Home / Op-Ed / You have the right to be offended

You have the right to be offended

author: sam dietrichcontributor

Freedom of speech
credit: megaphoneWEB

 

I try to welcome opposing viewpoints as much as I can, despite how obnoxious and insensitive I may initially find them to be.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

–some kid somewhere who’s feelings were obviously hurt by words.

The inspiration for this article comes at the aftermath of “Arts and Crafts Degree” by Destiny Kaus, in which the Carillon received numerous comments ranging from mild indifference to outright insults about both the Carillon and the writer’s opinion.

It seems strange that Kaus’ article, based largely on her personal experience within the Faculty of Education, garnered 3800* views and substantial interaction throughout social media while “I Hate the Riders” by Matt Wincherauk, which should strike a larger chord as the Rider fan base is almost equivalent to Saskatchewan’s population, only gained slightly over 300*. Even more striking is the fact the University to Receive Funding for Infrastructure, which details how $30,000,000 received from the federal government are to be spent, received just 250* views. In fact, Kaus’ editorial was more viewed than the next piece by four* times! Some may say controversy sells; however there doesn’t seem to be controversy here, rather people getting offended by Kaus’ opinion.

With such a large audience, one would be surprised to learn that none** of those insulted have taken the time to craft an article explaining what they believe the strengths the Faculty of Education are, but would rather hurl insults from behind a computer monitor. The psychology behind this is something I don’t understand, and to speak more generally, it seems that whenever an individual is offended, they don the armor of an armchair warrior and proceed to write a scathing retort on the respective post rather than actually enter into a discussion on the matter at hand. I find this upsetting, as I see it as a growing trend in part due to how all news outlets allow their work to be received through social media. While it is unlikely a major news outlet would be willing to publish an op-ed by a random reader, it is almost certain the Carillon would. This article is even proof of that.

I try to welcome opposing viewpoints as much as I can, despite how obnoxious and insensitive I may initially find them to be. This stems from the fact that by entering into a conversation, one can truly see where the opposing side is coming from, establish common ground or simply destroy their argument; additionally, I believe post-secondary institutions are a perfect place to have these discussions.

Student newspaper’s gain value and credibility by being able to publish a diverse dialogue to be read by fellow students, faculty, and administration. This intimacy is potentially the single greatest strength of having a small student-run paper on campus when compared against much larger news organizations that boast significantly more resources; however, the power of op-eds and letters from the general student populace only exists when actually utilized.

Lastly, it should be stressed that it is no one’s job not to offend you, and short of hate speech, you cannot legally limit what anyone else publicly says. With section 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights stating:

  1. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:

(a) freedom of conscience and religion;

(b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;

(c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and

(d) freedom of association.

Sidenote: These rights are so far extending that even Bill Whatcott, an activist actively campaigning against homosexuality and abortion, is still allowed to table at universities across Canada; however, you do have full control on your reaction to such feelings. Therefore, the next time you disagree with an article you read, I implore you to take the time to craft a complete response, preferably something substantial (500 words+), and submit it for publication. In this way, you can have further discussions on subjects that are personal to you.

*at the time of writing

**full disclosure by stating none, I mean no one individual has submitted an op-ed. The ESS has submitted a response collectively to show a complete look at the Faculty of Education

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