This simple statement seems to be pushed to the wayside by many
individuals. As Americans, we are born with certain rights, and
many seem to think no matter how or why these rights are exercised
they needn’t be reprimanded.
But with the gift of these rights, comes the burden of
responsibility. This responsibility should be used with doing
anything and everything. It seems people use their “rights” as an
excuse to be rude or disrespectful to others. I often hear, “Well,
it’s my right” when explaining improper behavior. Well, yes it sure
is your ‘right,’ but have some respect.
For example: our freedom of speech is a given right. We are all
born with this right to speak our minds against the government and
one another. Yet, with this freedom comes the responsibility of
being a good citizen.
It is each of our individual responsibility to not cuss out our
boss, tell our mothers to drop dead or scream “fire” in a crowded
theatre. The latter in fact is against the law, due to the simple
fact that people forget responsibility in using their American
Last week, I became very irritated with someone forgetting
responsibility while exercising her rights. A 19-year-old mother
decided it was her right to breast feed her child in the checkout
line at Wal-Mart.
Yes, breast feeding your child is your right. In fact, I am a
staunch supporter of breast feeding, it gives children nutrients he
or she may not receive elsewhere and it is a bonding experience
between mother and child which will last a life time. But along
with women’s right to breast feed, comes the responsibility we all
have: respect societal norms and other individuals’ wishes.
Not everyone, in fact I’m sure very few people, want to see a
mother whip out her breast and feed her child in a checkout line.
This is a private act, something that should be saved for the
privacy of one’s own home. I understand sometimes breast feeding
may have to be performed in a public area, but please use some
discretion and decency while performing this act. It is your right,
yet one should take responsibility in exercising this right.
Responsibility within rights must often be used within the
newspaper business. Publications, even student newspapers in
Colorado, have the right to free press. We can print whatever we
want, including the names of rape victims-legally anyway. Yet, is
doing so responsible? No, newspapers have taken the responsibility
to not re-victimize individuals through the press.
As Americans we need to be grateful for our rights. We are the
freest people in the world, and yet are the rudest. We take the
attitude that with our given rights we can do whatever we please,
whenever we please. This attitude is unacceptable and
Next time you attempt to use “It’s my right,” to justify
grouping your girlfriend or boyfriend in public, screaming cuss
words at a coworker or breast feeding in a supermarket line,
remember, please use the responsibility given to you along with
J.J. Babb is a senior studying journalism. She is the design
managing editor for The Collegian.