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The Choice to Use our Freedom of Speech the Right Way

Over the past few days, the University of Oklahoma has been in the news due to racist remarks made by several members of a fraternity there. The remarks were recorded on video and sent to the President of the school. He took prompt action…closing the fraternity house, telling all members to vacate the house by midnight and expelling several students.

Just a few words, but look at the damage those words caused. Damage not only to students there on that campus, but also to people all around the country. Does our freedom of speech give us the right to say anything, at any time, about anybody?  

It does not…and it’s important for us to understand that. Free speech gives us every right to say what we want to say, but not to the extent that those words hurt others. There is a right way – and a wrong way – to say “what’s on our mind.” And, in making a choice concerning the way we will use our words, it’s important that we don’t hurt or demean others with our comments.

As my grandmother reminded me many, many times, “If you don’t have something good to say, just don’t say anything at all.” If those young men had made better choices about their words – or, better yet, said nothing at all – things would be much better on the University of Oklahoma campus today.

There are two primary choices in life: to accept conditions as they exist, or accept the responsibility for changing them. Denis Waitley