Credit: Meredith Stern

On Day 15 of our countdown to the #StandUp4HumanRightsCT rally, we will be looking at Article 19 of the UDHR, which embodies the right to freedom of opinion and expression.

The freedom of speech is a deep-rooted right, and controversial topic, in American society. The Constitution lays out the right to the free exercise of speech and the press in the very first amendment. Many Americans hold their freedom of speech in the highest regard, even when it comes to expressing unpopular opinions, deeply offensive views, and/or hate speech. However, many Americans also believe that political correctness is an escalating issue in the United States, according to this survey conducted by The Cato Institute (https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/10/a-sneak-peek-at-new-survey-data-on-free-speech/542028/).

Political correctness: the avoidance of certain expressions that are perceived to marginalize, exclude, or insult groups of people, especially those identified by external markers such as race, gender, culture, or sexual orientation. The concept has been discussed and criticized by people across the political spectrum. Those opposed to political correctness view it as censorship and restricting the freedom of speech, whereas on the other hand, others see political correctness as a legitimate means of minimizing hate speech and exclusionary practices.

Should one’s freedom of speech and expression be curbed if derogatory and brutally offensive language is used, or is this human right absolutely non-negotiable no matter the circumstances? Which side, or what balance of both, will bring about the change our country and world you want to see? How willing, or unwilling, are you to sacrifice your right to opinion and expression for the well-being of others? Ultimately, these questions are for you to decide based on your own morals, values, and experiences.

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