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Art Censorship

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Originally, when the question of was first addressed I was quite ambivalent about my position. I felt indecisive because on one hand I feel that there should be freedom of speech yet, on the other hand I'm against promoting anti- Semitism. I felt torn between two worlds. Then I began to contemplate; artists, especially controver-sial artists, are frequently susceptible to manipulation and censorship. Sometimes the ac-tion is overt and at other times it is quite subtle. Artists are often asked to change parts of their works to conform to the morality level of the public. Some people might find Chris Ofilli, who is a controversial but award-winning artist, work fascinating yet, I find it rather distasteful. If we begin to limit the imagination and take away every form of ex-pression, what will be left?
As well as a place of learning an educational institution's purpose is to generate and promote discussion. When the New Age racist, David Icke, wanted to speak at the University of Toronto the Canadian Jewish Congress was upset that an anti-Semite would be permitted to address the student population. However, the University's president, Dr. Prichard, argued that the University was a place that all learning avenues should be ex-plored. Within the framework of the University students would learn to discern right from wrong under the guidance of the University faculty. I agree with President Prichard be-cause freedom of speech is one of our basic rights in Canada and it should be protected at all costs.
Once something creates a lot of controversy or is deemed inappropriate it is a per-fect occasion to have a discussion. People who harbor certain ideas that can be construed as offensive can listen to others speak their mind on the subject of why they found something abhorrent. Promoting discussion allows people to open their minds to new ideas. Teachers can also explain to the students why something is considered offensive. With everything under scrutiny and with the guidance of teachers hopefully they can lead their students in the right direction. If the students don't see offensive works of art in the hallways of CHAT surely they will see it in public places. We cannot remain sheltered forever ...

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