To state the obvious, Odyssey posts a lot of things. Some content is thoughtful, inspiring, insightful, well-written and purely amazing. Other articles are lackluster, to say the least, maybe even shallow, offensive or just boring. As a writer and an editor in chief for Odyssey, I've seen both ends of the spectrum and the submissions that pile up in between. I don't agree with everything my writers submit to me, and I don't even like some of it. But that doesn't really matter because Odyssey is a platform where people share their opinions and ideas.
A few weeks ago, I saw the Odyssey Facebook account shared an article entitled: "From The Conservative White College Girl". Underneath the posting were comments like, "I can't believe Odyssey would post something like this" or "This shouldn't be allowed". Curiosity piqued, I read the article. And I disagreed with just about everything this girl wrote. But I also disagreed with the comments people posted, angrily arguing for this hateful article’s discontinuation. Whether or not we agree, this girl has a right to her opinion and a right to express it. Furthermore, she has a right to express it on Odyssey.
Even more upsetting is when people within Odyssey forget about our purpose of fostering conversation. A fellow editor saw a longwinded comment on one of Odyssey’s articles where a former Odyssey writer conveyed her disappointment that editors didn’t take out these offensive opinions. The role of an editor with Odyssey is to edit for grammar, formatting and provide contextual guidance and suggestions. Our roles are not to dictate what gets published or to prohibit the scope of content that gets posted to the internet. Odyssey’s mission is to democratize content and we’re here to help with that.
The reason so many people hate Odyssey is because it publishes ideas and opinions that go against personal beliefs and values. The problem with this kind of reaction is that it’s essentially calling for censorship, but only censorship of opinions aberrant from one’s own. Even if those aberrant opinions are or appear ignorant or even offensive, there’s no use in silencing them like they don’t exist. The reality is that these people do need a voice and we need to hear what they have to say.
Because we live in a country with free speech, I will continue to write, read and publish articles that I don’t agree with, articles that will even stir up controversy. We can’t move forward if we don’t talk about problems and strike a balance between opposing schools of thought.