Conservative students struggle to find acceptance and tolerance from liberal peers

Jasmine Castillo, Feature Editor, Copy Editor

With liberal views and perspectives dominating news, entertainment, social media and academia, conservative students often feel that their views are targeted and ridiculed.  From talks of “deprogramming” conservatives to politicians finding their social media accounts banned, conservatives nationwide are facing a difficult time speaking up without being silenced or cancelled — and students fear they might be next.  

I want to give my own opinion sometimes like everyone else without being bashed, but from the way I see it, that’s the only way I’ll be treated most of the time,” junior Richard Moreno said.  “I can’t share an opinion out loud without someone coming at me with hate, insults and no facts to back up an argument.”  

Moreno, who admits he keeps most of his pro-life and Second Amendment views private, says that he is most afraid of sharing his views on social media. Throughout social media platforms, liberal students are accepted with their constant posting and commentary regarding political events, while many conservative students say they aren’t able to express their voice as freely. 

When junior Paul Harris shared his pro-life stance on abortion publically, he was quickly met with hate and silenced by his peers. 

“People would read what I say and just swipe up to my story with slander and just unfollow me,” Harris said. “Why can’t we have a conversation like mature human beings?”

Conservatives, who believe in more fiscal restraint in spending, school choice and vouchers, immigration regulation, and are often pro-life in their belief on abortion,  find themselves losing friends just by their political stance alone.  Portrayed in the liberal media as immoral, unethical or selfish,  conservatives can find themselves losing friends simply because they lean toward more conservative views, especially in a blue state like California.

Junior Brandon Tran knows that feeling well. 

“My other previous best friend stopped talking to me even though we had a healthy friendship,” Tran said.  “She acted like I killed someone when I told her I was a conservative.” 

While some simply disagree with conservative views, many liberals see conservative views as harmful towards basic human rights, ultimately branding conservatives as hateful and unaccepting individuals — even though it is mostly conservatives who have pressed to hold countries like China accountable over their human rights violations by advocating for sanctions and other penalties.  

 “Someone can argue that it’s a human rights issue, but multiple sides are going to have their own opinions to solve them,” junior Holden Lomeli said. “I think everyone should be open to discussion or else they are just going to become ignorant.”  (note to readers: for more on Holden’s opinion, read his personal piece that accompanies this article).

 According to the “Washington Post,” in 2019 high school senior Maddie Mueller sued her school district for forbidding her from wearing a MAGA hat because she believed it was a violation of her First Amendment right to free speech. Although the lawsuit is still ongoing, Mueller is not the only student who has experienced liberal bias in her education. With California being one of the most liberal states, conservative students are discovering the liberal bias in their education systems with little discussion of conservative views. 

“It’s completely unfair and immature,” Moreno said. “If one side can express their ideas freely so should the other. Why are liberals able to wear what they want to support but conservatives can’t?”

“The Bruin Voice” asked several conservative students for interviews, but many declined  to comment due to fears of being “canceled” or enduring further persecution from their peers. According to a report by CATO institute, 77 percent of conservatives say they need to “self-censor” their views due to societal norms. Additionally, 34 percent of conservatives say their views could get them fired or harm their career trajectory.

 “I feel limited and restricted because I can’t voice my opinions,” Tran said. “We need diplomacy and talk instead of verbally attacking and harassing.”

Contributors: Dominic Navarro and Gavin Orsi