Being Cynical of The Freedom of Speech Campaign

 

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There’s a campaign that we often hear about in this modern world of the fight for freedom of speech. And to be quite honest as the title of this post suggests I’m cynical of it.

 

That isn’t to say I don’t believe in it. Because I strongly do. But I can’t help thinking that it’s a ploy to return the world to a place of prejudice at every corner towards people in minority groups. When exactly have any of the people campaigning for freedom of speech ever said for example, “If you believe people of the same race getting together is wrong you should have the right to say it” or “If you believe cis people are not their gender you should have the right to say it”. They seem to be campaigning from my perspective for negative things to be said about people in minority groups and in minority situations and never about majority groups and in majority situations. This is why I find it often very difficult to support the campaign because at heart, I don’t believe it is freedom of speech they are fighting for.

 

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I’m a kind of a person who believes that everyone in both minority and majority groups is valid but if somebody believed either way that that wasn’t the case I would completely fight for their freedom to say that. But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t challenge them on those views. It doesn’t mean I have to like them for those views. I’m noticing a slight trend lately towards the “keep your mouth shut and be polite” even if someone is speaking about having prejudiced views or you know that they do. It can be very suffocating if you’re a person like me who is passionate about their views. Often you are on your own in being ok with bringing up the issue. There may be one or two people like you but often there isn’t. Why? Because a lot of people like to stay neutral in social situations. They see it as conflict and trouble.

 

A lot of us live in a democracy. If two people with opposing views can’t sit down and have a calm debate on issues they feel passionate about, then where does that leave humankind? What often results from a situation that could have been two people getting their point across and then having a cup of tea together after becomes carnage. If you dare even utter the sentence “I think you’re prejudiced” it turns into a mess of “you shouldn’t have said that”, “ah, they don’t mean it in a prejudiced way”, “you can’t call people that”. And maybe it’s just me but isn’t that an attempt to take away my freedom of speech? I don’t actually let out my views very often in social situations for that reason. I’ve seen a lot of people who have honest views even in a calm way be isolated for daring to speak their truth including by people in groups that they are actually standing up for which is incredibly ironic.

 

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There is also this idea that you are trying to change people when you disagree with their view. First of all, I have enough respect for the person I would be debating with to not think they would be weak-headed enough to change their views because of me. The people that say that clearly think they must be. Secondly I don’t exactly think I have that much influence over people! And lastly if I was out to change someone’s views I would go about it a lot more diplomatically than just being honest about what I think. People are more inclined after all to change views with a soft-softy approach than an honest approach. All I want in a situation like that is to put my own point across but it seems to be very hard for people to believe that’s all a person wants to do. Discourse is great. And uncensored discourse is brilliant. As long as both parties are calm, I don’t believe it’s right to tell people how they should speak in any discourse situation.

 

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But I’m cynical of the motives of those involved in campaigning for freedom of speech. If it was genuinely a movement for freedom of speech, all types of freedom of speech would be included not just the middle ground like my views which are positive about both minority and majority groups and the views of people who feel negative about minority groups but also those who feel negative about majority groups and those who feel negative about both. When they don’t say that I don’t believe them and I don’t believe their motives. If their tactics were different and they were sincere with those tactics my feelings would be completely different. The question for me is not between freedom of speech and the feelings of people in minority groups when faced with prejudices about who they are as is often the debate put across. For me, it’s more about not singling out minority groups to be spoken of freely in a negative way by people in majority groups but rather allowing both minority and majority groups to speak freely in a negative way about each other and campaigning for both minority and majority groups’ right to do so. Are majority groups that special that they can’t be spoken about negatively like everyone else?

 

 

The Double Standards Of Political Correctness

 

 

I have a problem with the term Politically correct. Mainly because it’s always used when somebody shows ordinary decent respect for people from minority groups. But when someone shows the same ordinary decent respect for people from majority groups when does anyone ever say they are being Politically correct for doing so?

 

This kind of attitude shows to me a deeper problem with certain parts of society. Many seem to take it as a given that people should treat everyone in majority groups with complete respect. Yet see it as debatable whether that same complete respect should be given to people in minority groups. As humans, we’re all equal so the way I see it is that it has to be one way or the other. If I’m being Politically correct for example when I call a transgender woman she then surely I’m being Politically correct when I call a cisgender woman she. But is anyone going to say that I’m Politically correct in the second situation?

 

Taking myself as an example and various parts of who I am. Many wouldn’t say it was Politically correct for someone to be respectful towards me for being white and cisgender but they would say someone was being Politically correct for being respectful towards me for being female or pansexual. And that leaves you wondering, what does that mean exactly? That minority groups are so unlikable that to show ordinary decent respect would have to be Political correctness? That it couldn’t god forbid, be sincere?

 

I’m a very big believer in freedom of speech. But I think the way people talk about freedom of speech nowadays is very misleading. Everyone who seems to speak about it seems to parrot the same thing about how freedom of speech is being took away from people who want to have negative opinions about minority groups and I can’t take that argument seriously if they never say they believe in it for people to have negative opinions about majority groups. They say they want debates on whether minority groups live right. When do they ever say let’s have debates on whether majority groups live right? These people to me want freedom of speech and protection all in one go and they don’t seem to want people in minority groups to have either. So while I’m all for freedom of speech I think majority groups should be just as fair game to be spoken about negatively just like everybody else.