People really love dressing up racism as free speech.
I agree. Yet, it still begs the question: is speech free if it is to be restricted out of fear of offense?
I like jokes about blondes, christians, atheists, fat people, thin people, men, women, black people, white people, yellow people, dogs, cats, jews, muslims, republicans, democrats…pretty much anything, as long as its funny.
I’m white, yet I’m secure enough and mature enough to be able to deal with, and laugh at, humor making fun of white people. My wife is black, my two children are mixed. I’m able to laugh at jokes poking fun of black and mixed folks—so is my wife. My wife is handicapped and uses a wheelchair. She likes jokes regarding disabilities just as much as me (remember Handiman from In Living Color?).
Stereotypes can be useful and humorous—which is exactly why members of stereotyped groups often use those same stereotypes to make people laugh. If I had a nickle for every time Kat Williams made fun of himself or other black folk for the silly things found within the stereotype of black folk and made me laugh hard, I’d have enough to buy myself a fancy lunch right about now. Ditto with all the jokes he’s made about white people.
What’s worse, the racist who does nothing more than verbally express his dislike/hatred for other races, or the person who wants to censor unpopular thoughts and ideology for fear of offending the sensitivities of others?
Both are acts of discrimination. Both can lead to physical violence (and I assure you, anyone who came to me and tried to force me to censor my thoughts and speech, save for times when such censorship is appropriate, like when on nation tv with POTUS, they’d probably be rewarded with some form of violence or an other).
I expect the government to protect my liberty to say things. Not just anything, but things that are unpopular and offensive. It isn’t the popular ideas that needs protection. It’s things like my many articles floating around on the internet criticizing religion, the Bible, Christianity, the historicity of Jesus, the government itself, the President of the US (past and present).
That same freedom is used…and abused…by just about every advocacy group out there. Look at the anti-male sexism that is so prominent within online feminist communities, yet these same people who so blindly and eagerly bash and trash men, stereotype and generalize their discrimination of them, are so very, very quick to stand up and and whine and cry about anti-female sexism on the net and media. They demand to have the right to say what they say, yet condemn others for saying similar things about them.
Similar things occur within every community that I’ve ever dropped into: religious, anti-religious, pro-life/pro-choice, and even (especially) forums discussing race and racial issues.
I don’t have to like everything that I hear. I’m all grown up and smart enough to think for myself. When I hear a black comedian on TV making fun of white people for smelling like wet dogs, it’s no skin off my back. I’m a big boy. When I hear a woman on TV making a joke about how men are barely domesticated baboons….hey, it’s usually funny, what the kind of person would I be to expect them to censor themselves because they might hurt my precious little feelings?
Take Rachel Maddow, for example. I thoroughly enjoy her show. I like it a lot, but she frequently takes unwarranted jabs at men. It’s usually not so obvious that you notice it right away, but it’s there. She recently did it very blatantly and without pause in her episode dedicated to schooling one of the Republican presidential candidates on birth control and human reproduction. I only found it ironic that she dedicates so much of her online time persona complaining about male on female sexism, yet never stops to consider her own female on male sexism. But, hey, it was funny stuff. I’m mature enough to understand that.
Now, let me take a quick moment to share a real life experience. As I said, my wife is black and I am white, so our children are mixed. A good friend of mine once made the innocent mistake of referring to my youngest son as a “niglet.” Niglet. Now, I think the term is rather cute and funny. Whether or not my assessment is correct is purely a matter of personal taste.
But, it just so happened that this was MY niglet that he was talking about. (See that, what I just did?) Consequently, his harmless word-joke was offensive to me. I explained this to him. I said, “say that again and I’ll break your nose.” Simple as that. No big deal. I understood he was just making a joke; I made it clear to him that I didn’t want his joke. He can say it all he likes, I just would like him to respect my children and me by not saying it in our presence. All was well, we laughed about it, and proceeded to do what we were doing.
Beating a black man to death because he is black is bad. Dragging a gay man behind a car until he is dead—or just dragging him, period—is bad. Dragging or killing anyone is bad. Saying you dislike gay people or black people (or anyone else), while distasteful, primitive, and symptomatic of low intelligence and a small mind, is nothing more than an expression of opinion.
Should the KKK be free to exist as a non-violent group which promulgates the idea of race supremacy, separation, and a disdain for racial interbreeding?
Opinions will vary on that question, but I think it’s an essential YES, and the KKK is surely one of the most prominent symbols of not just racism, but highly organized and financed racism in our country. Let them say whatever the hell they want. Those with the ability to think clearly, for themselves, and intelligently will recognize their bunk for what it is.
Yes, people like dressing racism up as free speech. That practice put Malcom X in a position of power and influence, even though he later changed his position and backed out of the anti-white club. But, as with the old adage about fitting shoes: if the dress fits, wear it. In most cases, however distasteful, non-violent expressions of racism are still nothing more than a poorly exercised right to speak freely.