Talking about . . . free speech, hate speech and campus life
When are limitations on free speech justified in America? With the advance of technology, it is easy to connect with our friends, blast our thoughts and feelings to our followers and practice free speech. In this era of being connected all the time, we long to feel safe, while at the same time we are exposed via social media. How can we best protect free speech . . . and our kids? How do we distinguish between disagreement, bullying and hate speech? Are there areas of common ground to be found? This conversation may provide a sense of balance for both older and younger adults.
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Background reading (optional)
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Now that you are all together, here we go!
This Living Room Conversation flows through five rounds of questions and a closing. Some rounds ask you to answer each question. Others feature multiple questions that serve as conversation starters — you need only respond to the one or two you find most interesting.
Before you begin your conversation, please go over the Conversation Ground Rules with your participants.
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One. Why are we here?
What interested you or drew you to this topic?
Two. Your core values
- what sense of purpose or duty guides you in life? What is your mission statement?
- what would your best friend say about who you are and what makes you tick?
- what are your hopes and concerns for your community and/or the country, now and long-term?
Three. Your thoughts and concerns.
Remember that the goal of this Living Room Conversation is for each participant to listen to and learn about the different opinions within the group to see where you might share interests, intentions and goals.
- what norms do you follow when expressing your opinion? I.e. do you hold back, attempt to persuade others, “let it fly” or ??
- what do you consider hate speech?
- what rules or norms should there be at colleges and universities?
- where is the balance between protection of free speech and codes of conduct?
- in one sentence, share what was most meaningful or valuable to you in the experience of this Living Room Conversation;
- what new understanding or common ground did you find within this topic?
- has this conversation changed your perception of anyone in this group, including yourself?
Five. Accomplishment and moving forward
- name one important thing that was accomplished here;
- is there a next step you would like to take based upon the conversation you just had?
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