Self Defense: Free Speech Vs. Hate Speech

I still remember how scared I was at school for the many years I was bullied. It can be absolutely terrifying to have a group of people be so cruel because they are so full of spite and anger. Though I’ve grown older and found healing I’m often reminded of that part of my journey like recently after watching a video about trolls who used Twitter to viciously attack Leslie Jones, one of my favorite comedians.

In an interview with Seth Meyers she did a great job of explaining what happened and how hurt she felt. Thankfully she received some justice when she complained to Twitter about the hate. Complaining doesn’t always work, but luckily after some time she was able to convince Twitter to take action and the company closed the accounts of some very hateful, dangerous people. But it didn’t end there, Leslie was then confronted with complaints that she was impeding on free speech! Her response to that foolishness was on point when she said, “Freedom of speech and hate speech are two different things.” I’ve been saying this for years and always feel a sense of comfort and optimism about our human race when someone else says it. Check out her two-minute interview here, https://youtu.be/5KxhU_yZLG8. For a little more background info on the situation, read this article, http://www.thewrap.com/ghostbusters-leslie-jones-racist-twitter-trolls-tears-this-hurts-me/

Classifying hate and threats of violence as free speech is dangerous. Why is our society so worried about impeding on someones right to speak that we allow so much hate to exist without allowing ourselves the right to a reaction. Whether it’s flat-out hate crime speech or something less poisonous like hurtful gossip, we should all be much more confident in vocalizing that hate speech in any form is not okay. When we don’t do speak up and comment, the trolls win and we all lose. This is the same in regards to self-defense. People aren’t always super clear in their threats or bullying, but if you feel like you’re being bullied please speak up. By doing so you may be able to stop them before they really hurt you or someone else.

If you need help learning healthy communication skills check out my problem solving page.

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