Censorship has remained a highly controversial topic within our nation and on our campus. Incidents during our last Paint the Bridge event led to conversations about what type of speech is and is not acceptable. The definition of free speech has been challenged, and the First Amendment continues to be brought up in defense of offensive speech.
The debate on free speech sprung up again when Wall Township High School in New Jersey edited pro-Trump messages out of their yearbook. According to the Washington Post, a junior named Grant Berardo wore a shirt with a Trump logo that included the line, “Make America Great Again.” In the school yearbook, his shirt appears plain instead.
While our current president has been an offensive leader because of his attempted travel ban and plans to build a wall, editing a Trump logo out of the picture doesn’t seem to be justified. Berardo did not violate any of his school’s dress code rules. If the student was wearing more offensive apparel, such as a swastika or confederate flag, editing out the imagery would be warranted. It’s important to consider that because Donald Trump is our president, removing his name is functionally equal to removing President Obama’s name from a t-shirt – which simply doesn’t make sense.
We need to be reasonable in our demands for what is offensive and what is not. Not recognizing that he is our president, or censoring his name from apparel, simply distracts from the real issues that we need to focus on – like the things he is doing as President.