Dangers Of Punishing Racist Speech

Discussion in 'The Howard Stern Show' started by BethSucks, Mar 21, 2015.

  1. BethSucks

    BethSucks Well-Known Member Staff Member

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    Story highlights
    Marc J. Randazza is a Las Vegas-based First Amendment attorney and managing partner of the Randazza Legal Group. He is licensed to practice in Arizona, California, Florida, Massachusetts and Nevada. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his.

    (CNN)America used to be a place where we said, "Give me liberty or give me death." We live by a credo that "freedom isn't free," and that our Constitution is worth dying for. How inspirational it is to believe that this is the wind of thought that blows underneath the Eagle's wings.

    Unfortunately, whenever that wind becomes just a little too gusty for comfort, we find out just how little relationship our poetic credo has to our collective guts.

    The latest example: Nine seconds of video of a number of boys singing an offensive song. Immediately, the University of Oklahoma expelled two of the boys for their speech. Forget whether you like the speech or not. That is not relevant. These boys got kicked out of a public school for singing a song, on their own time, in a privately rented bus, simply because the government didn't like the content of their song.


    Censors overstepping their bounds is no surprise.What surprises me is how readily the public supported the expulsions, and how many supposedly intelligent people were willing to turn the First Amendment on its head, because of nine seconds of video.

    I don't like the song or its message either. I can't imagine anyone reasonable who would. But I want to live in a country where the government does not listen to my songs and then decide whether or not I should be punished, based on what words I used. That is not freedom.


    I understand that most of us hate racism. We are on a mission to eradicate it from all corners. But I am not willing to trade the First Amendment for a society where we don't need to hear racist words.

    In Abrams v. United States, Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote a passage that ultimately became the cornerstone of a liberty-based view toward free speech, and which became the dominant theory in First Amendment jurisprudence. In Abrams, Holmes gave us "the marketplace of ideas." And what a brilliant theory it was.

    Holmes noted that if someone was completely confident in the belief that they were right, then it would seem logical that they would want to suppress dissenting views. "If you have no doubt of your premises or your power, and want a certain result with all your heart, you naturally express your wishes in law, and sweep away all opposition." Those who wish to eradicate racism are certain that they are right.

    I believe in a racism-free world. I have marched in counterprotests against the Ku Klux Klan. I've stood up in places you don't want to be, against violent neo-Nazis. And I would do it again.

    But I feel no kinship with anyone who would harm the First Amendment to fight racism. Some things are worse than racism -- like a loss of the right to speak your mind and think your own thoughts. Unfortunately, that is a price that too many of us are willing to pay.

    I am not. As certain as I am that my views on race are correct, I cannot shake Holmes' wisdom from my mind. He wrote:

    "But when men have realized that time has upset many fighting faiths, they may come to believe even more than they believe the very foundations of their own conduct that the ultimate good desired is better reached by free trade in ideas -- that the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market, and that truth is the only ground upon which their wishes safely can be carried out. That, at any rate, is the theory of our Constitution."

    For that reason, I would gladly protest against the KKK, but I would never abide any government official denying the KKK its right to speak.

    I understand those who would wish to do so. They want to eradicate racism, and the end will justify the means. However, we have slowly been descending into a place where we are trading this for freedoms that are far more precious than the freedom to avoid having our feelings hurt by offensive statements.

    Of course, some say that these were more than "offensive." The song was a "threat." After all, it did mention lynching black people. But was that really a threat? An idiotic ditty in an all-white bus? To call it a threat is disingenuous.

    What about the disruptive nature of the song? Should other students have to go to school with people who clearly despise them, and who carry these offensive racist thoughts? Yes. They should be free to have these thoughts, they should be free to say these things. If it crosses the line into action, or even imminent incitement to action, that's another story. In this case, that never happened. The First Amendment prevails here.


    It is easy to claim that these Sigma Alpha Epsilon boys did not deserve First Amendment protection. Many have said so. But, when you hear that, your immediate reaction should be one of skepticism. The First Amendment is not there to serve as a comforting blanket of civility. In fact, it is there precisely to protect the sharp edges. It is there for the KKK, the Nazis, SAE, and you alike. It is there for words that shock us, challenge us, and that bother us.

    You should want to protect the SAE boys -- not that they deserve it. You should do so because the day will come that your speech is unpopular.

    Once, speech in favor of racial equality was considered to be "bad speech." Once, professors were kicked off campus for not being "anti-gay enough." But, today, the thought of equality and tolerance have won out in the marketplace. Let that victory stand, without trying to cement it with the force of law, and without destroying the very liberty that allowed these "good thoughts" to flourish in the first place.
     
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  2. Beth143nacho

    Beth143nacho Well-Known Member VIP

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    the United states is a racist country. And the victims are white.
     
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  3. Jim J Jiblets

    Jim J Jiblets #Hillary'sTongue

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    CNN with a non-race-baiting article?

    [​IMG]
     
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  4. BethSucks

    BethSucks Well-Known Member Staff Member

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    They made sure that disclaimer about the opinion was front and center
     
  5. Patron

    Patron Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for cliff note
     
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  6. PI Nate

    PI Nate Disenfranchised since 1984... Gold

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    Progressives love free speech, as long as you agree with them...:nocheer:
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2015
  7. Afganistand

    Afganistand Motivationally Deficient VIP

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    Common sense is no longer common
     
  8. wife is a whore

    wife is a whore Stripped of POTY for butthurting staff VIP

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    Randazza's wife is suing the colored porn whore who h8s me because the colored porn whore created some urls in the names of her and their children and repeatedly went on Twitter rants about the Randazza family. I'll provide some links later. The colored porn whore's financial declarations are just sad. Being hot is great, but being batshit crazy closes most of the doors yer hotness opens.
     
  9. PI Nate

    PI Nate Disenfranchised since 1984... Gold

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    I love how eager everyone is to demonize drunken teenagers, but the below behavior was conveniently ignored...:facepalm:

    [​IMG]
     
  10. DogStar69

    DogStar69 Well-Known Member

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    First of all the government did not expel them from school.

    Freedom of speech means that the government can't put you in jail for what you say, not that there are no other consequences.
     
  11. wife is a whore

    wife is a whore Stripped of POTY for butthurting staff VIP

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  12. Trainwreckjm

    Trainwreckjm Well-Known Member

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    Character Assassination!
     
  13. Samurai

    Samurai Well-Known Member VIP

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    Yes, it did. University of Oklahoma is a public school, funded and chartered by the state government. University President Boren can't even change the font on his letterhead if the Oklahoma legislature says otherwise.
    http://www.newrepublic.com/article/...y-racist-video-shouldnt-get-students-expelled
    First part of your sentence is true, second part is "it depends what you really mean." Do you mean the only restraint on government with respect to speech is that they can't throw you in jail? If so, your are grossly incorrect. Governments have enormous powers of coercion besides merely putting you behind bars.

    I'm fine with the public ridicule these students received (up to a certain point...death threats are for assholes). But the students will probably be reinstated during the inevitable court battle that will follow because the university overstepped its bounds.
     
  14. SouthernListen

    SouthernListen I don't follow the crowd. Sorry about that. VIP

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    "PUBLIC SCHOOL"
     
  15. DogStar69

    DogStar69 Well-Known Member

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    You are mixing State and Federal. a business of a school can kick you out or fire you for your speech, but they can't jail you for it. That's the protection and the consequences.
     
  16. hoochieking

    hoochieking Well-Known Member

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    Hey dummy the University of Oklahoma has a right to free speech too.

    Listen to all the other dummies out there:

    THE RIGHT TO FREE SPEECH MEANS THAT THE GOVERNMENT CANNOT IMPRISON YOU FOR SPEAKING YOUR MIND. Nothing else. Your job can fire you, your school can kick you out. Stop crying and grow the fuck up. :c
     
  17. Samurai

    Samurai Well-Known Member VIP

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    You are incorrect, the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution extended the bill of rights application down to state governments as well.

    Now, private schools are allowed to have free speech restrictions, provided they are clearly spelled out at the time of admission.

    U of O is not a private school. They cannot restrict free speech, no matter how offensive or stupid.
     
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  18. hoochieking

    hoochieking Well-Known Member

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    Moron how was that ignored? It was all over the news. Jfc you are one dopey broad.
     
  19. DogStar69

    DogStar69 Well-Known Member

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    :no:
     
  20. skylarbrie

    skylarbrie VIP Extreme Gold

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