We’re back to opinions, sort of. Now according to the Google dictionary an opinion is “a view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge”. Key part of that definition is “not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.” Now, I want to bring idea of Freedom of Speech, which is protected under the constitutions first amendment or better known as the Bill of Rights. Freedom of speech is the right to express one’s opinion without any type of censorship. Do you see a problem? It makes complete sense that we as Americans are allowed to express our thoughts and opinions without having to be censored, but freedom of speech is a powerful thing. While everyone is entitled to an opinion, there are times where you should just keep your mouth shut. I’ll give you an example and try to explain what I mean.
Back in October/November of 2015 (Fall 2015 was very eventful) a letter was sent out to Yale students that was in response to a warning about wearing insensitive costumes that may be cultural appropriation or a misinterpretation. The letter sent out asked the following question: “I wonder, and I am not trying to be provocative: Is there no room anymore for a child or young person to be a little bit obnoxious, a little bit inappropriate or provocative or, yes, offensive?” The letter was sent out by lecturer, Erika Christakis, an expert in early childhood education and she made a big mistake. While she didn’t explicitly tell students to wear blackface or dress as Native Americans, the underlying idea is that it would be okay if students chose to participate in cultural appropriation and be completely insensitive to a group of marginalized people all because children should be able to be “inappropriate or… offensive”. Again everyone is entitled to an opinion, but there is a difference between right and wrong. It would be wrong for students to engage in inappropriate costumes that may offend other people especially since only certain students hold that privilege to be able to do so in the first place. This is a case where maybe Erika Christakis should have kept her mouth shut.
Check out the NY times article about the incident: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/08/us/yale-lecturer-resigns-after-email-on-halloween-costumes.html