Freedom of Speech – What speech?

FreedomOfSpeechComic-copy-640x631

I had an interesting discussion with my family last night about freedom of speech, and thought I’d follow up on some points I lacked the words to finalize throughout the night.  Unfortunately, I seem to come up with my best responses to questions 4 hours after I’m asked them, so here is my way of sharing those with the world.

Now, just a bit of background on my family and I: my opinions and ideas are pretty different from everyone else’s.  Not to say it’s a staunch difference with no middle ground, there definitely is on some points, but more or less I stand alone during these lovely discussions.  I lean towards a more liberal standpoint, while everyone else is a bit more on the conservative side.  Sometimes way more, but it depends.

So! With that being said, here is what was discussed.  The whole discussion started with the controversy over FIFA trying to have the Mexican soccer fans apologize for saying “puto” during the games.  It’s incredibly offensive toward gay men, and in my opinion, there should be some apology from the fans or team.  However, my family disagrees.  They saw this as a direct attack on freedom of speech.  According to my father, he describes this as the start of controlthought, controlspeech – basically 1984.

I couldn’t handle this being said.  I usually stay quiet around the family when said topics are brought up, so as not to constantly start an argument (which, with many of the things I’ve heard, I could probably start an argument every family gathering…but hey, who wants to be that guy all the time), but this I could not let slide.

I think it’s ridiculous how this country’s majority has started arguing that the protection of cultures, societies, or just different groups of people is a violation of the freedom of speech.  Since when has the freedom of speech been about, “hey, I want to insult gay people so as to make them feel less than myself and excluded…it’s my freedom of speech!”, instead of what it actually means, “hey, my ideas on the global economy’s impact on small business in the US is different than yours…let’s discuss!”  When the hell did that happen?!  I find it interesting that it’s become an issue only during the Obama administration.  The fact that democrats have been in power, suddenly not getting away with insulting people has become a violation of human rights instead of just punishment for being an asshole.

This, of course, bled into a discussion on race.  Sorry, but I wish it could be understood that no matter how much one wants to deny it, white males still have so much more privilege in society that it’s sick.  And the fact that I’m even having an argument with white males about race is kind of funny because race has never been an issue for them.  My brother and cousin are hispanic, but would first identify themselves as a Caucasian, male before anything else…I don’t know why.  Anyways, the discussion was on quotas and how certain employment positions, specifically in local and national government positions, are more likely to be served to minorities than white people.  This is a problem for them.

First, it’s kind of ironic since one of the positions being discussed was a police officer, when in fact, the majority of people in prison are minorities for crimes that a white person could have equally committed but not gotten as much punishment for.  That is happening throughout the country and it’d probably be hard to find a single shred of evidence has shown otherwise.  But I digress.

Quotas are unnecessary these days, I believe that.  However, their existence correlates with a bunch of other factors.  Take education for instance.  The way that society has created a  horrible education system, especially for inner cities, already leaves kids at a disadvantage.  Then there comes opportunities such as internships, jobs…anything that looks good on paper.  This isn’t always easy to come by, especially if someone is barely affording school as it is.  Now, suddenly this person, who is just as capable and willing as the next guy, is expected to just get a job right away, when on paper they don’t look as capable and willing as the next guy?  Society hasn’t  yet become as equal opportunity as white males would like to think.  Not yet.  There is still a fucking wage gap between men and women.  I get paid less because I have tits.  So yeah, not exactly equal opportunity yet.

From this point, we went on to discuss the arbitrary decision of who decides on what people should say, how they should be punished, and how this power shouldn’t be given to the states, but to the people.  I agree that society, most of the time, will take care of itself in these situations.  However, if you have something like a large group of soccer fans straight up insulting gay people, something needs to be done.  And as “arbitrary” of a decision it is, it’s necessary to get the point across that being an asshole is not right.  This is not controlling speech…that is not what it means.  And the fact that someone considers this as a violation of freedom says something about one’s outlook on life: I can say whatever I want to say about you, but how dare you insult the church.  Yeah, that makes so much sense.

In closing, I just want to make it clear that my cousin, brother, and father obviously don’t think it’s right that these Mexican fans are saying this, nor are they completely racist or sexist.  Their opinions are for the ideas, not on the words being said.  Also, I love that I can discuss these issues openly with my family, even though we have different ideas on life.  Because that’s freedom of speech in a nutshell. 

Advertisements