The idea of freedom of speech is perhaps one of the most overused—and abused—constitutional concepts in American society today. Whenever someone is justifiably criticized for using offensive speech, the First Amendment right to free speech is almost invariably cited. The first point that many seem to show immense difficulty understanding is that the Constitution restricts the actions of the government when dealing with citizens. Breathlessly citing the constitutional right to free speech outside of the correct context of addressing the government’s desire to quash the speech of citizens is nonsensical. Moreover, it is generally those who cite “freedom of speech” whenever people disagree with their offensive speech who are trying to shut down debate. People have the right to make offensive remarks, just as others have the right to say that those remarks are abhorrent. Dissenting speech is also a part of free speech. Many think that free speech entitles them to say offensive things without having to deal with the consequences of anyone being offended. While the Constitution protects the right to offend, the Constitution does not protect people from censure and other social consequences of being deliberately offensive.
Recently, in McKinney, Texas—a part of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex—a bikini-clad teenage girl, Dajerria Becton, who was attending a pool party with her friends, was manhandled by an overly aggressive police officer, David Eric Casebolt. Casebolt wrestled her to the floor, handcuffed her, and placed his knee on her back. The incident was filmed by an intrepid white teenager, Brandon Moore. From the footage, it is clear that there is no conceivable way that it can be argued that she posed a threat to the officer. It is also clear that his use of force was utterly unnecessary and barbarically excessive. The video evidence was so damning that Casebolt resigned from his job as an officer. In the wake of this incident of police brutality, there have been many reactions. Despicably, Alberto Iber, then a principal of a school in North Miami, left a Facebook comment in support of the demonstrably abusive officer. He wrote: “He did nothing wrong. He was afraid for his life. I commend him for his actions.” Iber was later fired from his job. While this principal is entitled to his opinion, the clearly visible video evidence shows that the officer was hyper-aggressive and none of his actions, or the actions of the teenage Becton, would lead a reasonable person to believe that he was, or should have been, in fear for his life. This is an open-and-shut case of police brutality. Those defending the officer are willfully defending the abuse of citizens.
Continue reading The ‘Freedom of Speech’ Farce
The notion that America should accept a president in the 21st century who does not possess a baccalaureate degree is beyond absurdity. The fact that some conservatives are trying to make criticisms of Walker’s lack of a college degree about snobbery and elitism, rather than him not meeting a perfunctory expectation of the Leader of the Free World, only goes to show the embarrassing way in which anti-intellectualism is treated as a sought-after virtue within mainstream conservatism.
There is an alarming number of people in America with graduate degrees who are incapable of finding jobs commensurate with their educational attainment and, in some cases, finding jobs at all. At a time when this is occurring, it would be monumentally absurd to elect someone who couldn’t be bothered to finish college to the highest office in the land. If the highest office in the land, and indeed the most important job in the world, can be whimsically occupied by someone who couldn’t be bothered to find the time to finish his undergraduate education, then what is the point of anyone slogging through college and earning a degree? Are those who suggest that college dropouts should be routinely considered for the office of President of the United States arguing that the presidency is less tasking or important than the plurality of jobs listed on Craigslist that specify only holders of a baccalaureate degree should apply?
Continue reading Scott Walker’s Lack of a College Degree Matters
Bill O’Reilly recently did a segment on his show pointing out the fact that he does not believe in white privilege because Asian Americans educationally outperform both whites and blacks in America—and they adhere more rigidly to a traditional family structure. What Bill O’Reilly fails to understand, however, is that changing the topic from white privilege to an irrelevant discussion of Asian Americans’ successes does not refute the existence of white privilege. One cannot disprove the existence of white privilege by pointing out that other minority groups do well in America. All it shows is that, through hard work and determination, it is possible to overcome discrimination and reach the top. But that is not a statement that most people, except the most extreme left-wingers, contend against.
Continue reading Addressing Bill O’Reilly and White Privilege
Michael Brown, an 18-year-old who was a few days away from starting college, was shot and killed by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri—a region with a prominent African-American population. The circumstances surrounding his death are still unclear; however, eyewitnesses have said that Michael Brown had his hands in the air when he was shot dead. As a result of the killing of Michael Brown, the city of Ferguson has been in uproar, and the anti-police sentiment is palpable. While most of the protesters have been peaceful, there have been some opportunists who used the disarray as an opportunity to steal from stores throughout the neighborhood. Of course, those who revel in presenting the worst images of black America have obsessively focused on the looting—as if the looting by some makes Brown’s death justifiable.
Continue reading Michael Brown, Ferguson, and Black Attitudes to Policing
Interestingly, Right Wing News has published a remarkably illiterate piece criticizing me for wanting “to put an end to black conservatism.”
Chidike Okeem wants to put an end to black conservatism. He believes that any black conservative who opposes Affirmative Action or doesn’t cling to the Voting Rights Act as if it were the Bible is either inept or a fraud pandering to mainstream white conservatives. Typically, this is rhetoric spewed by liberal race-peddlers with a desire to discredit minority conservatives. He claims to be a conservative, yet his articles remain some of the most vitriolic, anti-right wing screeds I have ever read.
This is as honest an accusation as saying, “Person X wants to put an end to all medications for sick patients!” simply because that person expressed a desire to end the sale of fake medications. The title of my piece is The End of Artificial Black Conservatism. Dropping the word ‘artificial’ from the title of my piece in order to misrepresent my point takes intellectual dishonesty to an unparalleled zenith. The fact that this blogger has the temerity to suggest that I am being dishonest on race is ironic—especially when he cannot correctly characterize an argument. To be honest, however, such intellectual dishonesty does not surprise me. I carefully craft my essays to be logically hermetic. The best way to undermine my writings is to invent comical misrepresentations of my actual points.
Continue reading My Response to Odd, Daft Attack by Right Wing News Blogger