Kings' Courier

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Censorship in America

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The right to free speech springs forth from the founding fathers of the United States. When creating the constitution, the founding fathers chose to focus on freedom of speech. Hence, they added the first amendment to the constitution. Now, fast forward 200 years and focus on today’s culture of freedom of speech… or lack thereof. Censorship is used to block an individual’s ability to speak freely in front of others. In today’s society, athletes and students are prohibited are criticized for their public demonstration against the flag or the country. Also, people in general are often not allowed to view things on the internet  that otherwise they could.

In the past few years, The United states has had a problem with police brutality against African American citizens. To show contempt against a country that blatantly allows this, several football players have taken a knee during the playing of the National Anthem before a game. This is a demonstration that led to several students across America sitting and not reciting the pledge of allegiance in the morning. These students are often berated and told the must stand outside of the classroom. These students, who are expressing their right as American citizens, are removed from their peers’ eyes, and effectively hushed out. In “America: Land of Free Speech… Sometimes,” the author, John Stossel, evaluated a similar situation of students being relocated to “Censorship Zones” which are out of the public eye and therefore no change happens based on the student’s efforts. “Several colleges used to have rules requiring that all student protest be held in a small, out-of-the-way ‘free speech zone’ on campus.” This is ironic because of the First Amendment in every public place people are allowed to speak freely. This example shows how students are on the track to losing their freedom of speech. Essentially, schools are ripping away the sacred right that the founding fathers gave each and every American citizen.

In my high school, a lot of content can not be accessed because is might have “sensitive” material. For example, I traveled abroad to learn Spanish. Our group kept a blog to help us remember our trip. When I came back, I found that I could not share the content I had saved with my Spanish class. I visited the school’s I.T. department to gain a better understanding of why I could not share my amazing experience. What was their reasoning? The website I wanted visit contained sensitive material that could be offend the public. They said I shouldn’t even attempt to go to this blog because of the “filth” I could see. William Bennett, author of “Wal-mart’s Free Choice,” stated how large corporations often use “filth” for profit. However, he stated that it is within their right of free speech to use such “filth.” I feel that I was denied my right to view content I knew was suitable for school. The school promoted censorship because of the blocks they put on the internet which essentially prohibits my sacred right to view what content I want to see. If one looks to William Buckley, author of “internet the lost fight” they can see how censorship negatively affects the public. So after all, “who ever got hurt by pornography?” One can gather that the content viewed on a sight such as the blog could be bad, yet no one was ever hurt by pornography. Therefore, I should be able to view that content because I am an American citizen. The censorship The school has put up blocks me from viewing clean material, and limits my free speech and the ways I can express myself.

One of the great things about living in America is the huge amounts of free data one can view. But, when schools and other public locations put up censors, then one can lose that ability. That ability is a part of the sacred American identity. In “ Sex, Fat, and Responsibility,” written by George Will, he talks about how the government has taken measures to reduce the amount of “sensitive material” viewed by minors. However, these precautions taken by the government are stealing the sacred national identity that we have come to know forcing our freedom of speech to disappear. When the government says you can not view something, they essentially saying that you are not able to handle the content someone else decided to post. Now, by taking away the ability to view whatever people want they, the government is contradicting itself. When the law states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances,” the government is blatantly saying that it is alright to break this law themselves by using censorship. The use of censorship prohibits people to speak their minds, essentially the censorship places them in an out-of-the-way “free speech zone” and does not allow people to gather, albeit online, and talk freely about certain topics. Censorship, enforced by the government, in this country obviously takes away the sacred right of the American people of free speech.

All forms of censorship in the United States, whether they be in schools or online, are aiding the encroaching of the first amendment from the American people. If the government successfully deprives the American people of their sacred right to free speech, will the United States still uphold the values that the founding fathers deemed rights to all law-abiding citizens? The American people have sat in acquiescence for too long our sacred right free speech has been hushed out with censors. The question remains: What are the American people going to do about it?

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2 Comments

2 Responses to “Censorship in America”

  1. Annie Daily on March 19th, 2019 11:17 am

    Carl this is such a good article. When the nationwide student walkout to protest for stricter gun laws happened, our school among others told us that we couldn’t do that. They were completely hindering our right to free speech. I’m glad you brought light to this topic because it is very important and America is a very censored country compared to a lot european countries. Great article though, keep it up!

  2. lucas grist on April 10th, 2019 1:42 pm

    Great article. I agree we need more free speech.

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Lewis Cass High School, Walton, Indiana,
Censorship in America