Switched at Birth, season 5

Season 5, episode 1, “The Call.”   Even if people are unfamiliar with the show, I’d like people to watch this episode.  I loved Switched at Birth, by the way.  It’s a show that was on a network formerly known as ABC Family, which decided to go “edgier,” I suppose, and is now Freeform.  The official site is here.

For those who don’t know, Switched at Birth is a sitcom about two daughters, well, switched at birth, and is a show about deaf culture.  As a personal interest of mine, I’ve used the show to help me learn ASL.  But they also have the guts to tackle lots of issues.  Previous seasons, the girls were in high school, and yes, there was a lot of high school boy drama.  But, as the characters have aged into collegiate years, the issues are also becoming more mature and sophisticated, as well as topical.

This particular episode generates a discussion – without providing any easy answers and showing points on both sides – which is very current at the moment, that of free speech and discrimination.  It’s a topic I keep arguing about again and again with my peers.  and I know it’s a complicated subject.  I don’t want to have censorship, I don’t want to take away anyone’s free speech, but I do believe in safe spaces (I don’t want to get into defining that at the moment, as I’m realizing the definitions vary, and so what I mean by it may not be what someone else means by it), I don’t want to condone hate speech or bigotry, and I don’t think colleges should shelter people from the real world…

Several different characters in this episode all weigh in with different points of view, and I like that this show went there and is having this discussion.  I think it’s probably easier and arguably more effective for me to direct people to this episode, than go on a diatribe of my own.  If I were to try to sum up my views in a concise statement, it’d be something like…everyone has the right to free speech, but that doesn’t mean that speech comes without consequences, that doesn’t mean you have the right to say racial slurs without consequence.  and so on…

So anyway, I think the episode does a good job discussing this.  and remembering, in the end, what is an intellectual academic debate to some, is other people’s lives.  again, as I find myself saying again and again, it’s complicated.  if only it didn’t seem like ingrained human nature to hate each other… I guess it starts with addressing these issues, discussing them, and trying to see the other side’s point of view, while hopefully – hopefully – standing up for equality and humane treatment for everyone.  We’ll probably never end racism and bigotry, but we have to try…  anyways…

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