Should people be able to say whatever they want?

Thinking-Question.jpg

This is a big question and there are lots of ways of looking at it.

As Session 1 showed us, there is a debate about how far someone's "freedom of speech" should stretch. Remember, freedom of speech means the right that people have to share their opinions without being stopped or punished by law.

Should people be able to say whatever they want?

You might want to think about these questions to help you:
- What makes something OK or not OK to say? Would everyone agree?
- When you should be allowed to say what you think and when shouldn't you?
- Can something be wrong to say but not against the law to say it?

This can be a tricky topic to discuss so you might want to read our advice for students on discussions like this. Try to keep your answers based on the question and it's best to not include any inappropriate language or specific examples of offensive things people could say. But don't worry, everything gets read by someone on our team before it is published!

Comments (77)

  • Cheam Park logo hardworking_nature | Cheam Park Farm Primary
    05 Jun 2021

    No people should not be able to say what they want because sometimes what they say can be distressing and hurtful. For example, if a person states that your religion is the worst that would be called a harmful comment. However, if these are not said and heard the world will be peaceful and however much you don't like or believe in something you must not give atrocious comments.

    Reply to this comment
    1. Bruntcliffe-logo-250x250.jpg imaginative_panther | Bruntcliffe Academy
      hardworking_nature's comment 10 Jun 2021

      I agree with you, everyone is entitled to their opinions however in situations like this it's better to not say so.

      Reply to this comment
    2. aware_orange | Harris Academy Wimbledon
      hardworking_nature's comment 10 Jun 2021

      Personally, I believe people shouldn't hide their true selves online because we need real role models in the media. Also if people were free to say what they want, we can take away the platform for people who are not influencing good views instead of them being fake on the internet

      Reply to this comment
      1. tom Tom @ Topical Talk
        aware_orange's comment 10 Jun 2021

        What's the risk of people being "fake" on the internet?

        Reply to this comment
  • Cheam Common logo wondrous_orca | Cheam Common Junior Academy
    06 Jun 2021

    I think people should be able to say whatever comes in their head with confidence. I think that something is not OK to say when it is offensive and inappropriate. Like it said in the advice for students, you should talk about people's ideas, not themselves - it doesn't sound offensive then. However, everybody has different opinions. I think people should always listen to others, then state their view - other's opinions can effect your view. I think some things can be wrong to say but everything isn't necessarily against the law to say; what you are saying could be a fact, not an opinion, but you could be saying it in a harmful way - it isn't against the law, it just sounds wrong and even mean. Everything that I am saying is my point of view and I don't think that questions like this have rights or wrongs but everyone has their different opinions and beliefs. In conclusion, people should be able to say whatever they want if they say it in the proper way.

    Reply to this comment
    1. tom Tom @ Topical Talk
      wondrous_orca's comment 07 Jun 2021

      That's interesting - so what does "in the proper way" mean? Backed up by facts?

      Reply to this comment
  • avatar.jpg EXPERT: Caitlin Prasad @ Clifford Chance
    07 Jun 2021

    Hi wondrous orca- thank you for your post. You state that something is not OK to say when it is offensive and inappropriate. How do we determine what is offensive/ inappropriate, i.e. who decides this? If the person speaking thinks that what they are saying is perfectly harmless, but someone else finds it offensive, should the first person have the freedom to say what they think with confidence?

    Reply to this comment
  • New-Horizons-logo-250x250.jpg fun_grapefruit | New Horizons Children's Academy
    07 Jun 2021

    i think people should be able to to say what they want as long as you don't say anything wrong but if its to say your own opinion .

    Reply to this comment
    1. The Sherwood School giving_watermelon | The Sherwood School
      fun_grapefruit's comment 17 Jun 2021

      yes i agree with you because people should be able to say what they want if they don't say somethink rude

      Reply to this comment
  • Cheam Park logo eager_reflection | Cheam Park Farm Primary
    07 Jun 2021

    eager_reflection here,
    I think that people should not be able to say whatever they want. This is because certain posts can contain things that are hurtful to others, which can lead to a lot of conflict. Even though people think they are helping, they could actually make it worse, as they do not realise that their post could have harmful things that could be inappropriate. I think that people should put some thought into what they say or write before they do it, and realise that they could have made someone very upset or insecure. Sometimes, the internet makes things worse, because people think that even if they have posted something which could hurt people, they think that they cannot be found as they are behind a screen. Before anyone posts something, they should take into mind if anything they have written will harm someone. If you know something is not right, then you should not post it, even if it is not against the law. In conclusion, people should be allowed to say what they want, as it could be very helpful and could be able to stop someone from doing something they shouldn't, but with some thought. Read back to yourself what you have written and ask yourself how people would feel if they read it.
    Thanks for reading.

    Reply to this comment
    1. JH_pic.jpg EXPERT: Jonathan Hooker @ KPMG
      eager_reflection's comment 24 Jun 2021

      Hi eager_reflection, some really interesting points in here - I particularly like the idea of there being a difference between what is said, and what is written (on an internet post), and on the idea of putting yourself in someone else's position before saying something.

      To your point on not posting, even when it is not against the law, where do you think the line is between the law and our own judgement in terms of what we say?

      Reply to this comment
  • Ormiston Sudbury Academy methodical_lime | Ormiston Sudbury Academy
    08 Jun 2021

    This could highly show parallels to Freedom of Speech, which accounts for "The freedom of an individual to express themselves without penalty". This does, however, have it's own limits to protect others against unprovoked hate speech. Speaking views to purposefully harm others is against the law if used in the ways of racism, homophobia, transphobia, etc. People should be free to say whatever they want, but we cannot have that reality knowing there are people who may abuse this system. Though people having ramifications for past actions (as is cancel culture on certain social media platforms) may be more harmful. Keeping an eye on these comments would be much wiser than simply disregarding any self-improvement they might have made.
    Cancel culture is toxic, though maybe it can be improved by not immediately disliking someone based on a single comment. Mistakes may happen.

    Reply to this comment
    1. tom Tom @ Topical Talk
      methodical_lime's comment 08 Jun 2021

      Thank you for this comment, methodical_lime. You say keeping an eye on comments would be wise - can you add more on this? Where is the line between saying something which requires action to be taken against that person and saying something which doesn't require such action?

      Reply to this comment
      1. Ormiston Sudbury Academy methodical_lime | Ormiston Sudbury Academy
        Tom @ Topical Talk's comment 15 Jun 2021

        Blatant offence to others should obviously be watched, I see the line between both points as the crossing of danger to others. The belief that preventing an act can be more effective than catching someone "red handed" dates back many years, yet a comment insulting another without the concept of retaliation seems to fit this ideology well.
        I believe comments that may lead us to believe a danger is present in someone else's mental or physical wellbeing mustn't be allowed, of course with outstanding circumstances.

        Reply to this comment
    2. Bruntcliffe-logo-250x250.jpg imaginative_panther | Bruntcliffe Academy
      methodical_lime's comment 10 Jun 2021

      I agree with you. You make very valid points on this subject.

      Reply to this comment
  • Michael-Faraday-logo-250x250.jpg decisive_redcurrant | Michael Faraday School
    08 Jun 2021

    Hey there it’s decisve_redcurrant here today I’ll be saying my opinion on if people should be allowed to say whatever they want
    I think that people should and shouldn’t be allowed to say anything they want I was subject this cancel culture and this means cancelling to someone for their opinion which means they might of said something bad or something good or something that you don’t agree with Cancelling culture is very common as it says it is a 40% chance most people decide to cancel something or someone.
    The reason I think people should be allowed to say is everyone can have their own opinionSomeone can’t just come up to you and say oh believe in this I don’t believe in what you said that was happened to you I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t let that happen and he would still say what you believe in that’s why I think people should have the right to say whatever They want the reason I think people shouldn’t be allowed to say whatever they want is because what they might be saying could be negative or could affect someone People shouldn’t be called racial slurs and people in general shouldn’t feel hurt by what someone has said This is very common and in my opinion I think this links back to our past issue protest in some cases people decide to protest on what someone has said for example imagine if your president says or ethnic group should be kicked out of this country people might not like that and people might protest like that to stop that happening and that’s what we called cancelling culture.
    I would say if you would like to see an opinion make sure it’s not hurting full To anyone and it is not an offensive comment a famous quote that we say here in the UK if you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say it and I think they should apply to someone who is or has said
    an offensive comment Said an offensive comment that has hurt someone

    Reply to this comment
    1. katie.jpg Katie @ Topical Talk
      decisive_redcurrant's comment 09 Jun 2021

      Hi decisive_redcurrant! Thanks for contributing so much to the discussion already - I just want to clarify the definition of cancel culture as I think there's a little bit of confusion.

      It does not mean cancelling someone's culture or cancelling a culture. Instead it means that people have created a culture (like a way of life) that involves cancelling people. So when we say cancel culture, we are talking about the fact that cancelling people feels like a normal way to do things for some people - that's part of modern culture. I hope that helps!

      Reply to this comment
  • Bruntcliffe-logo-250x250.jpg rational_conclusion | Bruntcliffe Academy
    10 Jun 2021

    I don't that people should be able to say whatever they want, because it may offend or disrespect cultures or shame other races. I agree with freedom of speech but the rule can only go so far. In my opinion, you can share you're opinion on politics but when people start disrespecting races or religions that's going to far.

    Reply to this comment
  • Bruntcliffe-logo-250x250.jpg imaginative_panther | Bruntcliffe Academy
    10 Jun 2021

    My opinion on people saying what they want is that not all people should. Even though it is a human right to have freedom of speech spreading toxic and hateful behaviour is not right. Discussing topics respectfully is a good way to become a nicer person. Some topics are touchy for people and some opinions can be hurtful and wrong. For example, if you were racist and displayed that behaviour towards the group you are discriminating against would not be a morally good thing to do. On the subject of cancel culture is complicated, in my observation a lot of it happens online. In some cases it can be good as it cancels out toxic behaviour and prevents damage to those around them. On the other hand people can get cancelled over opinions that don't really have a bad impact on people who disagree with them.

    Reply to this comment
    1. tom Tom @ Topical Talk
      imaginative_panther's comment 10 Jun 2021

      You've given two sides in your comment here, well done! Do you think anyone who gets "cancelled" should always be given a chance to carry on voicing their views on the media?

      Reply to this comment
      1. Bruntcliffe-logo-250x250.jpg imaginative_panther | Bruntcliffe Academy
        Tom @ Topical Talk's comment 24 Jun 2021

        It really depends, some opinions as I've stated are not best to express on the internet. If they do not express and share them in a respectful manner and promote toxicity towards the opinion directed to. They shouldn't have a platform. However, they can express their opinions in real life with people who may have similar beliefs.

        Reply to this comment
  • Bruntcliffe-logo-250x250.jpg fantastic_starfish | Bruntcliffe Academy
    10 Jun 2021

    In my opinion people should have freedom of speech . This can help resolve big issues or can express how they feel. However there should be limits , if someone uses freedom of speech as a reason to spread hateful comments and remarks that is not ok. Some examples are homophobia , racism , transphobia and misogyny. People should think about what they are saying and how it may be interpreted.

    Reply to this comment
  • Bruntcliffe-logo-250x250.jpg excited_apricot | Bruntcliffe Academy
    10 Jun 2021

    i do not think that people should be able to say whatever they want because then you may offend people with what you are saying.

    Reply to this comment
    1. Bruntcliffe-logo-250x250.jpg imaginative_panther | Bruntcliffe Academy
      excited_apricot's comment 10 Jun 2021

      I agree with you up to an extent, your opinions are always going to offend someone somewhere though.

      Reply to this comment
  • Bruntcliffe-logo-250x250.jpg easygoing_dog | Bruntcliffe Academy
    10 Jun 2021

    I think that people have an entitlement to their own opinion.But sometimes it can be offensive or just out of context.

    Reply to this comment
  • Upton-Cross-logo-250x250.jpg discreet_drum | Upton Cross Primary School
    10 Jun 2021

    Everyone deserves the right to speak their mind, reject, protest and refuse. Freedom of speech is a fundamental part of art criticism, cultural criticism, and protects the right to protest and fight against what we don’t want, and to argue for what we do. We need to have opposing views co-existing with one another to free our minds and challenge us. We shouldn’t allow ourselves to let ‘political correctness’ make us afraid of sharing views that can contribute to critiquing our culture. People use opinions to guide their life actions. Freedom of speech is the gateway to being able to question consensus, and to challenge what is being presented as truth. I think it’s everyone’s right to share their own investigations and critiques, to challenge the cultural consensus. I will never be for protecting people from hate speech and having people rely on trigger warnings or safe spaces. If you can’t handle the reality of violent words, how can you handle the reality of life’s violent interruptions?

    On the other hand, if everyone says what they want, It could get out of hand. What I mean by that, is that it could be racist and disrespectful to others, whether it’s about culture or just a normal conversation. It could also be hurtful - and some people could take it personally or misunderstand what they’re saying which could lead to arguments. If what you’re saying is wrong, people might believe it and it could cause a panic full of infodemics, as we’ve learnt in one of our past issues: Infodemics ‘During the Pandemic’.

    In conclusion, everyone deserves the right to speak their mind, reject, protest and refuse, but has to keep in mind that you also have to be careful what you say and you have to be respectful to everyone, as everyone matters.

    Reply to this comment
    1. katie.jpg Katie @ Topical Talk
      discreet_drum's comment 11 Jun 2021

      Very balanced and well-explained, discreet_drum. Thank you for your contribution to the conversation. I have awarded you with a star for how clearly you have spoken your opinions whilst also exploring the other side of the argument.

      Reply to this comment
  • Manor Park logo playful_region | Manor Park Primary Academy
    11 Jun 2021

    I think that people should be able to say what they want, BUT, to an extent.
    As an example: if you like someone's shoes you can say " I really like your shoes!"
    but you shouldn't say:"I hate your shoes, go get some new ones!!" because it really rude and could potentially make them really upset.
    so you should say instead:"I like your shoes, but you could _________________________________________ and they would look so much better!"
    therefore putting it more gently and giving tips on how to make them better

    Reply to this comment
  • The-Ruth-Gorse-logo-250x250.jpg knowledgeable_cookie | The Ruth Gorse Academy
    15 Jun 2021

    I think people shouldn’t be able to say whatever they want as it may not be true. I think people should think before they talk. Something is Ok to say if it is related to the topic, it doesn’t make someone feel insecure about themselves and it is legal. It isn’t Ok to say something when you aren’t asked as this is come across as imposing and when it is illegal. Although we have freedom of speech, it doesn’t mean we can say whatever we like, it means we are not silenced but we should say things that are Ok to say.

    Reply to this comment
  • The-Ruth-Gorse-logo-250x250.jpg openminded_argument | The Ruth Gorse Academy
    15 Jun 2021

    I personally agree with this message because everyone should have the right to say whatever they want without being ashamed of it but they have to say it in the right moment e.g. if someone was really upset about losing a game saying that was really easy for me even though it’s not illegal but it’s still wrong. The thing really depends on the situation and the context and the person feelings. Another example is politics where not everyone can agree on the same opinions. Others will always disagree with some political opinions, but this can cause great debate for others to engage in.

    Reply to this comment
  • The-Ruth-Gorse-logo-250x250.jpg amusing_fox | The Ruth Gorse Academy
    15 Jun 2021

    In my opinion, I think people should have the right to say what they think and what is on their mind if only it is within reason. As human we all have different ways of thinking and we all have different morals. When you comment upon something that could not only affect you but the people around you, you would have to take into consideration that not everyone will agree or accept your decision. As the ancient Greek once said Intellectual smart people speak because they have something important to say that could benefit society, whereas fools and ignorant people speak because they feel the need to and have nothing beneficial that could help the society. So when making a decision, you must think and take in enough information before making your comment or argument.

    Reply to this comment
  • Ormiston Sudbury Academy hopeful_shark | Ormiston Sudbury Academy
    15 Jun 2021

    I think the 'If you can't say something nice don't say it at all' saying applies here. People should be allowed to say whatever they like, without fear of judgement, but then there would be those who spoke their views so often, nobody else would have the ability to express theirs. Also, why did humans come up with the derogatory terms and slurs if it would be so socially unacceptable to say them? Surely it would have been better to not have created them at all?

    Reply to this comment
  • Michael-Faraday-logo-250x250.jpg articulate_concept | Michael Faraday School
    16 Jun 2021

    In my opinion yes and no, i think this because people can share their views on what a person is saying and expand more of what that other person was saying. But not all people will do that, some people will disagree but not in the way that you would think. What I mean is when a person doesn't like the idea and tells the person to change because they don't like the idea eg, ''I totally hate your idea change it now!'' Another way they might do this is by eye contact. I can't make up my mind though because it is good to have free speech and say your ideas and say which idea you disagree with but at the same time it is bad to tell a person to say whatever they want because is might end with with a bad result.

    Reply to this comment
  • The Sherwood School giving_watermelon | The Sherwood School
    17 Jun 2021

    yes i agree with you because people should be able to say what they want if they don't say somethink rude

    Reply to this comment
  • The Sherwood School skillful_trombone | The Sherwood School
    17 Jun 2021

    I would say yes and no.Yes,because it is their freedom of speech and they have the right to say whatever they want.Also, I say no because it could be offensive and someone get hurt verbally .

    Reply to this comment
    1. The Sherwood School terrific_hurricane | The Sherwood School
      skillful_trombone's comment 17 Jun 2021

      I agree with skillful trombone because people have a right to say anything but they can't use anything harmful. For example they are allowed to speak about stuff appropriate but they are not allowed to speak about stuff inapropriate.

      Reply to this comment
  • The Sherwood School terrific_hurricane | The Sherwood School
    17 Jun 2021

    I think people, are not allowed to say anything they want because it could cause distress or harm. For example if a person says something about a religion it could make them feel uncomfortable,however if they don't say something bad it would be peaceful

    Reply to this comment
    1. The Sherwood School skillful_trombone | The Sherwood School
      terrific_hurricane's comment 17 Jun 2021

      I agree with you as this sort of thing does happen a lot and people if someone says something rude then that person will feel bad

      Reply to this comment
  • The Sherwood School happy_land | The Sherwood School
    17 Jun 2021

    no because racism can be involved and people will get offended and get into a fight .

    Reply to this comment
  • The Sherwood School happy_land | The Sherwood School
    17 Jun 2021

    yes because it could be important

    Reply to this comment
  • The Sherwood School skillful_trombone | The Sherwood School
    17 Jun 2021

    In our times many people are not treated well and they do not get to express their freedom of speech and that persons right to speak freely without anyone stopping them is gone.

    Reply to this comment
  • The Sherwood School giving_watermelon | The Sherwood School
    17 Jun 2021

    I think people should say whatever if they make a good point or a good speak.But if people say some think rude of a other person apnion i will say they are to alldowed to say whatever they want.

    Reply to this comment
  • The Sherwood School happy_land | The Sherwood School
    17 Jun 2021

    no as it could not be important and people will get angry or sad and upset there feeling also a friend ship could break up as a result i think people should say what they want but on the other hand if they need to say a point it will be good also help others

    Reply to this comment
  • Manor Park logo cultured_seagull | Manor Park Primary Academy
    17 Jun 2021

    I will agree with you. I will write my opinions and basically everything that i feel like saying. I agree that we should not say whatever we want to say because that can be very rude to some other people and that might affect them for the rest of their lives. It can include lots of racism and bullying in any way. In school, it can be extremely rude and an cause lots of teachers that can be very strict about the fact that people are being rude to each other. If the person does nothing wrong and get accused, people can cancel them and be very rude. There will be no justice within that and people will be very upset and depressed. This is very important post to the people in the hub.

    Reply to this comment
  • Upton-Cross-logo-250x250.jpg spectacular_language | Upton Cross Primary School
    20 Jun 2021

    I think people shouldn't say things that can make people feel bad about yourself because it can affect your mental health. For example if someone makes fun of you because they have something that you don't,It can make you feel really bad about yourself. Also, if you might be going somewhere and someone says bad things about that place it can make you feel offended and think 'Why am I going there?' It's not illegal to say that but it can hurt someones feelings. I think that if you don't have anything nice to say then you shouldn't say anything at all. This also applies if you get a gift from someone and you don't like it, you should think before what you are saying.

    ~ spectacular_language

    Reply to this comment
  • Arnhem-Wharf-logo-250x250.jpg valuable_thought | Arnhem Wharf Primary School
    23 Jun 2021

    I think it is sometimes OK to say whatever you want because sometimes it is not OK to say offensive/racist things but it is OK to say something nice to someone. This means like a compliment. I am basically saying that you can not say something that will damage someone else's feelings and it will not be about the skin colour, religion, appearance or anything based on it. But if you couldn't say whatever you want, this means that you can't give someone a compliment or say something that will encourage them to keep on doing.

    Reply to this comment
    1. tom Tom @ Topical Talk
      valuable_thought's comment 24 Jun 2021

      Good reasons, valuable_thought!

      Reply to this comment
  • The-Ruth-Gorse-logo-250x250.jpg stupendous_alligator | The Ruth Gorse Academy
    24 Jun 2021

    In my humble opinion, I think that it is OK to say whatever you would like in certain situations but it should never contain offensive/racist language that could be extremely detrimental towards a group of people. However, I do believe that you should be able to give positive compliments and feedback to inform people of their successes and constructive criticism. To me, it is pivotal to not be derogatory towards someone's feelings because of their religion, race, culture and skin colour or anything established upon those terms. W

    Reply to this comment
  • The-Ruth-Gorse-logo-250x250.jpg loved_river | The Ruth Gorse Academy
    24 Jun 2021

    In my honest opinion, I would argue that it is sometimes ok to say what you want however, it is crucial to remember that opinions are all different. I am religious and understand that others don't follow the exact path of mine. However, whatever you say must not be racist/offensive towards others. In my mum's wise words, if you have nothing nice to say, you should say nothing at all. It is imperative to show respect to anyone no matter what race they are from or who they are. But, there are times where you can say things. These things could be simply apologies and compliments, praise and importantly manners. If you feel like someone has said something wrong then in a mature way, show your point of view. You may be educated by what they have to say and if needed you can educate them. You want to respond in a way that shows you appreciate their argument.

    Reply to this comment
    1. tom Tom @ Topical Talk
      loved_river's comment 24 Jun 2021

      Well done, a very developed answer!

      Reply to this comment
  • The-Ruth-Gorse-logo-250x250.jpg resilient_mandarin | The Ruth Gorse Academy
    24 Jun 2021

    Honestly, I think that it would be OK to say what you want. But you just have to think to yourself before you say something. Imagine you were with your friends and they made an opinion about something that you completely disagree with. The first thing you would automatically do is retaliate against what they said, but you should always think before you act.

    Think about what you are going to say and how you are going to deliver the message, will it affect your reputation?
    Think about how your friends might contradict with what you said, will it cause any disruption?
    Think about how your statement might affect others, is it racist, homophobic, sexist etc?

    Just think. Do you want to explain your answer without any misdemeanour against your fellow peers?

    By thinking before you act, it might change other people's opinions for the better.

    Reply to this comment
    1. tom Tom @ Topical Talk
      resilient_mandarin's comment 24 Jun 2021

      Interesting questions!

      Reply to this comment
  • The-Ruth-Gorse-logo-250x250.jpg tidy_location | The Ruth Gorse Academy
    24 Jun 2021

    In my opinion I think that it is OK to say what you want but only in certain circumstances. Examples of when you shouldn't say what you want is when you are going to say homophobic and racist remarks or anything against religions. These remarks can be harmful to other people's feelings and can make them feel distressed. If you make upsetting remarks towards somebody of the LGBTQIA+ community then you are just pulling communities apart from each other. Nethertheless, I think that it is important to voice your opinion when it will not harm others.

    Reply to this comment
    1. tom Tom @ Topical Talk
      tidy_location's comment 24 Jun 2021

      Good reasons here, tidy_location!

      Reply to this comment
  • The-Ruth-Gorse-logo-250x250.jpg splendid_fox | The Ruth Gorse Academy
    24 Jun 2021

    In my opinion, I think that it is ok to say say whatever you want. But it shouldn't be racist/homophobic/sexist etc, and it shouldn't hurt the person's feelings. I think this because saying things could hurt others' feelings but at the same time it could get you in trouble. Think before you say and try to change the question or statement to make your point reasonable and try listen and educate yourself on why they agree or disagree with a certain topic.

    Reply to this comment
    1. JH_pic.jpg EXPERT: Jonathan Hooker @ KPMG
      splendid_fox's comment 29 Jun 2021

      Hi splendid_fox, thanks for your post - I really like the idea of pausing to think before saying something. But does everyone experience the same 'hurt feelings'? What might happen if we have to assume that everything is offensive to someone, somewhere?

      Reply to this comment
  • Upton-Cross-logo-250x250.jpg discreet_drum | Upton Cross Primary School
    25 Jun 2021

    Everyone deserves the right to speak their mind, reject, protest and refuse. Freedom of speech is a fundamental part of art criticism, cultural criticism, and protects the right to protest and fight against what we don’t want, and to argue for what we do. We need to have opposing views co-existing with one another to free our minds and challenge us. We shouldn’t allow ourselves to let ‘political correctness’ make us afraid of sharing views that can contribute to critiquing our culture. People use opinions to guide their life actions. Freedom of speech is the gateway to being able to question consensus, and to challenge what is being presented as truth. I think it’s everyone’s right to share their own investigations and critiques, to challenge the cultural consensus. I will never be for protecting people from hate speech and having people rely on trigger warnings or safe spaces. If you can’t handle the reality of violent words, how can you handle the reality of life’s violent interruptions?

    On the other hand, if everyone says what they want, It could get out of hand. What I mean by that, is that it could be racist and disrespectful to others, whether it’s about culture or just a normal conversation. It could also be hurtful - and some people could take it personally or misunderstand what they’re saying which could lead to arguments. If what you’re saying is wrong, people might believe it and it could cause a panic full of infodemics, as we’ve learnt in one of our past issues: Infodemics ‘During the Pandemic’.

    In conclusion, everyone deserves the right to speak their mind, reject, protest and refuse, but has to keep in mind that you also have to be careful what you say and you have to be respectful to everyone, as everyone matters.

    Reply to this comment
    1. tom Tom @ Topical Talk
      discreet_drum's comment 28 Jun 2021

      A balanced presentation of the arguments, discreet_drum!

      Reply to this comment
  • Manor Park logo balanced_cloudberry | Manor Park Primary Academy
    27 Jun 2021

    In my opinion, I think that saying whatever you want is not okay. It is okay if someone has said something by accident and has apologised, but it is not okay if a person has said something on purpose and has made someone feel upset. It does depend on what you say in particular and how you say it. Do not say something about their religion, race or personality. It is different if you have said something as a joke, but make sure it is in an appropriate tone. Also make sure that you do not type it in, because people might take it as a different way of tone.
    Say something at the right time, because it might not always be appropriate for the conversation.
    Something can be wrong to say, but not against the law, because it is someone's own opinion, so it doesn't always have to be against the law.

    Reply to this comment
  • JH_pic.jpg EXPERT: Jonathan Hooker @ KPMG
    29 Jun 2021

    Hi balanced_cloudberry, thanks for your post; you have set out some clear opinions here. On your last point, if something is not against the law, is it really wrong? Who decides?

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  • Hammond School logo thankful_tornado | Hammond Junior School C
    29 Jun 2021

    I don't think people should be able to say whatever they want, there are some boundaries of things that you can't and shouldn't say. Technically, your freedom of rights state that you can say what you would like but sometimes you might go to far.

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  • Hammond School logo insightful_clementine | Hammond Junior School C
    29 Jun 2021

    In my opinion people should be able to say positive things and not be rude aspecialy online. I also think people should not be able to say what they want and maybe only think it because when you say something outloud you can not take it back, sometimes apologising is not enough.

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  • Hammond School logo reflective_artic_fox | Hammond Junior School C
    29 Jun 2021

    reflecive_artic_fox here, I think that people should and shouldn't be allowed to say whatever they want, for specific reasons:
    If someone says something inappropriate, or extremely hurtful they have really should consider their thoughts and not really be allowed to say it. In addition, saying that may cause a negative reaction which should otherwise be avoided. Despite this, you should also be able to have your opinions heard, and others take it to account.

    In answer to the questions:
    1. I think that, similar to earlier, if someone was to say something very unpleasant to someone else then it wouldn't be fair for them to get freedom of speech if they were removing someone else's. Otherwise, except in some tricky circumstances, I think anyone who needed to have their voice heard deserves to have it.
    2.

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  • Hammond School logo reflective_artic_fox | Hammond Junior School C
    29 Jun 2021

    Sorry about the previous comment! I didn't manage to finish it- Instead of selecting the text, I clicked 'add comment',
    Continuing, 3. (I didn't do 2 as I felt that I would just be repeating myself). I think that it could happen, for example if someone said a remark that was very unfair but themselves was in a high position, he might have enough power to except circumstances with it. Another way would be if they did something wrong that illegal in other countries, but not in that country, then they would asleep maybe be able to say it. Even though it is possible I still think that it should not happen, as it can be very offensive to others,
    reflective_artic_fox

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  • Cheam Common logo powerful_peach | Cheam Common Junior Academy
    01 Jul 2021

    As long as your comment fits into the context and is appropiate and nice, then yes.

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  • Manor Park logo balanced_cloudberry | Manor Park Primary Academy
    01 Jul 2021

    I think it is not wrong, because, as I said, it is their opinion. The person who said it decides, because they can think about if it is wrong or not.

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  • Lyons Hall Primary School committed_maths | Lyons Hall Primary School A
    03 Jul 2021

    Yes and no. No because when you say something you could hurt someone's feelings or offend them. You could think that you aren't offending them but you could be a little bit even though you don't think you are offending them. Before you say something you could think it through before you say it and see if it could offend someone.
    Yes because if it is related to a topic you are talking about and you know it is less likely to offend someone then you can say it.
    I think I am mainly on the no side of this question because there are a lot of things that you can say that can offend someone in the slightest way.

    Committed_maths

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  • Upton-Cross-logo-250x250.jpg shining_journalist | Upton Cross Primary School
    06 Jul 2021

    although we humans have the right to speak for ourselves, we shouldn't have to be getting ashamed but occasionally there would be a time that we can not talk about what we want to do/say what I mean by this is that WE do not have the right to mock other peoples culture because not only it's because its extremely rude it is absolutely discriminating the culture and the people who are in that culture as this also means that if you exclude person 1 because you hate their culture and talk bad about it as this isn't fun/cool but for person 2 you don't exclude them because that they are in the same culture with which feels good for you, that does not mean that you could discriminate someone for their culture or exclude them from activities.
    Another point is that for people who think it's ok for them to go online or in-person asking or telling the victim that their culture is not good or that it is horrible is not okay, however, how would the situation go like if we got to speak and say whatever we like? The main thing that could be happening is people using social media to bully/criticise people's culture.
    To sum up my points I believe that people should not always speak for themselves all the time.

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  • New-Horizons-logo-250x250.jpg buzzing_grapefruit | New Horizons Children's Academy
    07 Jul 2021

    I think it’s ok to say whatever you want as it is very important to have a say and express yourself as well as stating your opinion- but you should still be mindful of other people’s views and religions- to be respectful to others. Another reason to ask why it’s ok to say anything you want because you can defend your opinion if religion- still remembering the rule of being respectful.

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  • Boutcher-logo-250x250.jpg dedicated_starfruit | Boutcher C of E Primary School A
    08 Jul 2021

    People can't say what ever they want because they may say something that could be racist or sexist. People could be offended or abused for who they are and what they. You must always think about you want to say and it can't be rude or mean. You must always respect the person. This is my advice.

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  • The-Ruth-Gorse-logo-250x250.jpg helpful_wallaby | The Ruth Gorse Academy
    12 Jul 2021

    To say that people cannot say whatever they want may seem like the right thing, but we need to ask whether this protects anyone and solves any issues, does it? I think the answer is no. If we told people that they cannot say whatever we want, not only do we infringe their rights on free speech but also shatter any opportunity for learning and reformation.

    In saying that you cannot share your opinion because it may be offensive does not manage the root of the issue. If we do not talk about these things, we cannot tackle the issue at hand. For example, someone says a racist remark, we say this is not okay and they can never say that again, should this be the end of that conversation, no. We need to have the chance to discuss why someone would hold these views and change the way somebody thinks, to make sure they never say anything like that again.

    If we outright say, you cannot say racist, homophobic, anti-semitic, and whatever other way somebody could be offensive, it does not mean they do not hold these views. That is why education on these matters is more important and ensuring that people know why what they do or say is wrong.

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    1. tom Tom @ Topical Talk
      helpful_wallaby's comment 12 Jul 2021

      A very balanced verdict on the debate, helpful_wallaby. You might be interested to read our expert Lily Silverton's answers as I feel you may have some common ground.

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