Censoring on the Rise

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 is over the top right now because people who have been hurt are rising up in intolerance and fighting for their rights. We as a people support these conversations about racism, immigration, sexual orientation, civil rights to create more public awareness and consciousness about what is said, what is believed, and ultimately leading to people treating others better, at least equally. Everything that is said has its cause and effect in the current cultural climate. 

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, or love? We are in a public space. We do tolerate one another and all of our absurd differences, but the unjust cannot go ignored. No one should have to feel oppressed in their workplace and neighborhoods. People in positions of power and public service are accountable to our constitution and laws, yet so much of the time, unsupportive of diversity. When this happens, civil rights are abused, people are abused, and the public dialogue is challenge. The public has to engage in some need of censoring to hold a standard, yet hoping to avoid the dangers of censoring. How much censoring is enough, or too much? 

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, wanting to do and say the “right” thing. It goes much deeper than the things we say to one another, but rather the heart of the matter is in what we believe. 

Civil rights aren’t based on bias, but not differentiating one person from the next. What each person says in public is shared space, hence the public life. If we want to be around people, we naturally accept responsibility for ourselves and others, which means accepting diversity. We see and hear massive amounts of information every day, moving like large tides over our nation’s dialogue and shaping new discourses. We will be insulted, speak out, and have strong convictions one way or the other, but just as it is not another person’s responsibility to sift through information for me, nor is not mine to them. Instead, public discourse is apples in a bucket of water; you might go bobbing and find agreement, or nothing but a face dunked underwater. Censoring is about gathering enough information and education to show respect in public life, and yet is often turned into a weapon to get what we want when we meet someone who disagrees with our own beliefs.   

Imagine if I started telling others people to go through all the news and only report back to me what is true, which it seems like we are asking of the news and social media platforms already. If everyone did this, we would have more and more separation and segregation of particular channels and commentary. Consider how many ridiculous lawsuits occur each day, and we will get a small glimpse of just how little individuals want to be responsible for themselves. We could blame others from advertising propaganda, government corruption, subliminal strategic media, hate groups, or political rhetoric as they all have delivered false news, all an unworthy dialogue. Though, where would we be if we edit the world. We edit ourselves. This changes the world. 

If we are a generation of people that cannot decide for ourselves, look for the information, educate ourselves, see 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. Ways of treating and talking to one another cannot solely depend on past generations and customs. It cannot depend on outside sources that have nothing to do with what we really want to believe and who we are. There is enough diversity and conversation to make our own educated decisions about public dialogue and civil rights, and not rely on mainstream media to set the bar, we set the bar.   

It is the same within our communities when we accept the expression of controversial views in a way that is open and artistic, comedy for example. But, if a person truly believes in controversial beliefs; such as racism and voices it, it often receives public repercussion. If a person truly is racist, it is sad, but it is legal as long as they do not harm anyone. That is who they are, trying to control who they are is overstepping. This doesn’t mean that getting fired, or making public apologies isn’t a way to hold the public space accountable. Each person has their own standard and sensitivities about what is too much and what is not. What is the answer to censoring? Hopefully, applied with moderation, and for educating our nation it’s done in mutual respect and civility. Let’s just remember that in ways we are all  racist, all prejudice, all bias. Everyone censors, as everyone acts mostly polite in public. Censoring is on the rise right now because it has its place when the public isn’t being treated well, which is exactly what’s been happening a lot this past decade. 



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