The tipping point

Volume 50, Issue 2: Editor’s Desk

Carlo Javier // Editor-in-Chief 

“I know you scared. You should ask us if we scared too. If you was there then we’d just knew you cared too,” – Chance the Rapper 

One of the most important courses that I took at Capilano University was Communications 132: Explorations in Media. 

The class, taught by my idol Kym Stewart, is arguably one of the five hardest courses in the School of Communications – the other four being the other four Stewart courses. It’s a required first year course, and despite the multitude of communication and media theories that the class delves into, I think it would be tremendously important for other students to take the course, too. Not for the theories, but because of how it breaks down the way media operated then and how it’s operated today.  

For a time, media was a land ruled strictly by journalists, content creators and rich, old, white men who ran giant media conglomerates. Nowadays, everyone can have their slice of the media pie. 

While levelling the field sounds like a fantastic and fair idea, it still has fangs to bear and venom to spit. The internet, particularly the several platforms of social media, has become the new wild west – and anyone with access can start spewing vitriol and hate. Dialogue has been both amplified and compromised. The ever-fickle notion of freedom of speech has just become confusing to some.  

This week, readers will get to see our first batch of columns. It’s the section of the Courier that best captures how the wild west of the internet works. It’s filled with a wide variety of topics, going from articles about outdoor activities you can do on a budget, to stories about struggles with personal identity and social issues.  

We also have a column about the alt-right and its leftist counterparts. It’s a series that I may not always agree with, but it’s a series that does merit conversation. In this issue, our columnist tackles the violent tendencies of the Antifa. He denounces the radical left’s behaviour, citing incidents like the forced cancellation of a conservative convention, counter rallies that interrupt and overturn “free speech” rallies and punching white supremacist icon, Richard Spencer, in the face. His argument is that the left’s delinquent behaviour won’t do anything to improve the current state of affairs, and that violence is never the answer. 

The problem is violent delights have always existed for the alt-right. While we can and should condemn Antifa’s radical tendencies and operations, we can’t simply ignore the histories of lynching and brutality that white supremacists have orchestrated. We can’t so quickly forget that it was white supremacists who plowed through peaceful protesters in Charlottesville, resulting in the death of Heather Heyer and that it was white supremacists who beat protesters with clubs. While the column can be commended for advocating for conversation, peaceful means and freedom of speech, it fails to hold both sides accountable by electing to hold only the Antifa’s feet over the fire – doesn’t seem like a dialogue to me. 

Freedom of speech is a modern fallacy. Sure, people should have the ability to express their views and beliefs, but when these ideologies come at the cost of dehumanizing other people, then I vote that freedom of speech gets revoked. It’s a privilege that has historically been inherited by an exclusive group of people, a long-established power. It’s only becoming contentious now, since that power is being challenged. 

The most important thing we can do now is to be cautious of painting people with the same brush: not everyone who believe in rightist values are white supremacists, and not everyone who believes in leftist values are Antifa.  

Conservatives don’t deserve to get punched in the face and their conventions and loafers blowout sales shouldn’t get overrun. But white supremacist demonstrations are entirely different. A punch to the face may be a little too aggressive, but years and years of diplomacy and taking the high road brought marginalized people nowhere. We’ve hardly moved. America took such a lethal step back this past election that even Steph Curry got jealous.  

The rules of dialogue and conversation is changing. Counter-protests might be rude and offensive, but who are we to know, most of us just recently got free speech.  

 

 

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