Free speech ‘is not free’

In reply to the ‘Protestors desire ‘Common Ground” article: I am pleased to see that there are intelligent students and individuals on campus who respectably stood up for human rights. The hate-chalking aimed at the homosexual community was in fact wrong and since then I have noticed a division amongst students.

Yes, on national coming out day, it was apparent to everyone attending school the thoughts and feelings of homosexuals. There were students who were furious about it and mumbled angrily under their breaths, disgusted by the display that was presented to them. People said it was wrong and that the homosexual ideology was being forced on them, but then again heterosexuals do it all the time as well.

I for one agree without any doubt in my mind, heart and soul that there needs to be a common ground, not just between people of different sexual preferences, but of all people who are relatively different from one another.

There have been some who declare that the hate-chalkings were a product of free speech, something that this country of ours is famous for; however if any type of speech causes a single person or group for that matter to feel any type of emotional distress because of a few words of ‘free speech,’ then it is not free. It was said or written at the expense of others, which is morally wrong.

Any comment that reduces the level of happiness and peace within one’s mind comes at a price, a price that many people have a hard time understanding. It can leave people isolated and in a state of loathing, threatened and afraid to be themselves. It then warrants them to be conditioned by the so-called social norms that are pressed upon them- leaving them to conform to ideals that they are truly against.

These words of utter hatred are more powerful than any weapon on this planet and it can be very disastrous for a person or a group that is targeted by them. It leaves emotional scars that are difficult to ignore and people are forever changed by those words that echo within the corners of their mind.

We have all been victims of such words; Homosexuals, African Americans, Hispanics, the Prep Crowd, the Gothic Crowd and the list goes on.

When we sink to that level, we become the people that we read in history books that we despise and are confused about. It is up to our generation to construct a new path of reason and purpose so that our children and grandchildren will not have to endure the trial and tribulations that we did.

The only way to do that is not with words of hatred and complete distrust, but with an open heart and mind to understanding one another in order to reach a common ground.

Kenneth Bret Rivera

Social Work Major