BY ALEXIA MERSOLA
Whether you saw it on campus or not, it was speculated that signs had been placed around campus stating, “its OK to be white.” These signs were taken down due to not following the proper banner posting policy, which according to the Office of Student life needs to be stamped with approval before posting.. These signs were only up for maybe an hour, but it has taken the campus and other campuses by storm in a national whirlwind. The mystery behind these signs still poses many questions. For example, what is the reason behind it and why was it started?
Freedom of Speech, a topic that no one wants to avidly talk about, but have all the freedom to do so; at least in the United States. The right to freedom of speech is as simple as this: one has the right to express any options without censorship or restraint. This simple definition is far to vague to explain the answers one might be looking for. The First Amendment to the Constitution forbids Congress from passing any law abridging the freedom of speech. The Supreme Court has applied this limitation to state governments through the Fourteenth Amendment. This Amendment is used and practiced in everyday life and is seen all over the media, but what constitutes freedom of speech? Words have no meaning, it’s the people who give meaning to the words they speak.
This is part of the reason why so many American’s interpret the idea of Freedom of Speech differently. One prime example of the struggle between knowing what is covered under the First Amendment would be the event of NFL players kneeling at the football games to stand up for racial injustice. Although some would say that the NFL players were making an inappropriate statement at a game, stating that the players actions, “weakened the commitment we have to the nation that has provided us this freedom.” and that it shouldn’t be protected under the Constitution. However, those who disagree argue that their actions were completely covered under the First Amendment.
Going back to the fact that the Constitution and its Amendments are really vague in writing, its hard for anyone to take a stance. I believe that the NFL players were most definitely within their constitutional right, the players were not acting out in violence against anyone and therefore could practice this movement. This movement is a lot like that of the “Black Power” movement which became widely spread through the US in the 1960s. Although the demonstrations were quite peaceful in their atmosphere, there was still backlash through the rest of the community and caused controversy much like the NFL players have caused. Both movements are not simplistic in their demonstrations and both have something to say about how they are being treated.
Freedom of Speech is not limited by race, as many would like to argue. It doesn’t matter whether or not a group feels that another is being oppressed. No matter the skin color, no matter the age, everyone is going to feel some type of oppression or inequality in their life, and if they feel they must speak up and against it. They have every right to practice it.