The ‘Freedom of Speech’ Farce

Posted: June 11th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: VOC Essays | 1 Comment »

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.

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New Article at Hip Hop Republican

Posted: May 7th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Outside Essays | No Comments »

Are Police Officers Gangsters?

By Chidike Okeem

Perhaps the most insufferable chant that erupts whenever a police officer is caught red-handed in murderous violence or malpractice of any stripe is: “All Police Officers Aren’t Bad!” Curiously, however, we never hear similar arguments about black people whenever a black criminal captures the interest of the national media. Lamentably, black criminals are treated as ambassadors of black culture and are used as justifications for the existence and continuation of abusive policing. Despite the protestations of many who claim that cops face a barrage of calumny and an insurmountable degree of abuse from unappreciative citizens, there is no problem of reasonable people believing that all police officers are evil. There is, however, a problem of many people failing to condemn bad police officers, even when they are caught engaging in the most reprehensible and immoral behavior. There is a failure of people to recognize the insidious culture of the blue wall of silence—the idea that cops are not supposed to report their fellow officers when they see bad behavior.

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New Article at Hip Hop Republican

Posted: April 30th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Outside Essays | No Comments »

Rioting Is Not Worse Than Killing Blacks

By Chidike Okeem

After the death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray at the hands of police officers, rioting and looting broke out across the city of Baltimore, Maryland. Stores were unceremoniously burned down and businesses were destroyed. The violence was to such a degree that the National Guard had to be deployed to Baltimore in an attempt to quell the chaos. Unpredictably, many mainstream conservatives, who are sympathetic to murderous police officers, are the most vocal critics of the rioters. Focusing on rioting while ignoring savage police brutality is demonstrative of sheer moral bankruptcy.

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New Article at Hip Hop Republican

Posted: February 23rd, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: Outside Essays | No Comments »

Dr. Carter G. Woodson and Black History Month

By Chidike Okeem

Eminent black historian Dr. Carter G. Woodson started Negro History Week in 1926, which intended to redress the lack of attention paid to black achievement in society and in academia. This later morphed into Black History Month. However, Black History Month, as it exists today, is a lukewarm version of what Woodson envisaged. Woodson wanted Negro History Week to be a celebration of black achievement, history, and culture. However, looking at the tepid practice of Black History Month today, one would be excused for erroneously believing that the bulk of black historical achievements began in the 1950s.

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Scott Walker’s Lack of a College Degree Matters

Posted: February 16th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: VOC Essays | 39 Comments »

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?

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