Free Speech

Conversation Guide

When are limitations on free speech justified in America?

With the advance of technology, it is easy to connect with our friends,
blast our thoughts and feelings to our followers and practice free
speech. In this era of “connected all the time”, we long to feel safe,
while at the same time we are exposed via social media.

How can we best protect free speech? How do we distinguish between
disagreement, bullying and hate speech? Are there areas of common ground
to be found?

Background Information:

While you don’t need to be an expert on this topic, sometimes people want background information. Our partner, AllSides, has prepared a variety of articles reflecting multiple sides of this topic.

Let's Get Started!

This Living Room Conversation flows through three rounds of questions and a closing. Some rounds ask you to answer each question. Others feature multiple questions that serve as conversation starters — you need only respond to the one or two you find most interesting.

Before You Begin...

Please go over the Conversation Agreements with your participants.

Introductions: Getting Started/
Why Are We Here?

What interested you or drew you to this conversation?

Round 1: Core Values

Answer one or more of the following:
  • What sense of purpose / mission / duty guides you in your life?
  • What would your best friend say about who you are and what inspires you?
  • What are your hopes and concerns for your community and/or the country?

Round 2:

What are your thoughts on Free Speech?

  • What norms do you follow with your own expression?
  • Should people be allowed to say whatever they want? Why or why not?
  • When does speech become abusive?
  • When does political correctness go too far?
  • When someone says something stupid (not bullying) online, what is an appropriate consequence?

Round 3: Reflection & Next Steps

  • In one sentence, share what was most meaningful or valuable to you in the experience of this Living Room Conversation?
  • What new understanding or common ground did you find within this topic?
  • Has this conversation changed your perception of anyone in this group, including yourself?
  • Name one important thing that was accomplished here.
  • Is there a next step you would like to take based upon the conversation you just had?

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