This week in class we began our discussion around Sherman Alexie’s book, The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian, the Native American occupation of Alcatraz in the 1960’s, and the representation of Native Americans in museums. We contemplated Sherman’s main character, Junior, and his struggle to find his identity within two worlds. Junior promotes understanding, persistence, and peace when learning to live in two cultures and two different societies, but does that mean Alexie holds the same ideals as his fictional character? In the end our class discussion evolved into quite a debate: does an individual have the responsibility of maintaining a unbiased, calm opinion on controversial issues when they have a certain degree of celebrity or prominence? Is that person expected to uphold the values and beliefs that their followers, fans, and colleagues want them to?
While I have no come to resolution on the matter since our discussion, I would like to bring the issue to the blog for further discussion. When or should someone restrict their own freedom of speech in order to minimize the possible consequences of them sharing a controversial, and possibly widely-disliked, opinion?