#campus2018: Free speech and political debate at University of Southern California

#campus2018: Free speech and political debate at University of Southern California

October 12, 2019 4 By Stanley Isaacs


-I’m never really
walking around campus and see people talking
about politics. -When I do engage with people,
they’ll talk and we’ll have
good conversations, but it just feels like something
that is not very prevalent. -Five, six, seven, eight. -I think their want to not
be offensive or not be seen
in a certain light outweighs their want to share
their political beliefs. -USC! -Sometimes it’s very difficult
and intimidating to speak up in a lecture
where there are over 100 kids and you disagree with
the mainstream viewpoint. -People there are like passionate believers
in politics. -What I’ve found is a lot
more effective and a lot more fruitful is having like
one-on-one conversations. -You’re clearly okay
with it, so. -We had a conversation in one
of my journalism classis about whether Ben Shapiro
should be able to come to campus and the unanimous concensus
in the class seemed to be that
he shouldn’t come because he was a hateful racist and xenophobic
and all these things. So I went up to my professor
afterwards and I said, “Well, if we’re not gonna let
Ben Shapiro come to campus, who seems to be a fairly
mainstream conservative, then who, exactly,
can come to campus and give a conversation
from the other side”? -Today, there’s supposed
to be a speaker inside of this auditorium that, no matter how many people
stand in that standby line, there’s a more powerful force. -I do believe that he’s a very,
one of the most prominent intellectual conservatives
out there, at the moment. Though, a lot of the ideas
that he expresses, I think, need to be challenged
and it needs to be seen, like why he says those things and why he believes
those things, so that’s the value
in seeing him multiple times. -That many of his points align
with the right wing, the far-radical right,
that is growing in this country. -So I think where it becomes
very valuable to have protests is having a conversation with
the people who are protesting. I don’t really think it gets
too much done when people from either side are just yelling mantras
over and over. -[chanting] Racist, fascist,
anti-gay! -Ben Shapiro, go away!
-Ben Shapiro, go away! -The general perception
of rallies is that they’re just
to make noise and that they’re just
people talking and nothing’s
gonna happen afterwards. I feel like, if one person
learns at least one thing, or one person is at least
motivated to act in one important way, then the mission of the rally
was successful. -At the Shapiro protest.
You definitely spoke. -I feel like,
on a college campus, mobilizing is a lot easier
than organizing because one incident
of the wrong person using a slur can mobilize, but organizing requires
that people become dedicated and really start to feel
like this fight is their fight. -Is everyone up on that,
with the voter identification? -One of the main things
I was really motivated towards when organizing the rally
and the protest was I know my people. I know my allies. I know who’s gonna be there
and supporting us, but what we’re trying to do
is reach out to those people who might feel indifferent
towards a person like Ben Shapiro
coming to campus. I am from South Dakota
and I’m Native American. I’m Oglala Lakota from
the Pine Ridge Reservation. -I was also part
of Solidarity Rally, but I don’t think
we crossed paths. -The Solidarity Rally
and the protest was in combatance
with the apathy on campus ’cause this is a very
dangerous time to be apathetic. -There are so many people
that are willing to go out to a protest,
but so fewer people that are willing to call up
their like representative. That’s a gap
that we need to address. -There was definitely a lot
more energy in 2016 and, this time around, I just
don’t think it’s like nearly, the energy’s
not nearly as close. -The reason why so many young
people don’t vote in the midterm elections
is we see like presidential elections
as really, if you can say, sexy. -It’s like I think
it’s important to vote. I just think an educated vote is more important
than a non-educated vote. -Since I’m not from California,
I was like, “Okay, well, I don’t know
how to do an absentee ballot and I don’t know
how to do that”. So that kind of discouraged me
a little bit, but now it seems I definitely
should be more active on that. -My slogan is like,
“Like sexuality, politics should be fluid”. I think it’s important to hear
both sides and to understand where
someone else is coming from. -I think what I’ve learned
the most in the past two years is how much I have to have
conversations with people that don’t necessarily align
with all of my beliefs. Having that open communication
for me has been a lot more like growth
and I am a young person. I am trying to be educated and I think that desire
is crucial, to vote. -So, to anyone
who doesn’t think, who doesn’t deem us legitimate,
watch out.