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Don’t give hate speech an audience

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stallions speech
Illustration by Cameron Hubbard.

Last week, Texas State experienced its periodic visit from a brother Jed-style preacher. With his yelling damnation, a crowd of listeners and protesters quickly gathered. Students stopped at the Stallions, Texas State’s designated symbol of free speech, to see what the commotion was about and quickly found themselves the subject of judgment as the preacher threatened hell to essentially everyone. Visitors like these aren’t new to Texas State, but they continue to return to campus because of the attention and reactions they receive.

Maybe narcissists, maybe not, but unwanted campus guests will quickly leave if the intention of their visit isn’t being met. Giving inflammatory and verbally aggressive people attention and an audience is a guaranteed way to make sure they stick around and return semester after semester. If someone is preaching at the Stallions, no matter what they’re preaching, and passers-by ignore them, they’ll leave.

Arguing back won’t do anything; standing with a sign next to someone who’s declaring a message that one disagrees with only fuels their dedication. It shows that the people they’re trying to reach are getting their message. Drawing a crowd will draw the attention of social media, which only magnifies the message that’s trying to be drowned out, which is reasonably the opposite of what protesters want.

Hate shouldn’t be given a platform. While the Stallions rightfully remain a vital part of Texas State’s campus culture and encourage open free speech, hate shouldn’t be encouraged with attention. Bobcats need to band together, in not tolerating hate speech on campus. Together in agreement that the correct way to battle unwanted speakers on campus is through discouraging them altogether from continuing the charade of moral righteousness.

Arguing back won’t force the unwanted guest off campus because the speaker knows they’re being heard. All they want is to get their message across, whether with good intentions or bad and showing that a message has been received only encourages them to continue. When faced with push-back, abrasive speakers like last week’s preacher are only more motivated to continue their work.

Naomi Wick is a journalism senior

1 COMMENT

  1. *I’m shocked*… You see, this is the problem… Denise Trauth puts out statements about one group of people over another… Students HATE on Christian groups (No matter) denomination; saying we’re negatively influencing campus… See that’s funny… Trauth might be the worst case for a campus President in a very long time… Fenves at UT and Sharp as chancellor at A&M bring clout and respect from both alumni and students… NOT to mention both of those campuses possess newspapers that don’t print rediculousness as opinion columns…

    As an alumni, what troubles me is the lack of civility and ability to hear different views… liberals blame Trump and Conservatives blame Obama for the lack of civility and discourse… Let’s be clear, we can’t huddle in our corners and think things will change… we need open minds… Students, in life you won’t have safe spaces or mom or sad to back you up; you have to learn that everyone has a right to say things and that you can choose what to ignore… Until, Trauth is let go, tuition goes down and we start getting some clout, civility and open mindedness; I won’t give to the university!

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