The Difference Between Opinions And Hate Speech
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Politics and Activism

The Difference Between Opinions And Hate Speech

Don't get it twisted, there is a difference.

The Difference Between Opinions And Hate Speech
Hate Speech International

Opinions. We all have them. For example, I really cannot stand the dusty, crumbly mess in the bottom of my cereal box. It's 2016, why haven't we solved this travesty? Sometimes you've got to take a stand (#endcrumblycereal2k16). Sometimes, you don't really have an opinion. Sometimes, you have a really strong one.

We are all entitled to our opinions, however uninformed they are. I could walk around campus spewing comments about how one professor came from the literal pits of hell or how this other professor is a divine being sent from above to save us all from ignorance. Yes, these claims are ridiculous and unfounded, but I have every right to say this, right?

I want to bring up a very important point. While we have the legal right to say whatever we want, we are not exempt from criticism or judgement because of what we say. In fact, it is also within our legal rights to do. No one is exempt from having to deal with the existence of other people, and with that, other people's opinions.

Honestly, most days I wish I could shield myself from the "differing opinions that are important to surround yourself with in order to build tolerance" because most of the time, it is hate speech. It contains nothing new under the sun. I have often heard these "opinions" reiterated time and time again by many people. I don't need to expose myself to more oppressive comments and hate speech. Trust me, I've seen enough, and most of the time, I can avoid it when it comes my way.

But, when it is public and I know multiple people will be seeing it, I feel like I have an obligation to address it, so people know that it is not okay to spread hate speech. At, least, not in my presence.

Furthermore, on the subject of tolerance, I have my own opinion to offer. Why do we have to be tolerant of hate speech? Why can't we allow people to be hurt and angry about seeing and experiencing more oppression? What is so wrong with having people take care of themselves by refusing to see it or interact with it when they are the ones further marginalized by such comments?

For example, I have read quite a bit on how people are choosing to respond to the hate speech ("build that wall"- if you don't know this full story, look it up) that was painted on the pedestrian bridge on the University of Minnesota campus and I am displeased with the way it is being covered. Most news outlets (our school newspaper included) have covered it by naming the situation as "controversial". Now, of course, there are multiple sides to this story, but I do not like this shying away of using the term hate speech. Because that's what it was, hate speech. It was not just a "different opinion", it was spreading xenophobia and racism.

There is a difference between a simple opinion and hate speech. We have to listen to people who say that something is hate speech. We have to believe that people who experience that oppression know what it looks like. It's a privilege to be able to deem hate speech as "just another opinion" without fear for your own safety.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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