Censorship of ‘Freedom of Speech’

In Summary

In light of recent events, the question of  free speech in public spaces that are not tolerated by the greater public-speech indicating intolerance of certain groups of people- is in question for review. Already the ACLU has considered to change its policies regarding protecting the rights of those rallying, protesting, or marching with the active presences of firearm weapons. There are those within the greater public asking whether hate speech should be given a platform. Again, already there are companies censoring known hate groups and their various media sources. However, there are concerns about what groups will be censored and why. As the civil rights groups and companies are taking action to ban the platforms of documented white supremacist and nationalist, are they to censor just those well known hate groups or all others as well? The concerns of the public include the presence of Black Lives Matter movement participants and supporters, as well as Antifa gaining traction in the media as of lately. The association and concern being that black supremacist and the militant nature of the latter group are cause for censorship and public condemning as well. There is even a petition going to consider Antifa a terrorist organization. In light of this President Donald Trump has condemned both sides as racist and as thugs, though in only naming the white supremacist and nationalist groups. He labeled the non-white racists and thugs as ‘other hate groups’.

Here the questions are begged: Is hate speech free speech, or should it be considered for equal protection under the U.S. Constitutional law? Then what about the ‘other hate groups’ not traditionally known or condemned as regularly alongside white hate groups. Should they be censored as well?


In Regards to the Free Speech Clause

As it has been interpreted and determined, free speech is protected speech regardless if the speech is accepted by the public-minor or by the majority. Free speech is a protected right, so long as violence is not incited. This has already been decided by key court cases as follows:

Brandenburg v. Ohio, 395 U.S. 444. A KKK clansman during a public rally in Ohio made a speech to determine a goal or action toward groups of people not specified. The court ruled that it is protected free speech so long as a call for violence is not mentioned, though not prohibited if such speech is likely to incite violence.

Texas v. Johnson, 491 U.S. 397. Gregory Johnson protest against former President Reagan by desecrating the U.S. American flag. The court ruled that it is protected free speech to express opinions that are in disagreement with the public-minor or by the majority. And that the public taking offense is not a ground to either limit or to prohibit such speech.


Hate Groups

White Supremacist and nationalist organizations/groups are well known U.S. American hate groups. However, there exist ‘other hate groups’ not at all named specifically as they are unknown majorly. Here are some of the following white and black supremacist and nationalist groups that are considered hate groups:

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center there are nearly 1,000 active hate groups within the United States. The hate map provided in this link will reveal their location and, as well, providing the option to filter through all of those mentioned.

  • Alternative Right (Alt-Right)
  • KKK
  • Neo-Nazis
  • Nation of Islam
  • New Black Panther Party for Self Defense
  • War on The Horizon
  • Neo-Confederate

New Questions on Hatred

Hate speech will remain as protected speech, so long as violence is not cited or spoken by the representatives of the group. This right to speak is given to all, including those aforementioned ‘other’ hate groups listed. This means, so long as direct violence is not spoken or incited there exist no violation against U.S. Constitution and state laws.

However, the public is concerned about whether the presence of firearms, or other materials that may cause to incite violence- should be considered as protected speech still. Or as seen in Charlottesville, white supremacist and nationalist carrying firearms in their protest rally, while the Antifa groups carried bats and other materials in their counter-protest.

The debate among the public becomes petty as one differentiates the presences of a firearm being more so threatening than a person carrying a bat. The greater point being on either side of the debate is that violence was still incited with the mere presence of something militant, something hateful.ap_17222529170751

The question asked, then, should the mere presence that causes offense, which then may cause to incite violence should be permitted and protected by law?

As some others may state in the interpretation of Second Amendment rights- that the mere presence of a firearm (may include bats) is not a cause to incite violence. However, as the various laws may state about the presence of a firearm-that the person with the right to open carry, or to conceal and carry must be aware of the perception that they pose.

In addition, the public is concerned about corporate censorship in light of recent events. For instance, Facebook taking down some white nationalist pages. Or Pandora censoring hate music, usually white power music is cited and labeled as hate music. Or Google, taking down hate websites and blog sites. The reason supported by some of the public, being that it is not right to give such people a platform whereby they are to influence and to gather followers of the impressionable.

The question begs why are corporations, in this case tech industries in the business of online media, allowed to censor one form of content, yet not another similar? Then why are corporations allowed to censor at all?

As this article seems to suggest that censorship is relative to the political concerns of the state or individuals that filter and petition for the ban. As it seems that business as well have their own terms and conditions regarding freedom of expression, and so determines what is or is not allowed. Another example, Facebook censoring breast feeding mothers-classification of nudity.

Public or state petition to censor some content can be justified according to the respective state and federal laws. However, in light of recent events, as the petition in this case, to censor one form of known hatred over another is not just. A censorship of all hate group’s media sources should be the course of action. Though not to include the freedom of information to know of and to learn about them.

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Public Bigotry and The Outraged

Concerning recent news of crime of another country or city, or the crimes committed by an individual of another culture or demographic- why must the public assume ‘all’ are at fault? Whether the media is to discuss India and its rape victims, Chicago and its murder rates; or Muslim men found guilty of sex trafficking, white person found to be racially insensitive in a debate, etc.. The presumption is always ‘all’, not a few and those individuals that have committed the crimes as individuals. No it is always, almost always, public bigotry and outrage attributing the cause to a collective rather than to the individual(s) or the perpetrators.

If a white person exhibits racial insensitivity then it is confirmation that all white people are racist. Or that this individual is a representation of their group-that being white America (a monolithic phrase attributed).

If a Muslim extremist decides a path to a rewarding heaven is by destruction of the livelihoods of others it is then Muslims as a whole that are barbaric in nature. Never the individual easily impressionable, and easily forgetful in the worth of self and humanity.

If there is a man obsessed with power, or one that expresses his insecurities and sickness aggressively on the innocent not consenting, the public assumes that it is men generally. Men are not to be trusted as they are all potential rapist, abusers or a danger waiting to happen.

These few examples are of major complaints that are read and heard throughout the news today, yesterday and tomorrow. To assume that ‘all’ are the case for danger, a reason for distrust rather than to aim at those that commit their crimes.

The underlying thought here is the obsession with assuming a collective understanding of how humans function in society. With the presumption that we all exist in our respective monolith, rather than as individuals first. The sudden urge to accuse the singular characteristic as the definition of all others similar-without consideration of the diversity that exist in what is thought to be sameness.

I am referring to terms such as ‘white America’. A collective, a monolith-that actually exist with distinctive identities and cultures. Though I’m referring to that white kid in class being assessed by the bitter, yet equally ignorant classmate. This kids heritage is assumed to be that of slave owners, though he may not have had any. This kid’s background of poverty is not related to the oppression or subjugation of others. A finger is pointed at him by the equally bitter and ignorant as the reason for the greater crimes committed by individuals, again, not related to him. However, since this white kid uttered something racially insensitive in class the argument then is about the racism, like his own, persisting in white America. An issue that harms the rest.

I’m referring to that comment made by Margaret and the other following made further down by John. A news story about men who appear not quite white and not quite black, yet they appear nothing like a Christian either. “A group of Muslim men”, they both snort and sneer. The news headlining that all men in the photo provided were charged with raping and kidnapping several young girls and women. It’s a common story of sex trafficking gaining interest among the media reporting something ‘new’ and forgotten. No one else may convince Margaret or John that all Muslim men are not deviant barbarians. No one may convince them-whether calmly in a thoughtful retort; or a call to shame through either mocking or carrying on back and forth in anger. Their thoughts are indeed ignorant and problematic, yet the comment thread has not gained a single light of awakening. “It is my opinion and I have a right to it”, as each reply or will eventually state. What do they say, then, when the Christian rapes and destroys the livelihood of others? Their thought is one of deflection. That  is an act of someone in-Christ like and that person exist as an individual; therefore not Christian. As to assume so would include both as having probability of committing a similar crime.

Lastly, I’m referring to those that believe a culture exist where men are free to rape without consequences. And that rape is a monopoly, held primarily among men-all men with the potential and intention to rape. “Not all men” is a phrase to specify the issue as an individual crime, whether grouped or not. The rebuttal then is that this phrase is offensive as it allows men thinking of self, to not consider the greater cause by the commonality of the victims perpetrators. Include ‘race’ and ‘religion’ to see how this topic becomes complicated. Talk about rape culture and black men and see raised concerns over the constant acquisition of young black men historically and presently accused of such a crime. It is then individual if one is black, to avoid racial insensitivities.

Why is it ‘all’ rather than a few or those individuals that have committed the crime in particular? Not much has changed with these continuing discussions of the same news, though with different details. Those that point a finger are set within their opinions, a wall built of continued anger and distrust. Nothing has been accomplished in argument assuming crime is associated to the groups most distrusted. No common understanding has been formed as such people wish to point and categorize.

It Is So…Poetic

I’m anticipating to write an extended essay about the issues most concerning black Americans and their communities. The subjects are typically those concerns of the poor [i.e. poverty, education, crime, police officers, etc.] and I aim to discuss why that primary focus is problematic too. So I’m gathering a collection of books, typically those that are of the popular canon of ‘black thought’ on such subject matters. Or rather the accepted authority on this subject matter in opposition to my own alternative thoughts. As I gather books I read to find the key points and topics that are related to this extended essay.

Yesterday I decided to read the most recommended and awarded text of this date: Between the World and Me authored by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Actually I skimmed through the text, as it is rather short and can easily be done, and found that I was not impressed. Do not become mistaken here, I skim then I read a book first. The initial captivation among the pages are what confirms my need to purchase, to read, then to recommend to others. I can only read of what I have skimmed if it is profound or simply interesting. I’ve found neither adjectives are appropriate for this book. Perhaps, as all others, being poetic with their ‘blackness’ may captivate an audience that are the same and those that are white Americans and liberal-minded. However that is all and nothing else.

Of course it was written in a time where police homicides of black Americans took the nation by storm. People are emotional, calling it the greatest crime against black American males from years past to this date. Though emotional, basically an appeals to emotions, the statistical data proves otherwise. Black American males are more likely a victim of intraracial crime than they are to be a victim of interracial crime or to be killed by a police officer. As well, white Americans, Latino Americans, and Native Americans are largely ignored whenever the discussion of police killings surfaces on mainstream media. The majority killed police officers this year and last year alone have been white Americans. However, it is more profound if we discuss the statistics based on groups or ‘per rate’. Still in doing so we largely ignore that Native Americans are effected more so than black Americans. That is what I mean that it is an emotional appeal and one used tirelessly in the discussion of ‘black thought’-the center of attention ignoring the plights of all others.

There is something about ‘black thought’ that always needs to be poetic and to appeal to emotions. Or to over exaggerate a claim and to assume a collective mindset on all issues, whether all black Americans face them equally or at all. I do not find this common tendency in almost every essay, or every book about issues concerning [some] black Americans, profound or interesting. I too have studied black American history, U.S. history, the history of me and my being here. I enjoy it and continue to read. Though I do not appropriate the pain of my ancestors as that is insulting compared to my far more privileged life and life of freedom. Though I grew up in a rural area I never assume that poverty and the issues that become of those existing in urban areas are similar to my own. Poverty in rural areas is different compared to poverty in urban areas and I cannot falsely assume to relate to those that have an entirely different experience. Or what I am saying here, I refrain from using black Americans as a collective whenever discussing police shootings and killings and all other issues. That would be false to do so, and to give a false impression to others about the experiences of black Americans as individuals. As well it is simply an appeals to emotions to do so. I can discuss my experiences without included the entirety of black Americans who may have or usually have not experienced the same life. And I can do so without the poetic rhyme.

In writing this future extended essay I have to keep an open mind. To include Coates and other like him that all write in a rather similar manner, I must understand their thoughts. Why is it a common way to speak of issues pertaining to some black Americans this way? Why do they always assume a collective experience extending to all black Americans? For instance, his text in referring to the police killing of Eric Garner: “And destruction is merely the superlative form of a dominion whose prerogatives include friskings, detainings…All of this is common to black people. And all of this is old for black people. No one is held responsible.” A collective experience and notion assumed to be the thoughts and concerns, even the experiences of all. To the last statement, why is it common to make a claim based on limited observation; an assumption without facts? I remember around the time Michael Brown was killed, the tension had continued ’til December where I read that ‘police officers are never held accountable’. I retorted with, well it depends on the circumstances of the event and the evidence found. Since within that same month a local news source reported a police officer sentenced to time in prison for his crime against a black woman. Unfortunately I do not remember the details to that particular news story, but to make a ‘never’ claim on the basis of limited observation is quite common. So I ask ‘why’. To ask is to read, and that requires me to read their thoughts.

So, I’m looking forward to reading those differences in thought processing. In doing so I will provide a proper book review of each book I am thinking to include for my extended essay.

On Authority: The Significance of One’s Word Over Another

Whenever we discuss the plight of the black community-the issues that plague black communities, and the youth not yet inspired-there is an echo chamber of a singular voice speaking for all. And here I ask, why? We are to assume that in opposition or in question of these thinkers, preachers, intellectuals is the black conservative. The discussion then is no different than the “arguments”  between Booker T. Washington and W.E.B Dubois, who were both speaking of two truths over one topic. As we are to understand, and to believe that, black thought on privilege, poverty, education, wealth, criminality, law enforcement, activism, etc. is a debate between the black democrat and the black conservative. However, where the black democrat is the only valid, and sensitive voice of authority on these subjects. Why? The black democrat blames the hardships on the government, on predominately white institutions, on the history of white privilege and the privilege of the white youth. And because some of them, perhaps many of them have lived these experiences. Whereas the black conservative blames the hardships on lack of self constraints, finanaical irresponsibility and the criminality of the black youth engaging in self destructive activities. And because some of them, perhaps many of them have lived these experiences. 

Where do I stand? I stand between them, telling that they are speaking of two truths on the same topic. Where no singular thought is weighted more than another. 

Though where is my authority? Whenever I give my unwarranted opinion on these matters, yet informed, I’m considered the black conservative. Where ever I call upon myself to offer an alternative viewpoint, my thoughts are told to be less valid as the white people agree with me. If I ever point out the blatant racism displayed by a black person who is assumed to have authority on the subject of racism and privilege, I am told “racism = power”. If I ever challenge the viewpoints of the accepted majority, the black democrats, I am the puppet controlled by whites who wish to keep black people complacent. 

Though who am I and where does my politics stand? Politically I am a moderate social liberal. As far as my education is concerned, I have always been interested in studying racism. Specifically,  all aspects dealing with American (North and South) slavery. As for subjects on education and crime, I call upon my personal experience and observations. For what I am not familiar with I call upon facts and verifiable sources, without the emotional appeal that is often praised in black thought. However, who am I? As in the minds of others? A person easily disregarded by the majority as the ‘lite’ black conservative. 

As I embark on my writing journey I will discuss the topics most concerning the modern black community. Most certainly my authority will be questioned and disregarded. Though I’m open to the challenge, because it is refreshing to read the thoughts of someone equally knowledgeable, yet different.