being of another race, religion, gender, etc. It allows a bully to make fun of the new kid because apparently, he has the right to do so.

I enjoy living where I do, because I lead a relaxed life. I have plenty to eat and drink, and I don’t have to live in fear that one slip of the tongue will get me arrested. However, no matter where you live, bullying still exists, as does discrimination and hate. Even if you don’t see it often where you’re from, people are suffering because of it.

Everybody does deserve the right to say what they believe or feel. Despite this, whether the government imposes restrictions or not, we should all agree that when it comes to freedom of speech, there is a line to be crossed.

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