Censoring- Off the Hook

It is no wonder that efforts to censor public dialogue is on the rise considering the mass amounts of police brutality, racial profiling, unlawful justice, immigration cruelty, slanderous remarks made by leaders of our country, and so much more. The public has been crying out enough is enough. People will not live under social stigmas. Public protests and movements counter balance our social frailties, and often serve a purpose to guide our nation away from condescending discourse. Any time people are oppressed for a certain amount of time, there becomes the kick back of new ideas, radical ideas that can seem to go overboard and demand a lot at the time, but it takes that much to shift the cultural climate and bring social awareness. It balances itself out.

Censoring seems over the top right now because people who have been hurt and wounded are rising up in intolerance and fighting for their rights. We as a people support these conversations about racism, immigration, sexual orientation, or the like to create more public awareness and consciousness of what is said, what is believed, ultimately leading to people treating people better, at least equally. It is not that anything should not be said. It all has it’s cause and effect in the current cultural climate. 

If someone wants to say something racist to another person, fine. They have that right, as do we all have the right to say something back according to our own moral. We might all have prejudices, but accepting that some people actually believe in inequality is a hard pill to swallow. Nevertheless, what helps that individual shift values, hate? love? We are in a public space. We do tolerate one another and all of our absurd differences, but it is the unjustness that cannot go ignored. No one should have to endure feeling oppressed in their workplace and neighborhoods by people in positions of power and public service, who are accountable to our constitution and laws, yet unsupportive of diversity. When this happens, civil rights are abused, people are abused, and the public dialogue is challenged by disdain and disrespect. Then the public has to engage in some need of censoring to hold a standard, yet hoping to avoid the dangers of censoring, though the tipping point might be here already. How much censoring is enough, or too much? 

Photos by Kate

Where is the measuring line for censoring, the lid, limit, the volume of how much is too much, what is right or wrong- all disputes are relative. Over-censoring is not the answer to educate, learn, and grow our communities.  Rather, it is up to the individual to decide if they want the public catering to them, or if they will cater to the public. We all see ourselves in censoring dilemmas, all of our prejudices on display, while at the very same time, all wanting to do and say the “right” thing. It goes much deeper than the things we say to one another, but deciding what to believe. 

Civil rights aren’t based on bias, but not differentiating one person from the next. We know that in public life, it is what each one of us values that is brought to the table. What each person says in public is shared space, the public life. If we want to be around people or not, we see and hear massive amounts of information every day, moving like large tides over our nation’s dialogue and shaping new discourses are well in the brink of new conversations. Though we all tend to move toward the same ends, though never so entitled to not be insulted. When did the public become so by believing that they have the right to not be insulted, or that everything they read or hear should be true. It’s not another person’s responsibility to take care of you, it is your own. It is not another person’s responsibility to sift through the news and find the perfect balance of information to publicate. No, it is the individual’s responsibility to check facts. It is up to the individual to gather information, cross reference, and choose for themselves what to believe.

I can’t imagine to start telling others people to do this for us,  like it seems we are asking of the news and social media platforms already. Just consider how many ridiculous lawsuits that occur each day, and we get a small glimpse of just how little individuals want to be responsible for themselves, and their own well being. We can blame others, from stoplight and walkway conflicts, to advertising propaganda, government corruption, subliminal and strategic media, political rhetoric, all have delivered false news. Where would the end be if we were to edit the world. We edit ourselves.


Photos by Kate

It is not the responsibility of open forums to try and offer added influence or commentary,  unless it is stated that you are pushing your own agenda. If any nation wants to put false ads out on open forums, let them. If we are a generation of people that cannot decide for ourselves, look for the information, educate ourselves, look beyond what we want to see and instead research the true facts, then it is our responsibility to get out and do so, and to teach our children to do so. Knowledge cannot depend on an outside source, and though often our only sources are other peoples groundwork, there are enough diverse views to make our own educated decisions. 

It is the same within our communities when we allow freedom to be artistic and express controversial views in a way that is open and artistic, comedy for example. But, if a person truly believes in controversial beliefs and voices it, often receives public repercussion. If a person truly is racist, it is sad, but it is legal. That is who they are, trying to control who they are is overstepping. This doesn’t mean that getting fired, making public apologies isn’t a way to hold public space accountable. Each person has their own standard and sensitivities about what is too much and what is not. We are all racist. We are all prejudice. Everyone is bias. We do not see that we are, but others can see.

What is the answer to censoring? Hopefully, applied with moderation and for educating and helping our nation find it’s way to mutual respect and civility. Everyone censors, as everyone acts mostly polite in public. This is known. It is also known that censoring has its place in the most minimal of ways, or we can become a really scary kind of people, not that we aren’t already. 



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