The inequality question chosen by children living on the streets in Uganda and debated this month was ‘Should all people be heard and all views shared in society?’.
We received 84 answers and 399 views so far, from all over the world, which was really encouraging and allowed for a good debate to flow. There was a big mix between those who thought we should all share our views, those who thought we shouldn’t and those who thought there should be conditions to who can share their views. We also received a range of reasons for each opinion and branched out into related inequality subjects like gender!
It’s always good to share your views
We had lots of responses arguing that sharing our views is a good thing to help us learn, to help others, to resolve conflicts and to create change.
“It helps to bring out the big views of the community and bridges the gap of segregation based on personal differences.” – Fataha, Uganda
“Because through view sharing, many people can be helped.” – Bewayo, Uganda
“Yes, because this helps the ones in need to get the help and attention like for example the children who live on the streets.” – Sarah, Uganda
“Yes, these helps improve and increase on safety and security in the society because all views are heard and shared.” – Settuba, Uganda
Dangers of sharing our ideas freely
However, some argued that we are best not to share all views in society as sharing may be pointless if others are not willing to listen, people may take advantage of ideas or we may get in trouble because of our views.
“No, because there are people who are not happy and interested in hearing what others have to say in society and even if they heard, they are not ready and willing to help.” – Hakim, Uganda
“No, because others take advantage of their friend’s ideas, develop them and take them for personal interest instead of benefiting the whole society at large.” – Owori, Uganda
You are allowed your views but shouldn’t hurt others with them
Many people argued that while everyone is entitled to their views, only those who have views which aren’t hateful or hurtful should be allowed to share their views with society.
“I think it is always important to be able to voice your views and also important to hear other people’s to fully understand everyone’s standpoint, assuming that it’s not hurtful or discriminatory.” – Rowan
“Everyone has their own opinion, and so their views should all be heard, provided that they do not hurt, offend, or cause harm to others.” – Gary, UK
Others argued that all views should be shared but that we should consider each view individually and only give a platform to those which don’t harm others.
“All views should be shared and voiced but not necessarily given the same platform”– Max
“While it might be useful to hear multiple views to get a better understanding of where they are coming from the weight we attach to what they say and the subsequent platform we give them to express themselves should be based on the content and the risk they pose to the well being of others.” – Ruth
“I think Freedom of Speech is important so that ideas and opinions can be debated, but I do not think that those that use this right to incite hatred towards others should be given a public platform.” – Jane
Could it harm freedom of speech?
Whilst most people agreed that negative or harmful views shouldn’t be shared, others wondered at what point this means no views will be shared at all, as different views affect people differently or may offend people unintentionally.
“All people should be heard, everyone should have an equal right to this freedom. Should all views be shared? I think this depends in what way they are shared -there will always be someone who is offended by your opinion, but if we were to stop sharing views based on this alone, wouldn’t everyone then be silenced? Meaning no one is then heard?” – Isabella
“Of course everyone should have the right to express their opinion at all times. Someone famous once said “ I disagree with everything you say but will always defend your right to say it.” People are ‘offended’ far too easily and use it as an excuse for not engaging in proper debate.” – David
Henry, UK attempted to make a clarification for all those questioning at what point we stop silencing people by separating hurtful views from hateful ones. He said: “If I am wearing a blue t-shirt and someone says ‘don’t like your t-shirt’ – I might be offended but there is nothing wrong with them expressing there opinion. If someone says ‘Everyone in blue t-shirts should die’ then they are making a hate-statement, posing a threat to society and inciting violence. There is a big difference between the two…”. This was a helpful suggestion that allowed us to create space between unpopular views which some contributors felt should still be heard and hateful views which incite dangerous behaviours.
A further interesting contribution came from Vero Nika on twitter, she said
“Women and girls are often not taken seriously and heard when they share their thoughts & ideas! So let’s listen to women + girls more!”.
This opened the debate as to how woman and girls can get there voices heard as Freida replied asking:
“How can we do this? Some places like parliament and many places for speaking can be a bit shouting and intimidating and maybe that is why some ladies choose not to join in.”
This certainly leaves room to continue this debate in future!
Overall the debate was really interesting and we gained lots of different views from contributors across the world. It will certainly leave us all thinking about other peoples views and might even change our minds on a few things too!