Gadfly Cafe on social media, the web, and free speech


Students and faculty members gathered to discuss the first amendment and how pornography affected the amendment.

Amir Guyton , Reporter

Bakersfield College Philosophy professor and Gadfly Cafe host Reggie Williams held the first Gadfly Cafe of the Spring school semester on Wednesday, Feb.13 in the Levan Center.

The Gadfly cafe is where students and staff come to have open ended healthy discussions on different issues.

In the past school semesters, the Gadfly cafe has tackled discussions on subjects such as bias, education, and privileges.

This month’s topics of choice were the first amendment and how it impacted everyday lives.

With the topic of the first amendment in the air it became clear that many could agree that it definitely needed to apply to real life everyday scenarios.

But where the idea of applying the first amendment became foggy was when the idea of applying its same rights to the internet came up.

Amir Guyton
Local BC student Juan Hernandez (Left) gave his thoughts on what the first amendment meant to him in the age of social media.

The crowd was very diverse mixed with people from multiple backgrounds of different ages from different generations.

It became unclear where the first amendment should and shouldn’t apply online was a bit of a complicated question to answer.

Many felt that the internet was something that needed to be regulated or at least to a point where people were held accountable for the hateful things they said online.

“I just think it’s really complex because I think everyone should be able to have their own opinions and voice their opinions, but sometimes people use that in a way to express hate”, BC student Ivanna Randall said.

As the discussion went on it seemed that one of the solutions and ways of combating hate speech online was by simply holding those that spew it accountable.

Williams then openly asked, “Should we regulate the internet? and if so how? or do we allow the speech and allow other people an equal right to protest?”

As the discussion went on, BC student Juan Hernandez contributed to the topics of freedom of speech and accountability by applying that “somehow freedom of speech has gotten us to think that it’s a means from accountability, while it may be freedom of punishment from the government, that does not mean there isn’t punishment from society.”

The discussion itself was revealing of an evolving world that’s changed how many people view and feel about freedom of speech and ultimately the first amendment due to age, ideologies, and places people grew up.

With the use of the internet and social media sites many were questioning where the first amendment should and shouldn’t be applied.

“In our U.S. society we’ve dealt with freedoms by them being taken to court cases”, in which Williams continued.

“So how free are we when that process cost tons of money, so the people who are actually free are the people with tons of money.”