Thursday, September 16, 2010

This American Life: The Right To Remain Silent

Because today's laptop rollout for juniors meant that you'd all be coming and going all period long, I decided to scrap the lesson that I had planned and take a different approach to our learning.

Just yesterday, I listened to a podcast of This American Life (one of my all-time favorite radio shows) while working on our new bulletin board. The episode I heard was about people who choose not to exercise their right to remain silent and suffer some sort of drastic consequence for their choice.

As I listened, I thought of you all and this course. Our theme for the year is rebellion. We've already met our first character, Arnold Spirit, who is rebelling against tribe by attending school off of his reservation. We'll meet other characters and learn about actual people who have rebelled as the year goes on. But, there is something very interesting about listening to these stories of two very different men who exercised their right to speak out.

One man was questioned by heavily armed police officers after posting a threatening status update on facebook. He got in much more trouble than seems reasonable or necessary for his post. Another man, a former police officer, decided to speak up for himself and the community that he policed by recording his commanding officer. This officer was asking policemen and women to arrest and frisk innocent people at random.

It is always interesting to think about our freedom of speech. Sometimes, I think that we forget how powerful speech can be. Therefore, we may forget that it is a right like any other and needs to be protected and fought for. These men have been fighting for their right to speak and be heard. What rights are you willing to fight for?

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