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Friday, March 1
The Indiana Daily Student


COLUMN: Defending offending

In a true victory for free speech, the Indian Supreme Court declared this week arrests made for offensive content online were ?unconstitutional.

This action comes in the form of the Court striking down Section 66A of the Information Technology Act, an act meant to keep Indian citizens away from material they might find offensive.

In fact, the main push behind this act came from the idea that offensive material can lead to criminal acts brought on by public anger and violence. In a sense, this act was meant to keep people from overreacting to something they might see online.

However, just as any person with half a brain cell would have predicted, the local police departments in various states were using this section as a way to quiet those who had controversial opinions about political ?issues.

Surprise, surprise — governments don’t really care about protecting your fragile little mind.

Though this is obviously a huge step in the right direction for free speech in India, my main concern in seeing this story was the idea that offending someone should be taken so seriously that we might need a law to stop it.

Perhaps I’m out of my element here because so few things truly offend me, but I’ve always considered wallowing in the fact that I’ve been offended a really big waste of my time. In fact, I think it’s a necessary part of the global discussion on many issues.

I honestly didn’t care about ISIS until I head they were massacring villages that didn’t believe in their ?ideology.

That offended me greatly, and as a result I’m following the story more.

That might be a pretty extreme example, but my point is that too many people completely waste time being offended. They let it surround them, filling every nook and cranny of their emotional being until there isn’t any room for logic or action.

When something offends me, I take some time to evaluate it. Why does this offend me? Should it? If it should, what can I take away from this offensive message?

It just seems so useless to me to call the police because someone offended you on the Internet. What did you gain by doing that?

The ability to dial a phone?

It may sound kind of strange, but I honestly think if you aren’t getting offended on a regular basis, you are shutting yourself off from ideas that can grow and develop you as a human being.

I’m not saying every offensive remark is some deep viewpoint you should instantly accept. Rather, we all need to have our boundaries pushed once in a while so we can know exactly where ?they lie.

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