Elizabeth Phillips at the Irish National Debate Team exhibition Spring 2016. | Photo by Kate Donaldson

Use it or lose it


By | Reza Sadeghzadeh

Why do people have a love and hate relationship with freedom of speech? Well, first of all, everyone enjoys the privilege to express themselves freely. On the other hand, you might come across some “legally hateful” speech. Yes! The law protects hateful speech unless such speech grants a “clear and present danger.” So how do you deal with legally hateful speech?

You don’t want to condemn hateful speech by restricting the speaker. Instead, it’s more compelling to use more speech to condemn hateful rhetoric. It is unwise to restrict a speaker that is using hateful speech because it makes you look weak.

It would be wise to use more speech to persuade and enlighten those who use hateful rhetoric. To do this, you must first find out why that individual is using hateful speech. This is the most crucial aspect of using more speech because that’s how you start a healthy dialog. The ability to listen critically is important in this phase of your interaction.

It’s also important not to interrupt the speaker when finding some points of dispute. Instead, keep in mind what you would refute regarding their rhetorical reasoning to deflate the hate in their speech when it is your time to talk.

Once you get to know that individual and understand why they use hateful speech, the second phase is explaining why such hateful speech is hurtful and offensive to you. Before you explain your reasoning, it is helpful to briefly introduce yourself. Further, do not be afraid to expose your scars, meaning the struggles you have dealt with throughout your life. People understand what it’s like to struggle, but they might not be aware of your problems. It is important to have this type of dialog so that others know where you are coming from. Ultimately, the process of using more speech would tunefully condemn hateful rhetoric.

The final step is to establish some commonality with those who use hateful language. This should be easy because humans have so much in common with one another. However, we are unaware of it due to the contemporary state of mass media and modern political rhetoric of “divide and conquer.”

It’s unfortunate that it takes a major crisis for humans to understand their connection and dependency on each other. We need each other to survive and thrive.

We do not experience many hateful speeches on our campus, but eventually, we will graduate and become a part of the workforce. Eventually, we will be confronted with hate speech or antithetical ideologies and hopefully, you can use your knowledge to create amicable solutions. Last, I would encourage you to take full advantage of the resources provided by our university to improve your communications skills. Like joining the debate team, student body of government or the university senate.

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