After reading “Safe Spaces, Brave Spaces” by John Palfrey (pp. 731-738), present your own argument to yourclassmates in response to the author’s claim that “free expression and diversity are essential components ofdemocracy.” In your response, be sure to pinpoint specific ways Palfrey defines, describes, or characterizesfree speech and diversity, and address those specifically. Your goal is to use all the strategies we’ve discussed in class leading up to this point to make a compelling argument using Pathos, Ethos, and Logos.
John Palfrey (1972– ) is an educator, currently serving as Head of School at Andover Academy, and legal scholar, having served as executive director of Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society from 2002 to 2008. An authority on law and new media, he is a strong advocate for Internet freedom. This selection comes from the introduction to Palfrey’s 2017 book, Safe Spaces, Brave Spaces: Diversity and Free Expression in Education. Here, Palfrey is arguing that “free expression and diversity are essential components of democracy in the twenty-first century” and that that two are ultimately compatible despite frequently being set in opposition to one another. As you read this academic argument, pay careful attention to how Palfrey structures it, particularly the ways he anticipates alternative positions and seeks to respond to them respectfully.Safe Spaces, Brave SpacesJOHN PALFREYFree expression and diversity are essential components of democracy in the twenty-first century. In the United States, our shared commitment to both principles, especially as they developed in the late twentieth century,ensures that a democracy and the world at large benefit from heterogeneity. These two concepts rely on andreinforce one another.The arguments in favor of diversity and free expression are not exactly the same, but neither are they unrelated. There are reasons for diversity that have little or nothing to do with free expression; and there are reasonsfor free expression that have little or nothing to do with diversity. The areas of overlap, though, are plentiful—and they are essential to finding the best path forward. At their essence, both of these ideals supportdemocracy because they mean that societies are educating informed, engaged citizens and seeking toestablish a sense of fair play and justice in political systems. While diversity and free expression are too oftenpitted against one another as competing values, they are more compatible than they are opposing.The American experiment at its best calls for diversity and free expression to coexist. That coexistence hasnot been easy, nor has it been all that successful, especially for those who have had less power. The American experience has been a lot easier for whites, males, Christians, heterosexuals, the able-bodied, and the wealthy in particular. And free expression has been interpreted in ways that have tended to support those in authorityrather than all people equitably. These critiques of the American experiment are all grounded in historical truth. But it is also true that free expression can serve all of us. Diversity is about self-expression, learning from oneanother, working together in productive ways across differences, and in turn strengthening our democracy.Diversity that also encompasses and supports intellectual and academic freedom—without condoning hatespeech—has enormous force, promise, and importance.WHY DIVERSITY MATTERSOur commitment to seeking the truth and making sound decisions, in intellectual communities and in the public sphere, relies on the coexistence of diversity and free expression. One of the reasons to have a diverse community—one in which we truly welcome adults and young people with a broad range of racial, class, ethnic, religious, cultural, and political backgrounds, as well as people with a range of gender and sexual orientations—is that they bring various viewpoints that can help a community reach good, moral, and truthful decisions. This range of viewpoints also helps communities reach just decisions that a broad range of people will believe to belegitimate.As one example, consider the field of journalism and the need for a diverse corps of reporters to serve a multicultural democracy well. Among other things, a democracy depends on a strong, independent field of journalism to function effectively. Journalism enables the public to stay informed about crucial issues in such a way thatthe people may determine their own best interests. Journalism offers plentiful examples of this concurrentneed for diversity and free expression in support of democracy. A well-trained, professional team of journalists—even if they all come from one racial background, say all Latino/Latina—may be able to cover the stories of a large and complex city with a reasonable degree of accuracy. But getting to the truth of what is really going on in, say, that city’s Chinatown section will be enhanced by someone on the staff coming from that neighborhood or from a Chinese-speaking background. At a minimum, that team of reporters would need to rely on sources and informants from Chinatown in order to tell that story with a fidelity to what actually occurred and what it meant. In either event, a diverse set of voices—whether as authors or sources—can lead to a deeper understanding of the truth in a complex environment than a homogeneous group of voices can. In turn, those who rely onthis journalism have a greater likelihood of discerning their own true interests and acting accordingly ascitizens.Or consider the discipline of writing and studying U.S. history, which I teach to high school juniors and seniors at Andover. If virtually all the authorities writing prominent history books are white men (as they were for a long time), the likelihood is high that their narratives would extol the great male military and political leaders, not the women and many of the people of color who lived then. The idea behind diversifying the ranks of our history teachers and scholars is that a more diverse group of authors will tell a more complete—and correspondingly more truthful—version of what happened. The point is not to eliminate political and military history or the lives of “great men” from our narratives but rather to include social and cultural history—for instance, as it is told by women or people of color, unwelcome in political and military leadership for much of our history. The point is also not that only African Americans can write about the lives of those enslaved or what it was like to be subject to Jim Crow laws, but rather that having a more diverse group of teachers and authors results in a broader range of perspectives. As the professoriate continues to become more diverse, the narratives that we teach in history are becoming more diverse and richer.
WHY FREE EXPRESSION MATTERSFree expression, likewise, enables us to find the truth. If certain views are unwelcome or barred, then thelikelihood that societies will find or embrace the truth diminishes. The extreme case is an authoritarian regime—for instance, in North Korea—where dissent is nearly impossible and the free flow of ideas is nonexistent. If criticism of political figures, whether accurate or not, is disallowed or strongly discouraged—as it is, for instance, in present-day Turkey, Russia, or Thailand—then the likelihood that the truth about their activities will emerge is much lower. When Saddam Hussein received 100 percent of the votes cast in the election of 2002—all 11,445,638 of them—one can reasonably infer that the Iraqi people were not free to discuss the potential shortcomings of the next Hussein administration.2 In the case of the urban journalists, free expression supports understanding of the real dynamics at play in Chinatown. In the case of the historians, free expression enables broader consideration of events and patterns that had previously lain uncovered—and that may have been inconvenient to unearth, discuss, and publish. Without commitment to free expression, the truth is much less likely to emerge. Without a route to the truth, the likelihood of good policy decisions, fair dealing with communities, and just outcomes of disputes is much lower.
ADDITIONAL LINKS BETWEEN DIVERSITY AND FREE EXPRESSIONDiversity and free expression are linked, too, as principles that lead to higher levels of equity and fairness. The success of these ideals provides legitimacy for a democratic system. One reason to pursue a diverse environment, especially in a school or university setting, is to ensure that every young person has a roughly equal chance at the positive gains possible through education. If a school admits only young people of a single race, gender, ethnicity, faith, sexuality, or type of ability, then the opportunities at that school are not equitably afforded to those with other characteristics. In a knowledge-dominated economy, access to the benefits of education is of fundamental importance. Diversity initiatives—including but not limited to affirmative action policies—aim to ensure that the inequities of the past are not paid for in the future. These commitments ensure that every member of an academic environment feels and is valued for what they offer to the community and can accomplish while in school and afterward. The benefits of addressing inequity on campus connect directly to the degree of equality in the polity at large.Free expression, in its purest form, is also a driver of equity and justice. Free expression means that no voice is categorically entitled to greater freedom than any other. At the level of principle, freedom of expression is even-handed: it means that the color of one’s skin, or faith, or sexuality should not be a bar to expressing one’spoint of view, participating in civic life through speech, and so forth. In practice, in most societies, this form of equity has rarely existed: some people are able to speak louder and more freely than others.Free expression is linked to a series of other freedoms with similar connections to equity. In the context of the United States, these freedoms are enshrined in the First Amendment to the Constitution: the right to freespeech and a free press, the right to assemble peaceably, and the right to religious beliefs. Alongside the right to free expression, these other rights also protect those who might otherwise suffer persecution: the unpopular minority group has the right to come together peaceably in a community, or to pursue their faith, or to publishtheir views through a specialized press, or to seek redress from the government. Taken together, these rightshave great force on behalf of an equitable society.
SOME ARGUMENTS TO THE CONTRARYThe matter, of course, is not as simple as saying that diversity and free expression are mutually supportive concepts, on campus and in society at large. There are serious theoretical arguments to the contrary. There are hard cases that make these principles difficult to reconcile. The hardest cases, customarily involving hate speech, require balancing of competing interests that can leave no one happy.The most forceful argument, expressed from the political left, against my view that these two principles should coexist comes with the (truthful) claim that the right to free expression arose in the context of inequality. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, for instance, was drafted by white, powerful men of European descent—many of whom enslaved their fellow Americans. Moreover, the interpretation of the right of free expression in the United States has been historically carried out by and large by male judges, often white and well off. Given this history, the right to free expression has been a tool of empowered people, not those who have been marginalized. As such, this counterargument goes, the right to free expression is flawed and less worthy of support than diversity, equity, and inclusion, especially where these two values conflict. While I acknowledge the force of this argument, I think it is less compelling than the claim that the two principles, in a more equitable historical moment, can and should be upheld in common.Other counterarguments take issue with either the specific application of free expression or diversity or both. It is one thing to make a broad claim about the importance of diversity and free expression coexisting; it is quite another to determine how best to apply them in an actual society.Free expression, for instance, evokes a range of possible policies, from one in which truly “anything goes” to the constrained version of free expression (which I favor) that is enshrined in the U.S. Constitution. This latter vision of free expression calls for limits to free expression in certain circumstances, known as “time, place, and manner” restrictions. Gender and racial harassment, fighting words, obscenity, and libel, for instance, are not protected speech even under the First Amendment. In the context of a campus, the limits to free expression often take another form: disallowing students from using hate speech targeted at another student, for instance. None of these types of restrictions on free expression would bar citizens or students from expressing a political opinion, however unpopular, as long as it does not target or put at risk another person. While some disagree with the idea of any restrictions on free expression, others wish for speech restrictions to further limit or ban certain additional forms of speech.“time, place, and manner” restrictionsthe categories of restrictions that can, under current federal law, be placed on free speech provided they are content neutral. They are narrowly tailored, and they leave open alternative means of expression. Thus, assuming these conditions are met, a school could likely legally limit free speech (or certain kinds of free speech) to certain times (e.g., not on Sunday), certain places (e.g., a free speech zone), or certain manners (e.g., no PA systems), although it would need to be able to justify the need for doing so. The restrictions are from the ruling Linmark Associates, Inc. v. Township of Willingboro, 431 U.S. 85 (1977).A similar counterargument might take issue with the forms of diversity that I favor in this book. As in the caseof free expression, the views fall along a broad spectrum. On the one end, diversity extends to a strong form of equality and inclusion, brought about by affirmative policies intended to accomplish what proponents refer toas “social justice.” On the other end of the spectrum falls extreme xenophobia—whether expressed by whitesupremacists or by those who express hatred toward others from a religious viewpoint. For the purposes ofthis argument, I favor a form of diversity that makes good on the promises of the American ideal: a nation thatinvites those from all over the world to form a community together, representing a range of backgrounds andviewpoints. On campuses, this ideal means seeking young people from all over the country and the world, from all races, ethnicities, faith backgrounds, sexual orientations, with a range of abilities, and from families withdifferent political viewpoints. Here, too, there are, and must be, restrictions of various sorts. A nation must limit those who can immigrate in certain ways in order to avoid systems being overwhelmed by the sheer number of residents; similarly, enrollment on a campus ought to be limited to a number of students who can in fact thrivein that particular learning environment. Some might agree that this definition of diversity is too generous;others might oppose the limits I suggest or favor more radical policies to accomplish the goals of diversity,equity, and inclusion.
Why Choose Us
We value our clients. For this reason, we ensure that each paper is written carefully as per the instructions provided by the client. Our editing team also checks all the papers to ensure that they have been completed as per the expectations.
Professional Academic Writers
Over the years, our Acme Homework has managed to secure the most qualified, reliable and experienced team of writers. The company has also ensured continued training and development of the team members to ensure that it keep up with the rising Academic Trends.
Our prices are fairly priced in such a way that ensures affordability. Additionally, you can get a free price quotation by clicking on the "Place Order" button.
We pay strict attention on deadlines. For this reason, we ensure that all papers are submitted earlier, even before the deadline indicated by the customer. For this reason, the client can go through the work and review everything.
At Custom Paper Help, all papers are plagiarism-free as they are written from scratch. We have taken strict measures to ensure that there is no similarity on all papers and that citations are included as per the standards set.
Customer Support 24/7
Our support team is readily available to provide any guidance/help on our platform at any time of the day/night. Feel free to contact us via the Chat window or support email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Try it now!
How it works?
Follow these simple steps to get your paper done
Place your order
Fill in the order form and provide all details of your assignment.
Proceed with the payment
Choose the payment system that suits you most.
Receive the final file
Once your paper is ready, we will email it to you.
Custom Paper Help has stood as the world’s leading custom essay writing services providers. Once you enter all the details in the order form under the place order button, the rest is up to us.
At Custom Paper Help, we prioritize on all aspects that bring about a good grade such as impeccable grammar, proper structure, zero-plagiarism and conformance to guidelines. Our experienced team of writers will help you completed your essays and other assignments.
Admission and Business Papers
Be assured that you’ll definitely get accepted to the Master’s level program at any university once you enter all the details in the order form. We won’t leave you here; we will also help you secure a good position in your aspired workplace by creating an outstanding resume or portfolio once you place an order.
Editing and Proofreading
Our skilled editing and writing team will help you restructure you paper, paraphrase, correct grammar and replace plagiarized sections on your paper just on time. The service is geared toward eliminating any mistakes and rather enhancing better quality.
We have writers in almost all fields including the most technical fields. You don’t have to worry about the complexity of your paper. Simply enter as much details as possible in the place order section.