Responsibility of a Journalist

The Odyssey is a really nice site. With it, anyone can write about just about anything. It gives normal people - like us - a voice to hopefully reach other social circles beyond our own.

Personally, I've chosen to write about race, events concerning it, and my opinions about it all. I have many thoughts about that particular subject, but they would never do much good if they stayed inside my head, which is why I chose to write about them. That's the beauty of having a platform to speak on.

There's this idea that talking about this subject has the potential to be divisive, and while I can see how one would think that, I would beg to differ.

Calling out issues like racism isn't divisive or harmful at all. Racism itself is what's divisive as well as a person's levels of complacency to it. That's just my take on that, which is harmless. I read the articles of others on this subject, in order to stay informed, and as any person could, I can see things that could be seen as harmful.

These harmful sentiments aren't just contained on web articles however. You can find them on TV or videos shared on social media, wherever that platform may be. To be clear, the issue isn't that they exist. They're bound to exist in some capacity, but given power, these ideas have the potential to cause harm to many people and social groups. There should be a level of responsibility on the ideas that a journalist decides to publicize.

To present an example, Tomi Lahren, a young journalist like a lot of people here on The Odyssey, has her own platform, where she's able to give her views on current events. As cool as that is, many of her views are harmful and not based in reality. The views she presents allows hate to spread with harmful actions along with it. I'm not saying hateful views shouldn't be expressed. That's your right, but responsibility should be taken for the words you say.

This isn't a call out directed at one person. As someone whose words have the potential to reach many people, I take care to make sure that the things I say aren't harmful. I just wanted to use a big example there, but even for those of us that are a lot smaller in reach, expressing our harmful beliefs (because we're bound to have them at some point) is enabling to others who share those belief to also express them, which simply isn't right. Of course, I'm not the authority on what is right or wrong, and it wouldn't do you much good to ask one person if what you say can be harmful, because that's just one person. How social groups react to your views or similar views would be a good indication on whether they're harmful or not.

Keep in mind that I'm not suggesting that we keep from offending anyone. We're bound to do that one way or the other, but that doesn't mean that the things you say are harmless. To say that the things the American flag symbolizes isn't that great is surely offensive and yet isn't harmful. It assumes that a problem exists that causes that viewpoint, but does no harm to those that feel that no problem exists. To say that a rights movement is a hate group is definitely harmful. It assumes that they're enemies of peace and that members of that movement should be treated as something like a terrorist, rather than a group rallying for positive change.

We should strive to do better and be better and a part of that is being self aware. We need to be aware if the ideas that we share are harmful. I feel that wherever you align, you just want to do good for your home, and so lets just do what we can to not cause harm to each other.

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