By Austen Holloway
How far is too far? In American society, when told to speak freely, people take advantage of the presented permission to the fullest. But when does saying something become too much? Why do choice words become questioned by everyone if everyone in America has the freedom to say whatever they please? What would a person have to say to receive chastisement on a national level?
A convincing answer to any of those questions would be Soulja Boy and the lyrics expressed in his song “Let’s Get Real” where he thoughtlessly takes a stab at the United States military and FBI. Who’s to say he’s wrong? He’s not violating any national laws, but his blunt and aggressive choice of words in his lyrics is meant to prove a point.
The first amendment grants us the opportunity to say what we wish as we wish it, but this doesn’t necessarily mean we should just say anything that comes to mind. A lot of the time, people don’t realize what power a word has.
Don Imus is another person who misused his power and lost all credibility because of racial comments made towards the Rutgers women’s basketball team. Talking about race is considerably bad and has now forever labeled him a racist man. No matter how much he apologizes, his image will not change. Soulja Boy now runs the risk of losing his credibility too, but on a much larger scale. A whole nation may see him as ‘unAmerican’ and selfish.
Take a short look at history and you will see how just a few words have the power to make big changes. Words have caused war and revolution throughout human existence. So it is apparent words should be used with care. De Andre Cortez Way, otherwise known as Soulja Boy, admitted he blundered with little thought and apologized for the shot he took towards the government.
Vietnam era music is another great example of individuals questioning something that most consider to be the right way. It is downright patriotic to support our country whenever it decides to go war. So it is expected for people to take displeasure with those who disagree.
Something else to consider is that the dynamics of today’s society have become more and more tolerant and what was once considered indecent is all over television. Sex, drugs, and violence are now imbedded in American culture. Look at how movies are rated today. Movies that are pg-13 now would be rated R or worse a few decades back.
Soulja Boy may have messed up, but he apologized for taking shots at the government. He realizes that as a popular hip hop artist, what he says will effect his fans and how they see him. It will also effect his career will end and what people will remember him for.
The bigger picture, looking at the freedom of speech, shows that you can say whatever you please, but what you say will have consequences and affect how you, as a person, are judged. Too many people today abuse their freedoms by acting out of ignorance.
Consideration should be taken by all before they speak. Someone may not mean wrong, but a few words can land you a foul labeling. Words have more power than they are given credit for, and in today’s society can end up causing conflict.
Austen Holloway is a sophomore majoring in communications you may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.