Freedom of Speech Includes the Freedom to “Offend” People

Author: Nicole Commisso

This post refers to my most recent piece, “White Privilege: Injustice Does Not Fix Injustice“. This op-ed piece created such unexpected controversy on my college campus, in the towns surrounding my college, and on social media. With this controversy, one might say I have turned into “Public Enemy #1”. I have consistently said that I do not mind being disliked by my peers, and ones who have a differing opinion, as long as I spark a conversation and I get to stand up for what I believe is right, or not right. However, I want to make something very clear about my argument – I never claimed that racism does not exist. Furthermore, if you disagree with my views, I have every right to freedom of speech and freedom of the press (as you have every right to disagree with me) according to the First Amendment of the Constitution:

U.S. Constitution – First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

First, I never said in my article that racism does not exist. I believe and I know that there are racist people in our society and that we should combat this racism together not by allowing ourselves to be divided by color. I do not however, believe that the way to fix racism is to try to make up for slavery, a terrible period that the left loves to use as a reason to push their white privilege propaganda. This is a false notion to punish white people of our generation for just that – being white. I would also like to add that, and by no means am I lessening the hardships they went through as a people, blacks were not the only ones that were slaves. All races and civilizations have practiced this wrongful act of slavery including the Chinese, Indians, Arabs, Africans, Irish, Americans, etc. The history of slavery spans nearly every culture, nationality, and religion, it is not just limited to African-Americans, and slavery is still prominent today across the globe. Why don’t we ever speak about this? Why aren’t we outraged about human beings currently being bought and sold as slaves. Instead of trying to battle the real issues going on now, we sit here worrying about blaming young students that are categorized as white to try to make up for horrific instances we have no control over now.

Secondly, how can these individuals sit there and say that the term “white privilege” does not diminish a white person’s accomplishments if it states that what they have achieved was prominently easier for them because of their skin color? I need to know how that does not deplete their hard work? What I did say was that white privilege is reverse-racism, which yes, it is an actual term for those who think I made it up. By expressing that someone is privileged or judging that their life is simpler just due to their skin color is racist by definition. Those who say that reverse-racism “isn’t a thing” argue that it is impossible for individuals to be racist towards white people. News flash – they can be. I have been told I cannot and will never understand white privilege because of my “whiteness”. Isn’t it racist that I can’t understand something solely based on my skin color (even though it is a term targeted towards my race)? Oh wait, no it isn’t racist according to the left – since I am categorized as white and “superior”, I can’t possibly be stereotyped or prejudiced against. This is complete hypocrisy that I refuse to accept or even entertain. What I have been told is that the way to tackle white privilege is to accept that I have it. I don’t quite understand what this does for this so-called issue. I believe by accepting white privilege, I would be apologizing for the color of my skin which is something I have no control over and would never apologize for. I quote Martin Luther King Jr. who once said:

“I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

I strongly believe that implementing the term white privilege delays this day that Martin Luther King Jr. hoped and persevered for.

My op-ed piece on white privilege created not only controversy, but a freedom of speech issue. Many people said I shouldn’t have been able to publish my article in the student newspaper due to my opinion. Last time I checked this is America, where every American has the right to freedom of speech, the right that I demonstrated through my most recent piece on white privilege. I refuse to let society, and most importantly the administration, staff, and students at Siena College, force-feed me something that I don’t think is right. By writing my op-ed piece, which no one anticipated would receive the attention it did around campus, I expressed my view on a controversial topic. Even though I did get backlash from my piece, I also received an immense amount of support and appreciation for speaking on behalf of the silent majority whose views coincide with mine.  I do not feel as though I did anything wrong by sharing my opinion and if you disagree with my views, that sparks an important discussion. Having a different opinion than someone else is also another incredible right we have as Americans. If you break and crumble due to someone else’s opinion, how are you ever going to handle the real world? Take a moment and think of how boring this world would be if everyone agreed on everything. I am an American. I am a full believer and exerciser of the Constitution. I support freedom of speech. I support freedom of the press. I have a strong voice and I intend to use it.

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Freedom of Speech Includes the Freedom to “Offend” People”

  1. People like to offend each other because we are all naturally selfish. We ought to make others feel bad for us to feel good about ourselves. Freedom of Speech is good as long as the people know how to be kind and compassionate to others and others not to be overly sensitive with everything, otherwise it’ll always be like how it’s always been.
    On the other hand, as a Journalism graduate, Freedom of Speech is one of the rights that we’ve all been fighting for simply because without Freedom of Speech, the government would have all the power to oppress their subjects.

    Nonetheless, nice article Nicole! 😀

    Like

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