Free speech and social media: are we now overreacting to personal opinions?

I am wrestling with something that is happening.

Yes, I know: the legal doctrine of free speech means that the government can’t put you in jail for expressing an opinion. That does NOT legally protect you from an employer firing you.

But I still wonder: have we become so uptight about opinions that we are too quick to react when someone says something on social media?

We have a teacher being terminated because she said some, well, things that were viewed as racist by many (concerning the McKinney “pool party” incident).

If you are wondering why I didn’t just call these statement “racist”: well, I’ve heard that we need to have an “honest conversation on race” but we’ll never have that when someone’s honestly heart-felt “observations” are shouted down. Think about it: over the last few times you’ve seen riots or these types of incidents reported in the national media, who has been involved? So it might appear that black people cause a disproportionate amount of trouble, and such thoughts really can’t be honestly challenged if they aren’t being discussed openly and honestly.

I think that the idea is to make people less racist, not to drive such thoughts underground where they can’t be challenged in a relatively non-threatening way.

But yes, I can see the school district’s side on this case. I don’t know WHAT to think here.

You have the principal of a school being reassigned over his critique of the police officer’s actions (on a personal page). Where I disagree with the principal (and very strongly so), I think that this action is very heavy handed. Are we not allowed to express honest personal opinions about the events of the day? Or, do we have to run them through employer censors?

And yes, this goes “both ways”. Here, we have a fast food worker at a zoo being fired over a remark which included “rude-assed white people”. Come on; how does this affect her ability to make french fries? I think that a more appropriate measure would be to tell her to take it down and to be a bit more careful next time; firing was too harsh IMHO.

Personally, I think that we’ve become oversensitive.


June 12, 2015 - Posted by | free speech, social/political |

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