illustration by Gracen Hoyle
It seems the more and more we try to make society inclusive and tolerable of others, the more certain viewpoints get silenced. This is relevant on social media where profiles can get deleted for spreading certain ideas and perhaps saying something seen as hate speech. And the more this happens, the more I see the same outcry: “So much for the tolerant left,” as if we should be giving every single viewpoint equal value in the general public’s mish-mash of ideas. This makes sense, however, being tolerant also means not tolerating any viewpoint that is intolerant of others.
Why should those who preach inclusivity not tolerate certain views? Well, for one, certain views go against the main idea of inclusivity. If someone believes a certain race or a certain culture is less than another one, then this goes against trying to include them and make their views feel valid. This may seem like a contradiction, but it’s not when you break down the logic.
If someone fights for inclusivity, they are inherently fighting against everything that is against inclusivity. What is the consequence of this? Well, this means trying to show how certain viewpoints are wrong. This doesn’t necessarily mean silencing someone completely. It just means we should treat it as a false viewpoint and one based on bad logic and bigotry. This means not letting people post whatever hate speech they want against a specific group, even if they believe that their viewpoint is inherently true.
I will then point out how the alt-right sees this as censorship and tend to try to cause an outcry when they are silenced on certain platforms for what they say and the ideas they spread. First, you can still say what you want, but it does not mean that we should tolerate that viewpoint and allow you to spread it further. Second, in any private platform run by a company and not the government, they have the right to remove those they deem not good for the platform and their image.
I think Americans are too used to having freedom of speech pushed into our collective minds as a proud right that should be defended in all uses at all costs. However, this simply isn’t true and our words carry meaning. Language and the use of it are so important. Racial slurs demean the races they attack, and the use of them normalizes that mindset. Spreading conspiracy theories of Jewish people controlling the world is an old and dangerous theory that led to the mass genocide of them in the second World War. We can never deny the existence of these terrible views, but the moment we actively allow this kind of speech to thrive and influence others is when we allow bigotry, hatred and ignorance to win.
Now, I am not trying to divide people, I’m simply trying to bring people together and trying to get those who use their words to spread hate to understand why they get silenced so easily. When they attack others — those not similar to them and “harder” to understand — they forget that they are humans from all walks of life. In the end, that is their goal, to show them as “others.” I want us to empathize more as a society, but this does not apply to everyone and I hope we all can learn that. Despite how politics are today, I want us to stop seeing racism, sexism and all other forms of bigotry as normal. They should not be normalized as valid viewpoints because being anti-human rights goes against the very livelihood of marginalized people. These alleged opinions shouldn’t be considered because they fundamentally undermine the humanity of others. We need to fight against them constantly to have an inclusive society that values the diversity of this world.