Lately in different parts of the world, I’ve observed a wave of people denouncing the fact that their opinions are being “shut off” by the very ones who claim to be open-minded. In my school, something akin to a civil war started after a student association invited, for a conference, a politician known for racist and homophobic views. On one side some people argued that it was necessary to hear those people in order to create debate and prove them wrong; on the other some others claimed that doing so was giving them a platform and an audience, and therefore participating in spreading their ideas.
The first group of people kept affirming that “everyone is entitled to their own opinion” and that even if you do not agree with them, they are allowed to express themselves. I found it interesting that for so many people studying political science and all that it includes (history of genocides, systemic discriminations…), racism and homophobia were seen as opinions. Could it be that in a school with an overwhelming majority of white, heterosexual and atheist people, these topics rank merely as ideal subjects for debate? These fights -vitally important for some people-, are turned into distant study objects for those who are not actually impacted by the fallout. To these people, I offer you a tip: discrimination is not an opinion. Racism, homophobia, islamophobia, sexism, transphobia, are not opinions. They’re hate speech. And not yours to turn into your hobby.