In my Politics of American Government class last winter, I learned that there are limitations on our right of free speech, limits delineated by terms such as "fighting words," "clear and present danger" and libel. During that same term, I also discovered just how restrictive many college students' idea of free speech really is.
In an editorial for a school newspaper, I criticized how the school's four ethnic theme dorms (African-American, American Indian, Asian and Latino) stereotyped minorities by categorizing individuals by race rather than considering broader personal experiences and values. The response: How dare I condemn the established multicultural institutions on campus! Didn't I know that I had no business commenting on the issue since, as one student stated on a campus forum, I was just a "white, libertarian girl from the O.C." Considering how often students refer to their right of free speech when they criticize the school or presidential administration, their reactions to my article were stunning. Read More.