Being politically correct halts progression and conversation

by Ryan Price, Contributor

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The political correctness debate commenced following President Trump’s comment calling Haiti and African nations “sh*tholes.” The overuse of terms such as microaggressions and safe spaces, as well as cases where students prevented conservative speakers from presenting, represent a threat to the constitutionally protected right to freedom of speech on college campuses. Students must be able to debate controversial issues without infringing upon freedom of speech. Students too often deem harmless speech offensive, which overshadows the harm of actual hate speech.

Although it is wrong to physically prevent someone from speaking, it is imperative college students learn how to calmly, rationally and intelligently refute hate speech. Also, by protecting the right to freedom of speech, students will preserve their right to speak out in cases of injustice without fear of censorship.

A recent Rasmussen poll found that 73 percent of Americans say freedom of speech is a cause worth dying for. This means that a substantial amount of Americans take the First Amendment seriously. In present day’s polarized society, it is crucial college students learn how to cope with the speech that triggers them so they can effectively participate in political discourse.

It would benefit students to step out of their college bubble — the biggest safe space — and learn how to debate the rest of society on politically charged issues.

According to The Telegraph, a student at Edinburgh University in Scotland recently received a complaint about raising her arms in disagreement with something said at a student council meeting. She received backlash because raising your hand indicates disagreement and violates the school’s safe space policy.

According to The Daily Wire, at California State University Los Angeles, a “healing space” was created to deal with the pain and trauma created by a controversial speech that most students did not even attend.

When an extreme group of students at the University of California Berkeley wanted to ban conservative — albeit provocative and insensitive — speakers such as Ann Coulter, Milo Yiannopoulos and Ben Shapiro, most students were not outraged at the suppression of speech. Students even protested against HBO host, Bill Maher, when it was announced he was scheduled to make a commencement speech at the university. The leaders of the Free Speech Movement in the mid 1960s were UC Berkeley students, and the notion that only fifty years later, students are fomenting distaste to keep controversial speakers from presenting, is ironic.

As the future of this nation, college students must adopt a new approach to how we look at freedom of speech. In this fragmented political system, it is imperative students have a voice. Many students are deemed “snowflakes” and are not taken seriously by conservatives. Now that the racist and bigoted alt-right has a national platform, it is up to students to challenge those ideas.

If students want more political power, they must change the way they discuss issues in our society and must stop being so politically correct.

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