The Limits of Free Speech
KENT GREENFIELDMAR 13 2015, 10:54 AM ET
Members of a fraternity at the University of Oklahoma were recently filmed chanting that theyd rather see a black student lynched than as a member of their clan. The now viral video of dapper, privileged white men shouting, There will never be a nigger at SAE, you can hang him from a tree reminds us of our greatest national shame. The chant has been roundly condemned as abhorrent. But after university president David Boren announced the expulsion of two students leading the chants, prominent legal scholars from the right and left have come to their defense. The university is a public institution, they say, and punishing the students for what they saidno matter how vileviolates the First Amendments commitment to uninhibited, robust, and wide-open discourse.
Oklahoma could make a decent argument that the students chant created a hostile educational environment and was thus unprotected speech, but these scholars are likely correct as a predictive matter. If this situation were litigated before the current Supreme Court, the students would almost certainly win. The frat boys howls are reminiscent of the Westboro Baptist Churchs God hates fags protests near military funerals, which the Supreme Court protected a few years ago. And while public university hate-speech codes have never been litigated at the Supreme Court, they have been trounced in lower courts.
Yet is the slippery slope so slick that we cannot fathom any restrictions on the worst speech? Is the slope so steep that we cannot recognize the harms flowing from assertions of privileged hatred subjecting whole populations to fear of violence? Does it really risk tyranny to expel a couple of racist punks?
If that is what the First Amendment means, I dissent.
You can read the whole article here: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/03/the-limits-of-free-speech/387718/
It's a good article posted on another thread by a poster who's intent was to defend racist speech. The article is a clear argument for why we shouldn't.
I may not like the speech, but I defend the right to say it.
who said it here, in his concurrence in the 1927 case Whitney v. California: To courageous, self-reliant men, with confidence in the power of free and fearless reasoning applied through the processes of popular government, no danger flowing from speech can be deemed clear and present unless the incidence of the evil apprehended is so imminent that it may befall before there is opportunity for full discussion. If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence. Only an emergency can justify repression.
or imprisoned for their speech. They violated university rules. The punishment fits the infraction. If it goes to the courts, it should stand.
power to punish speech, regardless of how objectionable you (or I) may find it to be. I don't think it will go to the courts but, if it were to I imagine it would not stand as a violation of the 1st Amendment.
there are lots of rules and policies to follow. Students that break rules are punished. These students broke the rules and were appropriately punished.
if your're a government actor. A State university is a government actor. Private universities don't have the same issue.
the rules are there to create a safe and learning environment for students. Rules for fraternities are even stricter. Parents and students are aware of these rules when they enter the school.
Acting like an asshole may get you expelled, a racist fraternity should definitely be shut down. Life in the real world. Just like the Duck Dynasty jerk or Paula Dean.
his/her speech except under extremely limited circumstances. This isn't one of those. As to "the rules", if the rules don't involve speech or if the university is not a governmental one, then it's between the university and the offenders. But that isn't the case here. The fact that students and parents may 'be aware of the rules when they enter school' is irrelevant when the rule itself violates the First Amendment.
called a State Actor. (First Amendment applies to actions of the States as well as to those of the Federal Government by virtue of the 14th Amendment). So yes, Constitutional prohibitions apply to this case
that black students be granted full and equal access to the benefits of the university system, and part of that means each and every student who matriculates is bound by this obligation--they may not deny their fellow students the full enjoyment of the benefits of the system on the basis of race.
Ergo, they are not allowed to discriminate, nor are they allowed to create an atmosphere where black students are made to feel unsafe or harassed on the basis of their race.
They can't follow black students around with "n!gger go home" signs for example. Even though that's speech, that shit is not protected.
off any kind they were in a bus where no black students were present. And they weren't following black students around with "nigger go home" signs, although I would argue that that would also be protected speech.
harassment, intimidation, and menacing of African-American students?
the facts of this to fit by using hyperbolic language. They weren't harassing, intimidating or menacing anyone.
They sang that, and encouraged others to sing it.
So, they were not only stating that they had discriminated and would continue to discriminate on the basis of race, they were encouraging their peers to also engage in such blatantly illegal discrimination.
At this point, you're on the border of playing dumb with this.
All-white fraternity with members boasting how they maliciously discriminated on the basis of race, specifically by excluding other university students because those students were black.
Those members participated in illegal discrimination. If they wanted to contest the expulsion, they could have, but didn't. Had they decided to contest it, they would have had their university email accounts examined by the university's legal team, and they would have had to testify, and their friends would have had to testify.
discriminated' nor were they 'encouraging their peers to also engage'. That's not how the law works. Perhaps a fraternity whose members 'boasted how they maliciously discriminated on the basis of race' could be charged under some anti-discrimination statute but, once again that's not what's under discussion here. What is under discussion, plain and simple is that two university students were punished by a state-sponsored institution of higher learning for something they said. Nothing more. Since it is a state-sponsored institution it is legally the government for the purposes of First Amendment analysis. And the government punished them for things they said - not did. And that violates the First Amendment.
Since you are so determined to argue on behalf of these racist scumbags that you ignore the plain meaning of what they admitted when they said those words, this conversation is over.
have said (and repeated, ad nauseam is exactly what the law says. Furthermore, your contention notwithstanding there is no "admission" to anything in what they are reported to have said. They are being punished only for the words they said (sang). And that, whether you like it or not, and whether you choose to accept it or not, is where the law of the land was violated.
There will never be a n*gg*r in SAE.
You can hang him from a tree, but he can never sign with me
There will never be a n*gg*r in SAE.
is not evidence that they are engaged in racial discrimination.
have you ever had any black clients?
As an actual lawyer, I can tell you that this kind of tape is not only evidence, it's a fucking smoking gun that lawyers dream about being able to put in front of a trier of fact.
Fact A: No blacks admitted since 2002.
Fact B: They joyfully chanted about how there will never be any blacks in their fraternity, citing lynchings with the line "he won't sign with me."
You really ought to read up on the concept of evidence. Maybe a CLE is required.
what the tape is "evidence" of? If you were trying to make some half-assed case that SAE as a fraternity discriminated against blacks. this might make a fairly unimportant comment in a closing argument. It is certainly not a "smoking gun" (a term which, BTW real lawyers never use). But what you apparently refuse to recognize is that we're not talking about SAE here, only about two students who were pledging that fraternity. (In case you were never in a fraternity, a pledge is an aspiring member of an organization, not a full-fledged member and much less with any ability whatsoever to influence the actions of a local or national governing body.) So, to keep insisting that these two boys themselves discriminated solely by singing a stupid racist ditty as part of the asshole stunts one goes through when pledging doesn't even pass the laugh test.
You keep desperately trying to dodge the real issue here, i.e. the punishment of these two boys for what they said, not anything they did by conflating punishment for speaking with acts of racial discrimination. If you have some case law that says that this type of speech is racial discrimination please cite to it. However, unless you're prepared to provide some real evidence (as opposed to your opinion what you think the law should be) or that these two students either engaged in or were directly responsible for some type of illegalconduct, let's stop beating that dead horse.
And thanks for the suggestion but I really don't need any refresher course on Evidence. Been doing this a long, long time.
that song, and encouraging others to do the same? That is more than enough to justify expulsion.
Moreover, there was a bus full of these racist shitheads. Most lucky enough to be facing away from the camera.
Moreover, they have said they were taught this song (obviously). Given that it's an SAE-specific song and they are SAE pledges, a sensible person can infer where they learned it.
The national fraternity has confirmed this, stating that:
Combine that with a decade of no black pledges, and they'd be very, very, very hard pressed to make a showing they weren't engaged in discrimination.
You are free to maintain that the only victims here are the rich white trash caught on video. Good luck with that.
use the term "smoking gun." Not in front of a court, but in prep certainly.
Also, just because someone isn't reflexively inclined to see racist rich white trash is the victim doesn't mean they're not a lawyer.
But Borens explanation for the expulsion rests on a different theory. He said specifically that the students were being expelled for their leadership role in leading a racist and exclusionary chant, which has created a hostile educational environment for others.
The important words here are hostile educational environment. Under federal anti-discrimination law, as interpreted by the Department of Education, a university has an affirmative duty to guarantee students an educational environment in which they are free of hostility based on race or sex.
You may have heard about this principle in connection with Title IX, which prohibits discrimination based on sex. The law has similarly been interpreted by Education Department to require universities to protect students against a hostile educational environment based on sex discrimination, including sexual harassment.1
In the business context, the analogy would be to an employers obligation to protect against a hostile workplace environment.
So Boren was saying that the students are being expelled not for their opinions per se, but because their speech was a form of discriminatory conduct that would create a hostile educational environment for black students. Given that the speech was literally designed to inculcate the value of racial discrimination by making pledges recite their commitment never to admit a black member to the fraternity, this conclusion seems plausible. Removing the chant leaders from campus is aimed to fulfill the educational goal of creating a nonhostile educational environment.
Too bad your side lost this debate.
very malleable concept and that bothers me. The day after tomorrow with a Rethuglican President, Congress and Supreme Court (not a forgone possibility!) who knows what could be criminalized as 'hate speech'? Certainly a lot of what I read posted on DU could conceivably fit that bill. I'm a great believer that there's no right not to be offended by someone else's speech. Instead, the remedy for objectionable speech is more speech, not shutting it down.
"hate speech" is a subjective and arbitrary definition.
There are no "laws against hate speech" in the US. There are specific additional punishments for crimes deemed 'hate crimes', but that is different- the speech itself cannot be a crime.
does not include joining a fraternity.
university system. Just like every university-recognized student group is.
It is illegal for any fraternity on a public university to discriminate on the basis of race.
Flat out illegal.
It's two students, based on their individualm speech. And there is no "RIGHT" you or I have to belong to any private group.
There is no right to a specific job, but there is a RIGHT to not be excluded from that job because one is black.
Are you seriously disputing that? if so, you are essentially denying that civil rights for black people exist.
Fraternities on public campuses are notprivate organizations that retain full constitutional rights--they waive a great many of them by being formally associated with the university. While truly private organizations can discriminate on who they let join, fraternities on public campuses do not have that right. Quite the contrary, they have an affirmative obligation to ensure they're not discriminating.
And universities have an affirmative obligation to prevent discrimination by fraternities.
And, individual students who carry out racial discrimination policies within the fraternity are personally liable for their own conduct, which here was in violation of the student code.
aren't keeping your eye on the ball. First of all, prohibiting discriminating in hiring does not violate any provision of the Constitution. Prohibiting speech does. Neither fraternities nor their members waive their constitutional rights when they establish chapters at universities and, if they were required to do so, that action would rapidly be found to be unconstitutional. We're not talking about discrimination in this example - we're talking about free speech.
to a policy of excluding African-Americans.
If you don't see that as evidence of racial discrimination, there's no hope for you.
Discrimination on the basis of race for fraternity membership has been illegal for 61 years.
The remedy is that the school loses federal funding if it allows the illegal conduct to continue.
in the illegal conduct, ergo they cured the violation.
If a code of conduct says you can get expelled for smoking dope in the dorms, the University's punishment (expulsion) is separate from criminal prosecution.
terms of service.
WHERE will it ever stop??????
they can't try to make the lives of racial minorities and women miserable
P.S. if a student is an axe murderer, a school can expel them. Duh.
isn't a special circumstance? Holy crap, is there any speech the university could take action over? Can a fraternity sing songs about raping girls?
the answer to your question is "No". But let me qualify that by saying that this only applies in the case of a state-funded institution. Private institutions are legally free (a bad idea, IMO) to punish any type of speech they deem inappropriate at any given moment. The First Amendment only applies to the government regulating speech, not private entities.
singing that stupid song crossed "a line", but "that line" is subjective, in this case reflecting your own likes and dislikes. That's not how the 1st Amendment works. The law does not permit the government to punish you for stupid or offensive speech. The categories of speech that are not protected by law are extremely limited. This isn't one of them.
The courts have ruled that "true threats" do not receive First Amendment protection. They've struggled in the past over where to draw the line between protected speech and threats of criminal violence. I think this is closer to the line than you might.
"You can...hang them" directly prescribes murder.
imminent action. Singing "you can hang them" is not clearly a threat and certainly not an incitement to any imminent action.
And the definition of a "true threat" is far more muddled than you suggest.
Furthermore, if this case were to go to court, the court would almost certainly consider the specific case in its specific context, that is, the context of a university president expelling students for making threatening and hostile speech.
Multiple court rulings have proposed tests for threatening speech. Sandra Day O'Connor weighed in in 2003
True threats encompass those statements where the speaker means to communicate a serious expression of an intent to commit an act of unlawful violence to a particular individual or group of individuals. The speaker need not actually intend to carry out the threat. Rather, a prohibition on true threats protect[s] individuals from the fear of violence and from the disruption that fear engenders, in addition to protecting people from the possibility that the threatened violence will occur. - Sandra Day O'Connor. Virginia v Black (2003)
(EDIT: the context could also include actual violence that has taken place on university campuses, as well as a university president's obligation to create a safe environment.)
And Sandra Day's dicta notwithstanding, how do you get to a "serious expression of 1) an intent (and that's the key word here to commit 2) an act of unlawful violence-
What proof of "serious intent to commit" an act of unlawful violence?
What "act of violence" was actually being threatened?
Where do you find a serious intent of anything from a couple of drunk 19 year olds singing a stupid, racist fraternity ditty? And, what was the "act of unlawful violence - specifically - that these two were intended to commit then and there on a particular group of individuals?
Those are key facts must proved in order to even get to the threshold of punishing otherwise protected speech. And I at least have seen absolutely zero facts that prove either of these two conditions
Is it because they were a bunch of well-heeled white kids. Is that why you're certain that they weren't expressing any serious intent? All of them? Was there one or more in the bunch with especially intense hostility toward "niggers"? How many acts of racial violence have been committed nationwide by students like these fraternity boys? Do you know? I don't have the exact answer, but I can say with confidence that it ain't zero.
What about the university president? Do you suggest he or she should just check with you whenever they need to gauge the seriousness of a threat of racial violence?
The court, if it comes to that, will consider the obligation of a university president, specifically, to address student behavior that expresses generalized hostility and threats of violence.
Facts please, not opinions or personal conclusions.
I don't know if there [was] one or more in the bunch with especially intense hostility toward "niggers" and, even if I did, that question is irrelevant to the case against these two students. Likewise I don't know how many acts of violence have been committed nationwide by fraternity boys but, once again, the question is legally irrelevant. You cannot convict these boys based on vague accusations and supposed acts of some people perhaps similarly situated to them. The only issue is what have these two boys themselves done that merits the severe punishment of expulsion. And so far, the only honest, factual answer is that they sang a stupid, offensive racist song in the confines of a bus and only in the presence of other members of their fraternity, none of whom were African American.
As to Boren, you will see that he is already backing water (after listening to his attorneys) and is ow trying to dress his illegal action up with a new, pseudo-justification of 'racial discrimination'. This is undoubtedly because his attorneys told him that his actions violated the First Amendment. And, just to once again be clear about it, you have so far pointed to absolutely NO actual, tangible threat of racial violence made by these boys. To suggest that there is based on the facts as they have been reported up to now is just dishonest.
I don't post much, but I've been here since the beginning. I like to try to defend free speech. I must say that this topic does get most of my limited posts, and I will say that overwhelmingly I am continually disappointed that most always there is a lack of free speech advocacy here. This is but an example.
People continue to see speech they don't like and will twist anything to get it banned.
Which disappoints me greatly.
My speech is fine but I'm not so sure about yours. And if you say something that really grates on me, well, maybe you shouldn't be allowed to say that.
The law does not protect people from rude, crude, or offensive speech. The whole "hate speech" issue is like trying to nail Jello to a tree. But when a college kid gets buzzed and, trying to curry favor from his 'superiors' while desperately trying to get accepted into a club sings a stupid racist ditty that's probably been around since his Grandfather was in short pants it becomes a case not for some reasonable punishment but Ground Zero expulsion, no questions asked. The University's problem here was that it's a State school so it's a government actor and therefore constrained in actions like this by the protections of the First Amendment. If it had been Harvard, they could have tossed the boys without a fare-thee-well.
I would think there are due process problems as well here. Maybe there was a hearing but I am not aware of one.
But as this applies to Free Speech; I, too, believe that OU as a Public Institution, is limited from acting on this issue. I believe that in the near future some enterprising lawyers will talk with these ex-students, and that this will be a case to which I will pay very close attention.
Hell yes what they sang was racist, hell yes it was offensive.
Which is why it should never be banned by any agency representing the State.
I'll say it again, for a Left-Leaning Message Board, there is a real dearth of First Amendment Supporters around here.
The letter notifying them of the decision gave them precise details on how to appeal. Presumably they waived that hearing, which will likely be lethal to any litigation.
engaging in illegal racial discrimination and pushing others to do so is conduct, not mere speech.
You have the hearing first, then if desired an appeal.
If they did not get a hearing, and I'm not certain if they did, it'd going to be a BIG problem.. They may have waived it, but I don't know one way or another.
But the important thing is that Due Process is followed for everybody, no matter what they've done.
Before the expulsion went into effect.
They did not avail themselves of that opportunity. Which means they waived it.
Which was wise, as their position was untenable. They 'd have been forced to rat out whoever taught them the song as well as every person who was on the bus, as well as testifying why they felt comfortable dropping the n-bomb on a full charter bus full of their frat brothers.
While keeping themselves in the spotlight.
And then they still would have been expelled.
hearing before lowering the boom on them but Boren is first, last and always a politician whose gut instinct was to get out in front of a very embarrassing episode for his university. So he threw due process out the window and here we are. And you are absolutely right that OU as a Public Institution is constrained in limiting its students speech by the First Amendment. I have no idea if the students or their families will later choose to sue OU. I suppose it depends on who they listen to the most. They may want to just ignore it and get on with their lives but, if this starts having repercussions on the boys' lives (i.e. not being accepted at other universities because of this) that could change. And you are as right as rain that the government has no business trying to suppress songs students sing, whether they are patriotic, religious, political or just downright offensive to everyone and his brother. Speech should only be banned in the extremely limited circumstances that have been determined over two plus centuries of U.S. jurisprudence and never except under those limited circumstances.
The real proof of a genuine DU'er, at least to my way of thinking, is one who so respects the First Amendment of the Constitution that (s)he is willing to support what it says even when in cases where the speech in question is horribly offensive, shocking and enraging to them personally. There does seem to be a dearth of those posting on the subject.
it goes on to say:
The way we interpret the First Amendment need not be simplistic and empty of nuance, and was not always so. The Supreme Court unanimously held over eighty years ago that those words which by their very utterance inflict injury are no essential part of any exposition of ideas. And in 1952 the Court upheld an Illinois statute punishing false or malicious defamation of racial and religious groups. These rulings, while never officially reversed, have shrunk to historical trinkets. But they mark a range of the possible, where one can be a staunch defender of full-throated discourse but still recognize the difference between dialogue and vomitus.
Try reading the entire article. It's well argued.
and this being a state university, which receives federal/state funds, then I suspect that if this goes to a court, the university will lose on 1A grounds.
where I can see them and avoid them.
Besides, it's the only way truly unpopular speech like left wing economics can be protected from governmental censorship.
I want to meet them head on and challenge them on their racist views.
about protecting speech that isnt offensive.
The reason you set out to protect speech is to protect the most vile of all.
ramifications for expressing free speech.
I have no idea what, if anything, a university can do regards the speech in this case.
Revoking the charter seems legal to me but expelling the students doesnt.
Speech always occurs within a larger set of facts and circumstances.
to be members and the refusal would be on the basis of race. Seems to me that while the fraternity might be able to say horrible things about African-Americans, if they, as the song said, refuse membership based on race, then they are discriminating based on race. And it would seem to me that the university could ban or in other words not recognize the university affiliation of any group that discriminated based on race.
So in that way, what the university president did was not exactly punishing speech or depriving someone of their right to free speech, but rather enforcing the law that prohibits public universities or their member affiliates from discriminating based on race.
But we should make them pariahs. Speech should be met with more speech, not forcibly suppressed by government. I choose not to empower our government to police the content of speech, no thank you.
the point is, should their punishment stand or not based on "free speech." They didn't violate laws, they violated university policy and were appropriately punished. If they sue, it's to have the punishment lifted based on "free speech." I don't think that should be the decision here.
but it's true, they broke no law, just the university's code of conduct and they were appropriately disciplined.
black letter law. no ambiguity.
where our newly-registered friend is confused is in his belief that every illegal act can be punished by a criminal sentence.
Some guy can't start shouting at a crowd using the n-word and pointing at blacks, "Lynch those no good *beep* *beep*! Come on, let's get them!"
That would be incitement, at least I think so.
which are not protected by the First Amendment.
Free speech shouldn't be contingent on whether there is a recording or not.
The racist song sung by the frat boys was clearly not "fighting words".
they are students at a university with certain policies that were violated. The fraternity exists only with the consent of the university. No one was charged with a crime. The punishment was appropriate for the offense.
It's as simple as that.
Do politicians decide?
What will Republicans hold as free speach when they have control?
The right to say disgusting things protects the right to say the correct thing.
Some judges are elected, as with political office.
Some judges rode with the KKK.
Still trust judges?
In my own post I asked for clarification. If we are going to limit free speech as they do in Europe who gets to decide what the limits are?
The Current Republican Congress with a President of like mind would have very different ideas about what speech is acceptable.
I have a strong dislike of racism of all flavors, whether white supremacists rhetoric, racial epithets, anti-Semitism, or any other brand.
Under the Bush Administration, the President set up "Free Speech Zones" where protestors could have their free speech and he never had to see or hear it.
So if someone is going to suggest putting limits on free speech, I would like to know how they propose making sure that someone does not add limits to free speech most of us would equate with tyranny.
it would be alerted on, and a jury would decide, and it might well be "banned"--that is hidden.
And if the poster made a regular practice out of posting racist rants, MIRT or the administrators would indeed ban them from posting.
You have a problem with that?
was to demonstrate that things will be labeled whatever label is necessary to suppress free speech.
If it becomes a practice to ban offensive speech those who disagree with what is being said will (mis)apply whatever label is required to shutdown whoever it is they disagree with. This fact seems so absolutely apparent that anyone arguing in favor of speech codes is more than likely already aware of it. Yet those proposing speech codes have apparently decided their position is so ironclad they will still go forward with making the proposition. That being said, one way of demonstrating the folly of their proposition is to offer a practical demonstration of the abuse the proposition invites.
You oppose ALL "speech codes"? So if someone at my worksite follows me around all day yelling "n*gg*r n*gg*r n*gg*r!!!", you would defend that as an instance of "free speech"? This would seem to me to be a clear example of "demonstrating the folly of (your) proposition" in that I am now offering "a practical demonstration of the abuse the proposition invites."
Do you also oppose efforts by the administrators of DU to keep these discussions free of obvious right wing trolls?
the First Amendment only applies to government action. In the private sphere, if someone at your work site follows you around yelling whatever, I imagine it's a fast trip to HR and then escorted off the premises. If you work for a government, then I imagine an action could be brought against the offender for creating a hostile work environment. This is only a free speech issue here because the university is State run and is therefore an agency of the government.
(equal protection under the law) and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (the students were openly saying that no African Americans would ever be allowed into their fraternity--a statement apparently supported by the fact that there are NO African Americans in their chapter).
To allow such behavior at a public institution would be a violation of both these statutes.
Hence, the students' expulsion, and hence the students not even bothering to contest it, either administratively (they were offered that option) or in court--at least not as yet.,
Besides which, I was responding to Nuclear Unicorn when he said he was opposed to ANY speech code, pretty much anywhere. I wanted him to clarify just such a distinction as you make, but thus far he hasn't.
nor is it a violation of the Civil Rights Act. The students' expulsion was, I believe, illegal as a clear violation of the First Amendment. There are many reasons why they may have chosen not to sue, at least not yet. Certainly no one in their right mind would subject themselves to an administrative appeal, particularly when it was the University President who fixed their punishment at expulsion. That fact is not indicative of anything.
and the Civil Rights Act both apply, which is why the university acted so promptly--not wanting to risk the very real danger of either a lawsuit filed on behalf of minority students, or a Justice Dept. probe of their compliance with the Act. (I also think the wording of the Civil Rights Restoration Act of 1988 would come in to play here).
We have to agree to disagree on this. The only way it will be truly resolved is if the students file suit, which they may or may not do. Until then this is all speculation.
and held in custody for their offense, I'd be the first one out there screaming free speech. They did not. They are students at a state university and members of a fraternity that exists at the pleasure of the university.
The boys were expelled and the frat house closed because the president of the university decided to take a stand against racist speech. He took a legal stand as a president of a university charged with the safety and peaceful learning environment of all students regardless of race, religion, etc. This frat house disrupted that mission. The president acted appropriately.
The boys have no criminal record. Their lives are disrupted, not ruined. Racism ruins lives. I am so encouraged by this university president who did the right thing here.
Frankly, I'm pretty shocked at how vigorously these boys are defended here. To me this is no different than the duck dynasty guy or Paula Dean. People can be as stupid and racist as they want, that's their freedom, but hate speech does not have to be tolerated in private or public venues. They deserve to be publicly shamed and shunned.
I learned that the courts protected Fox from
the fact that "news" could include lies due
to a lack of a more stringent definition.
But they also bring a lot of incitement into
their presentations, and yet it is legal? Why is
this not considered the same way as screaming
fire in a theater?
this was treated for quite a time on the
Thom Hartman show.
If it was not a court though, who allowed
Fox to win? And win they did.
In fact, someone could claim YOU lied by suggesting that the courts decided something that they didn't.
And Fox won a case arising out of an employment dispute between a husband-wife investigative reporter team and a local tv station in Tampa FL (not Fox News) where the plaintiffs alleged that they were fired for accusing Fox of engaging in illegal news distortion; the mid-level state appeals court construed the state "whistleblower" statute as only applying in cases where the underlying accusations involved an alleged violation of a law or rule; because the FCC has no formal rule against news distortion, only a policy, the court found that the whistleblower statute didn't apply. As it turns out, the FCC did consider whether the station had violated the news distortion policy and concluded that the dispute was an editorial dispute not a case of news distortion.
Finally, the concept of yelling fire in a crowded theater is from a 1919 case that has been substantially limited by subsequent cases since then, most notably the Brandenburg v. Ohio case in 1969. The article cited in the OP does a fairly decent job in explaining how narrow the exceptions to the First Amendment are.
It is easy to condemn them because their chant was so vile. However, I do see a slippery slope where authoritarians can hijack the issue in the interests of "harmony or civility". Free speech is often hateful and divisive, but I will defend the rights of crackpots to spew their shit. Besides, it makes them easier to identify for condemnation or avoidance.
Kids will be kids, and frat boys do stupid things.
A temporary exclusion and some kind of community would have met the case.
Expulsing frat boys flat out over words, however silly and obnoxious?
Sounds like overreaction.
Let's let go of bombastic principles of free speech vs racism,
and just offer down to earth proportional punishment for a disgusting but minor offense.
that he broke four bones in her face.
That was a football player who did that assault, and therefore deserved a second chance. Because football.
who gave an appropriate punishment for vile behavior in violation of university policy. The racists weren't arrested or charged with any crime. The boys will go on with their lives and hopefully the swift and unequivocal actions of the university president will somehow sink in and change them.
In any event, in this case it may be a moot point since it is my understanding that the two students withdrew from the University, thus making the "expulsion" irrelevant.
The discrimination against potential members of a university organization based on race is the problem, not the speech.
If the SAE at University of Oklahoma actually has African-American members and does not really discriminate, then the words are just the words of an old, irrelevant song. But the words state that the SAE at the U. of Oklahoma discriminates. That is grounds to prohibit the group from the university because if they discriminate based on race, they are breaking the law.
They asked for this problem by singing the song and thereby announcing that they discriminate based on race. The words of the song are not the problem. The discrimination is. It is against the law for organizations in public universitites to discriminate based on race.
for violating the law.
law enforcement was never involved. The boys were expelled for acting like thugs while students as a university with rules. They violated rules and were punished. It happens all the time. Their lives are disrupted, not ruined. Racism ruins lives.
The president of the university is wise enough to know that.
which specifically stated: "The words of the song are not the problem. The discrimination is. It is against the law for organizations in public universitites to discriminate based on race."
But thank you for jumping in with your off-point input.
I should add that this entire discussion is merely hypothetical since I've not heard that the students are pursuing legal relief and, indeed, it has been reported that they withdrew from the university, which suggests that they waived any procedural due process rights that they might have.
But if they hadn't withdrawn and decided to fight this, the answer would be not nearly so clear as some here seem to think it is. That's not to say the students would prevail against OU, just that any decent lawyer would be able to pose a number of questions that raise issues that are not frivolous in any case where a state actor takes action against an individual for their speech.
I don't believe this is hypothetical and I'm discouraged that so many people feel these students who are part of a university body, in a fraternity sanctioned by the university, should have every right to offend and denigrate their fellow students without punishment based on free speech.
Just my off point opinion. Sorry for jumping in.
The discrimination against potential members of a university organization based on race is the problem, not the speech.
This sentence would be true if the frat boys had been the deans of the University.
If a University dean declares 'I'll never let in minorities', he deserves to be sacked.
If frat boys sing whatever, however rude and dumb, it's just silliness.
It is a violation of the University's code of conduct.
Free speech is not free from consequence.
However, Sigma Alpha Epsilon's national organization should revoke this chapter's charter.
Do you agree with their chant? Do you believe it was behavior that represented their local chapter and the national fraternity in a good way?
Edit to add: you really need to write a better response than "I disagree". I made two points and you disagreed with both of them.
I think the president made a courageous decision to apply the policies of the university in a way that would leave no doubt in anyone's mind. The president did his job.
And, yes, I agree. The chapter's charter should be revoked.
but since it is a state university, I think they are protected by the 1st Amendment.
in racial discrimination, it is not protected by the first amendment any more than a signed confession is.
You know that pledges aren't actual members of the fraternity with the power to approve or deny additional members, yes?
You seem to be conflating the actions of two pledges with the actions of the fraternity.
Why is that?
comfortable singing that song at an official event, and excluded black students for the past 14 years.
Moreover, these racist rich white trash punks were actively and gleefully helping perpetuate this Jim Crow culture on campus, urging others to join them in their promise to discriminate against black people.
Honestly, there are people in that fraternity more deserving of expulsion than these little junior varsity KKK members, but this is a start.
the entire frat was a tumor that needed to be amputated.
The purported actions of the fraternity (actionable if true) are separate from the actions of two pledges not in a position to actually do what you're claiming they did.
A kid can sing the theme song to Davy Crockett. That doesn't mean they're guilty of poaching a bear.
excluding black students.
They participated in that conspiracy. Their co-conspirators--those who taught them that song, those that made them feel comfortable singing it, those engaged in the discrimination--should all be bounced as well.
I find it very odd that people who claim to be progressive find racial discrimination at a public university to be unworthy of harsh sanctions, and who think participation in such discrimination is really no big deal and something every white person has an absolute right to engage in.
You've been schooled by actual lawyers up-thread about law and continue to ignore it.
If what you assert is true (*snicker*) then the administration is remiss in not applying the same punishment to all members of the *cough* conspiracy.
Why aren't you grabbing a pitchfork and demanding the expulsion of the *cough* co-conspirators?
I mean, if what you assert is true, anything less is supporting the *cough* conspiracy.
Of course, it could be that you've wharrgarbled yourself into a corner and can only double down.
Some of us on DU prefer strong protections for speech because we know there will be other idiots like Bush who want to make more 'free speech zones' or their philosophical children the norm.
Imagine a France-like 'disparagement of religion' law here. Then imagine Westboro using that law to get counter-protests shut down.
Or a religious group campaigning against marriage equality based on their religious beliefs. Now imagine the lawsuits they could bring against their detractors.
Short-sighted, naive idiocy.
If they can identify the ones who taught them the song, they certainly should be expelled.
Your interest is clearly only in protecting the interests of privileged white people, and you lack any interest at all in actual civil rights violations and discrimination.
And, guns, of course. Gotta protect the guns.
Also, genius, google "hostile environment civil rights" if you think white guys just get to say whatever the fuck they want, whenever the fuck they want, without having any consequences. Sorry, white dudes, you don't get to discriminate without recriminations.
You guys are not fooling anyone.
You in particular seem to hold the position that criticizing racists is worse than being a fucking racist.
So, yeah, your agenda is pretty clear.
As I expected, doubled down.
One of my interests is in protecting all civil rights- I don't pick and choose like some folks.
I probably know more about Black Codes, the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments, CRA, CRA II, and Jim Crow than you'll ever know.
as if they're doing something wrong, but don't actually have anything bad to say about racists, or racism, or discrimination, or anything like that.
You scolded people for being offended by racism. You didn't criticize racism, only those exercising their first amendment right to criticize it.
That is known as a "tell."
From your entire posting history, you care about:
A. The second Amendment
B. The first amendment if it's white racists saying/doing something awful.
C. The second amendment
If you've ever indicated your support for doing something about the violation of African-Americans' civil rights, please post a link.
If you're not competent to determine the difference, perhaps you should educate yourself.
The answer to bad speech is good speech.
Free clue:see my posts of the racist stop-and-frisk policies of the NYC, or the schoolcraft tapes.
Lol, you even fall short on your attempted scolding.
were horrified at the possibility of a white supremacist billboard in Ferguson. Not because they were advocating anything unconstitutional.
And here you are sputtering because white racists are being held accountable for their conduct.
.. because of their racist speech.
Did you mean to reply in another thread?
You certainly did your best to keep them in their place.
.. b) find a post of mine in another thread you don't like. (Which also shows my support of the first amendment.)
Okay, distractions set aside.
You were saying? Care to get back to *this* thread, or are you still flailing through my history to find something else you don't like?
busted putting Jim Crow back in place ought to be expelled from a state university.
You, obviously, are more concerned with the right of white students to implement Jim Crow than you are with the minority students whose rights would be violated.
You never got that whole baby and bath-water thing, did you?
to Jim Crow a campus.
First it's flat out discrimination. What, these were pledges with no power to deny membership?
Well then, it's a conspiracy to discriminate, I tell ya! Wait, that means there are co-conspirators?
I know, it's a hostile work environment.
Hint: maybe you should actually read up on some of that well-established law before trying to pin the tail on that particular donkey.
there was actual discrimination, and intent to perpetuate that discrimination, going so far as to encourage others to join in a culture of discrimination.
And, yes an environment where frat members openly sing songs about lynching black people and brag about illegally discriminating against them contributes to and is without doubt an indicator of a hostile environment.
What you refuse to see (because you do not see any of their conduct as harmful) is that the hostile environment and per se discrimination are in fact intertwined--exclusion leads to a culture of racism and intolerance which leads to more exclusion.
You have been incredibly articulate in stating your belief that no one in that frat did anything that merited any kind of punishment, that excluding black students and leading racist chants and promising to exclude any and all black students going forward and encouraging others to engage in racial discrimination is all just a bunch of free speech that black folks should just stop whining about.
Those of us who think "separate but equal" needs to remain illegal disagree.
P.S. the very first provision of the code of conduct every OU student signs is that they won't do anything to contribute to a hostile learning environment. The jv KKKlansmen violated that code.
Keep your fingers out of my mouth- I don't know where they've been.
Free clue- I was one of the folks protesting at Rice's home last Thursday.
See how that works? Good speech as counter to bad speech.
Swing and a miss from you.. again.
It's not so slippery a slope to see the next step being 'disparagement or ridicule of religion' a la France.
As if 'there were no charges' sets the bar..
so not a good comparison.
If offensive speech should not be protected the statement then becomes, offensive speech should be punished. That is the only purpose of removing the protection.
So what does that look like in practical terms and what happens when someone refuses to abide by the new rules?
That is, until they all leave because of the constant harassment and incitement directed against them.
And after all the jews are forced to flee, I guess then it'll be kind of a moot point, because there won't be any more Jews left to object to the hate speech
making comments considered disparaging of Islam and Muslims. It's some law about not criticizing religion in general (as opposed to protecting any one religion in particular). She has been tried and convicted as well. So far she hasn't done any jail time because the government is probably too embarrassed at the thought of imprisoning a popular, elderly celebrity.
The fact that Ms. Bardot can be rousted so often yet the Jews in France are allowed to be menaced to the point of fleeing seems to indicate the law is unevenly applied thus becoming a de facto state sanction of anti-Semitism.
That would be yet another classic concern about speech codes.
So, I repeat my original inquiry: What, exactly, are we being asked to embrace?
due to their race, etc, that should be proscribed.
Professors should not be allowed to refer to blacks as the n-word in class, for example. You agree with that, correct?
A free society, by its definition, is a thing filled with disagreements because, by definition, people are free to disagree. People do express their disagreements in ways that are taken as hurtful to those with whom they disagree.
Twice now I have asked to know what it is we have been asked to embrace. Twice now the answer has been avoided. That has every appearance of being nothing more than, "Let me do what I think is best. Trust me."
Those who hesitate to define the limits of the power they ask for are those we should ignore for are own benefit. I'm sure they will then denounce me with whatever labels it is they think they want to use to silence dissent under the auspices they seek.
follow black students around campus with "N!gger go home" signs?
Do you think cross-burnings should be allowed on college campuses?
The answer remains: No. You are not to be trusted. You will not end discrimination you will simply introduce the forms you subjectively approve of.
I asked much the same question above (see post #88), which you also chose not to answer.
So I'll ask it again.
If someone at my job follows people around saying "n*gg*r n*gg*r N*gg*r" you would defend that as "free speech"?
It's not a difficult question, is it?
It's a repugnant, hateful word. It's not like we aren't all adults here or that we somehow don't know what it is you're writing. Yet, you truncated the spelling. The use of asterisks didn't diminish the sound of it in my mind. It's not like you are using that word to hurt people -- just the opposite. You are trying to affirm the principles that we are all human beings deserving freedom, respect and the right to live our lives without others taking action against us. Your intention is the best possible intentions -- and yet, you seem hesitant to speak frankly and openly.
You should be one of the last people to hesitate to speak your mind freely. Yet, here we are.
My objection isn't about worrying the word, "nigger" will fall into disuse. I'd be delighted if no one ever felt inclined to say such things ever again. My concern is good speech, proper speech -- such as yours -- will be diminished because people will become hesitant to openly speak their minds even when they ought to -- just like you.
To answer your question -- I cannot answer your question. As an anarchist I believe the law is an instrument of oppression more than it is a tool of freedom because the law is derived from people, particularly people who want power over others. That very fact makes the motives of any law suspect and so far in this thread my interlocutors have affirmed everything I told them they would say.
Laws cannot make people good. The law cannot make someone NOT follow another person around screaming racist epithets. A person who decides to do that is going to do it regardless of what the law says -- assuming the law says anything/the correct thing and anyone else is listening to the law. (However, the law might stop a good person from busting the racist in the mouth because the good person fears going to jail).
I am a person inherently born free and self-determining. Only The Law can diminish this and it always does so by force/threat of force. I am being asked to endorse some THING wherein people I do not know and have no authority over can adjudicate undefined terms by undefined standards to impose undefined punishments. I foresee much danger to people -- all people, including people of color -- in endorsing such things under such terms.
who might be in some way traumatized by seeing it spelled out in full. As someone who is the survivor of extreme trauma, I'm sensitive to how language can work to re-stimulate such trauma. That this is so, and that such precautions can be necessary, probably requires a leap of empathy for those who have never had those kinds of experiences. As it is, I'd rather err on the side of sensitivity and consideration for my readers, rather than smear particular words or images in someone's face, just to make a point, particularly since, as you say, I'm able to make that point without being so insensitive.
Interesting that you bring up the notion that "laws cannot make people good." Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. faced precisely this argument when he advocated for passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. But the idea of the law isn't necessarily to make "bad" people "good" (or more to the point, to make racists see the error of their ways). The point of the law is to enable people who have a history of being oppressed to live their lives with less repression. Somewhere I have a copy of King addressing this by saying, basically, "I don't care if the guy who owns the gas station I want to use is a racist. I just want to be able to use the rest room, and have my children use the rest room. I'll leave saving the racist's soul for some other day." Similarly, I'm less concerned about the state of mind of these racist frat members, than I am about other people at the university who have to deal with the fallout from their racist bullshit, who have to swim in the toxic environment to which these Bozos are so happy to contribute.
"The law cannot make someone NOT follow another person around screaming racist epithets." It sure as hell can, depending on the setting. And if it's in a workplace--as in the way I framed my question--the people who run the business can sure as the day is long tell that person to either shut the fuck up or find another job. Again, you have a problem with that?
So what's your alternative. Education? Consciousness raising? Group Therapy? How exactly is that supposed to work in the real world?
"Okay, people, listen up. Some of you have objected to Bob over there screaming racial and sexist and homophobic epithets at his co-workers (and let's up the ante some, and say he does it to customers as well). Now, I know we have a business to run and work to do, but let's drop everything for a couple of days or weeks or months so we can educate Bob on just how hurtful he's being." Really? Because we don't want in any way to inconvenience the racists and bigots among us?
"I am a person inherently born free...." I'm reminded of a line out of "Primary Colors"--"What a privileged life you must lead." "Only the law can diminish this..." Tell that to someone whose had their jaw broken during a gay bashing or a gang rape. Very many people suffer very many forms of oppression and violence, and do so in part precisely because of the circumstances of their birth--as women, people of color, LGBTs. etc. Maybe when your anarchist paradise arrives, things will change, but in the meantime we use the tools we have--and civil rights law is very definitely a tool I don't want to give up for the sake of some undefined, unrealized, and probably unattainable ideological goal. If it takes a law to push racism or sexism or homophobia back some, to give me and people like me more room to live free as I can, then hurray and hallelujah for the law!
In this instance you are being asked to endorse the fact that a couple of racist students were ejected from their school for discriminating against African Americans, and for laughing with delight at the thought of murdering someone whose skin tone doesn't match theirs. These are hardly "undefined standards." The standards seem to me to be crystal clear--you can't discriminate against people of color in a publicly funded university setting, at least not quite so brazenly. Clear enough so that these students have evidently decided not to press their case in court.
"I foresee much danger....in endorsing such things under such terms."
The danger--of racism, sexism, homophobia, classism--is already here. Millions live their lives suffering under that oppression. I hardly see how trying to make a public university setting less toxic to minority peoples, and less welcoming to out and out bigots, threatens any of us with the shackles of tyranny.
the stated motives about why they must be held down.
The system was oppressing people. It still is; even after the passage of the CRA. The system gave-up segregation and picked-up the "War on Drugs."
"The system"- in the form of institutionalized racism, sexism, classism and homophobia--is the product of centuries of oppression, and will take a lot of work to change, including legal reform.
In the meantime you have nothing, absolutely nothing, to offer to people oppressed by "the system" today. Rather than support what few tools are available even to begin to combat current oppression--for instance on campuses and in the workplace--you prefer to obsess on the entirely hypothetical and as yet unrealized and far-fetched threat to the "free speech" of white males caught openly discriminating against students with a different skin tone.
This sort of detached and seemingly unsympathetic "analysis" of current realities is at best a distraction, reflecting your own position of privilege. People need redress now, not some tenuous theoretical anarchist analysis that merely serves to question and even undermine the few resources available with which they might begin to get such redress.
So again--since you oppose all "speech codes"--do you oppose someone being prohibited from openly racist taunts at the workplace? And, since you're posting on DU--which also has "speech codes"--do you oppose the existence of MIRT, and the rules here that prohibit openly racist and homophobic and sexist posts? This is another question, posed quite a while back, which you have thus far refused to address.
you lambaste me for not conferring yet more power to the broke, corrupt and inherently biased.
My only position in the whole thread has been to ask people to define the terms, conditions and limits of the power to limit speech. So far everyone asked has demurred. We all know the maxim about power, corruption and absolute power so why would I be foolish enough to cede something with no limits, i.e. absolute?
You keep citing the extreme example of one person following another at a place of employment while yelling racial epithets. Okay. I wouldn't bat an eyelash at that person being fired and I'd make note to not hire them myself. But, is the limits to free speech being suggested in the OP find their own limits only in such extremes? Is the standard objective or subjective? Is there a limit on the sanctions and who may impose them?
Those who want power must either ask for it or they must take it. I doubt the latter is much of an option so perhaps remembering the ol' "consent of the governed" thing would work better when discussing new policy.
about? This is your response to blatant and unabashed racial discrimination being confronted and dealt with in the public sphere?
Who in general, in our culture, has power? White male heterosexist elites, by and large, as represented by the students you are defending.
Who in general has less power, relative to those elites?
Women and girls, racial minorities, LGBTs, people with disabilities. Precisely the sorts of people folks like these students have, in the past, been able to exclude and abuse with relative impunity.
For once that oppression and exclusion is called out and dealt with, and to you this represents some vast, existential crisis which sets at risk your "freedom?"
The example I cite isn't all that "extreme" -- not in the context of a history that includes tens of thousands of lynchings, generations of enslavement, gay-bashing, rape and sexual and domestic violence, and decades upon decades of employment and housing discrimination. Until the advent of civil rights law not only were such incidents of race baiting not "extreme"--they were par for the course and entirely free of legal sanction, to the extent that most professions and very many forms of employment were almost entirely closed to racial minorities. Check out the history of racial violence during World War II, when white supremacists acted to keep Blacks from jobs in northern cities. Remember the response when a single Black student tried to enroll at the University of Mississippi. Our history is replete with tens of thousands of such "extreme" examples.
And what "new policy?" The Civil Rights Act, under which this university action falls, has been around for a half a century. The Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protections Provision of the Constitution has been in place since the late 1860s (though it was mostly ignored until the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, under Thurgood Marshall, made use of it in Brown v. Board).
I'm glad that at least you've walked back from your aversion to all speech codes. Similarly, your notion that people are "born free" and only limited by "the law" is equally misguided. That may be YOUR experience, but it certainly doesn't apply to very many people in this society.
Again and again it has been pointed out to you that this isn't about "free speech"--it's about a history of discrimination on the part of this particular chapter of this particular fraternity, and an open admission of this policy, on the part of these particular students. It is you who are insisting that this is about "speech" as opposed to discrimination, and signals some great new mantle of oppression for us all.
"Consent of the governed?" What further consent do we need to punish blatant racial discrimination in the public sector, beyond that already inherent in the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment and the Civil Rights Act of 1964? This last was passed after almost a decade of debate, by both houses of Congress, and signed by a president who was overwhelmingly re-elected after the law was enacted. What other "consent" do you require?
I think we have to agree to disagree on this, since I'm clearly not getting through to you, and your arguments are entirely unconvincing to me.
The OP is an article about limiting free speech. The author seems to think the current openness is too open.
I'm not contesting the CRA or the 14th Amendment or anything even close to that so I have no idea why you are arguing those points except to disingenuously make yourself look superior by imposing straw man arguments. Not only do I NOT contest them I wholly endorse them as far as I can endorse any function of government.
I meant it as "what the hell does conferring power" have to do with this case?
I'm glad you endorse the Fourteenth Amendment and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Really, I am. Big sigh of relief. From your previous posts (for instance, stating that "only laws" can limit your freedom) this wasn't at all clear to me. As an "anarchist" you seemed to say that no law was justified in its conception or enforcement. Actually, I was beginning to wonder if you weren't some kind of Randian Libertarian.
I think the OP gets it exactly right in saying that "the more speech is the only response to bad speech" places an immense burden on people who are already oppressed. And clearly, as you now acknowledge, we don't apply this standard beyond government. That is to say, you yourself agree that an employer (and fellow employees, I would add) are entitled to stifle the obvious and hurtful ravings of a co-worker. In such a situation "more speech" is hardly the answer, but rather it is to act in ways that protect the rights of others to live and work free from racist harassment.
As for the OP, I think the best and only way to proceed on this is on a case by case basis. I think these students clearly violated more than the First Amendment, so I don't see this case leading to any great diminishing of anybody's freedoms. The other cases mentioned in the OP also can be addressed by means other than limiting First Amendment protections, with the possible exception of the Westboro Church (which can be seen as being as much about religious as free speech rights).
So in that way then I might disagree with the OP--I don't see these issues as "free speech" issues, as I've tried to make clear. It does, though, strike me as correct in drawing attention to the fact that in very many of these cases it is people who are already oppressed or in some way struggling (think of the mourners at a military funeral, confronted by the Westboro Bozos) who bear the burden of supporting all our "freedoms." Another good instance of this would be women's health providers, and women who need their services, having to endure picketers in their faces calling them "murderers" and such. Those in power on the other hand get the benefit of "free speech zones" being laid out, so they don't have to suffer in quite the same way.
Anyway, I am truly glad you can see yourself endorsing civil rights law. You really had me wondering.
I appreciate your comments. It seems we were talking past each other while saying the same thing...more or less.
I'm probably too young to be this jaded but as I mentioned before the victory of the CRA was replaced by the travesty of the Drug War. I have "retreated" to the refuge anarchism which, to my mind, is the ultimate emancipation and civil rights act.
We are living in a world where we hope passers-by would intercede if six men were pummeling another man to death, particularly if racism appeared to be a determining factor in that assault. Yet, if those six men wore badges and guns we are terrified into acquiescence. We keep our heads down and walk past hoping to not get caught-up in the melee.
This is the system I cannot support. It's manifest evil, including displaying my own cowardice. This is the system I cannot further empower with yet more laws, particularly laws with subjective standards because it will lead to more -- not less -- abuse. The 14A and the CRA are milestones in human history. They are the codification of a universal truth: Human equality.
But the fact it had to be codified shows humanity is fallen. Why must we make law that which is so obviously true (ditto laws on rape, murder, theft etc.)? The further fact that abuse occurs in spite of this codification shows just how deep the rot has penetrated.
Maybe I'm being overly dramatic but I'm scared. I'm scared for my family, friends and neighbors -- including the ones I have not yet met -- as well as myself. I don't trust the system because the system only protects itself.
Thank-you for giving me a fair hearing. May we always be neighbors.
Thank you for this post. Laws and rules not only punish wrongdoing, they also protect the rights of people to live, study and work without fear and intimidation.
I didn't want to bump this thread again but wanted to say thanks.
I've about given up on debating this here--clearly some folks for whatever reason either can't or won't take the point.
Thanks for all your efforts here, and best wishes.
How is hate speech calling on people to kill americans enough to justify a drone strike assassination, while hate speech calling to lynch people of African heritage just ordinary OK stuff?
"I pray that Allah may grant us a breakthrough through you ... can you please specify your role in the airline industry, how much access do you have to airports, what information do you have on the limitations and cracks in present airport security systems?"
Karim replied: "The kuffar (a derogatory term for non-Muslims) are planning to install full body scanners across UK airports. This allows them to see things under clothes."
But he warned al-Awlaki to be realistic: "You are probably hoping that I work at the airport, but the fact is I don't. I personally know two brothers, one who works in baggage handling at Heathrow and another who works in airport security. Both are good practising brothers and sympathize towards the cause of the mujahedeen."
Replying, al-Awlaki got straight to the point:
"Our highest priority is the U.S. Anything there, even on a smaller scale compared to what we may do in the UK, would be our choice. So the question is: with the people you have is it possible to get a package or person with a package on board a flight heading to the U.S.?"
That makes him a participant, not a mere speech maker.
So I withdraw my analogy.
And I sure don't want to get into a debate re. the moral justification of drone strikes against alleged "terrorists" on secret kill lists, because that's a long and dismal road road through awful stuff like this:
On the other hand, all that crap can be brushed off the table by simply noting that for the most part, those on the list aren't US citizens so it's OK.
I doubt we would kill anyone for speech alone, however. We'd be convinced that person had ties to Al Qaeda or whoever and would act on it.
What do you have against taking out terrorists who might plan attacks here? Why let the right wing point to us as opposing that.
I also doubt that the US would do something so dastardly. Just look at the cleaner than clean record!
I'm all for "taking out" any person that the US alleges is a "terrorist", wherever they are in the free-fire war-zone that's the "war on terror". I'm convinced by every allegation because after all, why would there be allegations if there wasn't guilt? Guilt of *something*, allegedly. Like being in the vicinity of a strike.
I can't wait until Obama gets a renewed authorization to use force - anywhere! Anywhere on the planet! Because then it'll be legal! Oh, what a wonderful world is being created by the "war on terror". It's pure disney, and it come complete with Bo.
Are you still feeling "terrorized" by 9/11 treestar? Quaking in your boots?
Never fear, hellfire missiles are here to protect you.
If they're outside US jurisdiction and not US citizens, the Constitution does not apply.
And of course the same non-rules apply of China, Russia, and every other state!
The one where you attempt to extend Constitutional protections to a non-US person?
Not that I had ever mentioned constitutional protections.
Hell, I had no idea that the US didn't uphold the international treaties, laws and obligations that it signs onto.
Thanks for you guys being so informative.
On the other hand, if the SAE really does refuse to have African-American pledges (as the song suggests), then the university might be required to refuse to recognize the fraternity since, as a government institution, it cannot discriminate in that way against race. So if the fraternity is a recognized institution or official club within the university community, it may not refuse prospective members based on race. Seems to me, anyway.
Going to college is a priviledge, NOT a right. Thes ekids could have been expelled by any college, and then they would gasp, need to find another college.
But that doesn't mean that you give up all of your first amendment rights. The issue is where the line is properly drawn.
Some backwater hillbilly christian college can kick students out for 'moral code' violations (assuming the *cough* college made accepting such punishments for infractions part of accepting admission to the school.)
Public schools != private schools.
It's really that simple.
You can say whatever the hell you want, but don't expect there not to be consequences, including losings jobs, getting kicked out of your school, being shunned as an asshole.
But it is clear that this group of people advocated discrimination and probably actively engaged in keeping African-Americans out of their stupid fucking club. Which is the real issue here.
punish you for using speech it decides is "inappropriate". That's what the University did and, IMO it's a clear violation of the students' First Amendment rights.
fraternity on the OU campus?
Do you think white students should be able to wear KKK robes to class and to hang around in KKK robes in front of buildings housing African-American studies or student groups?
At some point, white people need to stop telling black people to just ignore the white people talking about lynching them.
here. The issue is that these two students were punished by a governmental agency for exercising their right to free speech. And there is a constitutional right for that.
racial discrimination in willfully and maliciously excluding African-Americans from their fraternity.
What they did does not come close to fitting.
two different things under the law?
Not a lot but there have been black members.
So, it hasn't had a black member since the beginning of George W Bush's second term. Back when Elizabeth Warren was a registered Republican.
there are other chapters currently with black members. I wasn't sure if you were referring to SAE in general or that one chapter in particular.
One of my good friends at work is an SAE alum from a Midwestern school.
Thanks for outing yourself, and welcome back.
of discriminatory practices that are illegal.
I'm sorry, but Westboro Baptist Church conducted literally hundreds of actions against LGBT funerals and other LGBT events, over several years and in each of the 50 United States without facing so much as a sternly worded letter from any straight or religious organization to oppose them. Hundreds of attacks, never countered by anyone outside the LGBT world. Then, eventually, Westboro started picketing 'military' ie 'straight people's' funerals and then, for those straight people, counter protests and loud voices were raised against Westboro.
So this article, if it has a point, builds that point on self serving bullshit. Can't take this privilege soaked rhetoric seriously.
they were on their own, on a public street. They can't be fired, censured, or expelled, they could only be taken into custody, which would violate their free speech. It sucks, but it's the law.
In the case of the homophobic, racist duck dynasty guy, the network had every right to suspend him as an offending employee, and the university president has the right to expel the offenders as well.
If you read the entire article, please explain "self serving bullshit." Thanks.
When a private corporation can dictate speech we are steering towards a corporatocracy. It's akin to saying a corporation has a right to fire employees who openly demonstrate for living wages.
1) There is no free speech at the workplace. No one is obligated to have a bigot on their payroll. The broadcaster has a first amendment right to choose which content it offers, and which persons it puts in its broadcasts.
2) There are extensive labor laws governing the right of employees to engage in collective bargaining, strike, and otherwise advocate for their own benefit.
You somehow always find a way to argue that racists and bigots rights trump everyone else's.
There it is!
You want the power to punish those labeled racist and then you slap the label racist on anyone who disagrees. Your post is the perfect example of why this is the dumbest idea ever.
having a bigot be one of its public faces or to remove that bigot from their own speech.
You are in effect arguing that anyone can be as much of a bigot as they want and no one can take that into account when hiring or firing them, or including that bigot in their own fucking speech putting them on a fucking television broadcast.
So, you are not arguing the first amendment, you are arguing that bigots' rights should trump everyone else's. You are arguing that bigots have a right to have others help promote their views.
or to give me a platform to broadcast my views. If that was the basis of my employment, they would have the right to terminate my employment if I was saying things in public that conflicted with their interests and what they wanted to communicate in public.
You're nitpicking because those are the nits preferred by your personal preferences. You are the best argument against everything you claim to want (but refuse to define). You are reinforcing everything I write.
not that the laws are followed, but they're there. specific laws protecting specific speech from punishment.
So when an employee, who happens to be a very public figure, makes racist and homophobic public statements, the employer has no right to say this is unacceptable?
And, when students publicly violate the rules of a university, nothing should be done?
And people, particularly those with the power of law, are despotic and controlling. It's not a matter of ending bigotry, it's simply choosing which flavor of bigotry are we asserting by law at the moment.
Again, people make laws and people are fallible. Laws can be made. Laws can be poorly made. Laws can be made to oppress people. Laws can be made and later ignored. Laws can be left unmade.
And more times than not, all the above is true.
I'm an anarchist. If you're asking me, "Should X be a law?" the answer tends towards, "No." No law to protect bigots and no law to punish bigots. See above.
You're acting like he's some kind of victim.
The students broke no laws, they broke rules and were punished appropriately. Universities have rules regulating student behavior, employers have rules in the workplace. You are an anarchist so you basically want no rules, and, if that works for you I'm happy, but I think that's a recipe for disaster on a large university campus.
Free speech is protected by law, but free speech has it's limits. You can stand in public, and people do, with a sign that says "I hate whoever" and that's allowed. If the sign says "I will kill all whoever" then you just might be threatening others and there is a legal definition for real and implied threats. Laws don't punish bigots for speech but for actions or implied actions, and that's a pretty recent development. It's only been in my lifetime that bigoted speech has been discouraged and bigoted actions punished in America.
In most states an employer can fire you for any reason at any time. Certain protected classes can sue over it (race/sex discrimination), and union contracts can prevent this, but most employers are non-union. In some states union organizing activities are protected, but whether or not that applied would depend on what exactly your demonstration was.
In this thread, you are extremely vested in no punishment for the fraternity. Did something you say come back to hurt you?
Do you agree with this state of affairs, as created by the law?
laws are the constructs of fallible people. It seems to me that those arguing the law -- which is created by fallible people -- offers some sort of salvation are the ones who are denying the reality that laws are created by fallible people.
Pretending that you have legal protections that do not exist is an extremely dumb tactic. It means you go after the wrong people and try to change something that has no effect.
The reality is you can be fired for almost anything. Ignoring that reality means you go after a company for firing someone instead of going after lawmakers to change the law.
So what statement got you punished so badly that you are so desperately defending the pro-lynching side in this thread?
No statement got me punished. It's the fact that those who demand power are so intellectually vacant and morally bankrupt that they have to accuse people of being racists engaged in lynching that makes me oppose those calls for more power.