By Scotty Reid
I received considerable feedback, mostly negative due to a cyber bullying smear campaign launched against me by supposed anti-racist lecturer and author Tim Wise for a article I wrote three days ago titled “Tim Wise supposes he has a right to yell nigger in the streets, Soledad O’Brien agrees”. I have not the slightest notion why Mr. Wise chose to go the route he did instead of engaging me on the points of the article I wrote calling attention to his supposition that individual acts of hate speech and racial slurs against people of color and religious minorities walking down the street is protected speech. I also received overwhelming support from friends and those who took the time to read the article and understood the legal point I was making about racial terrorism in the form of speech not being protected speech.
A Clemson faculty member who read the article said it “was timely” considering students at the university were fighting to be free from forms of racial oppression, including hate speech and racist expressions on campus. Clemson University should be applauded along with the students who are asserting their human rights and they deserve our support. The faculty member pointed me to an article on the Daily Caller, a right wing conservative rag started by former Dick Cheney adviser Tucker Carlson, that supposes Clemson University is violating the free speech rights of racist suspect students to participate in racial mockery of non-white students.
A “education editor” for the Daily Caller named Eric Owens penned an article titled “Radical Minority Group At Clemson Seeks SUSPENSION OF FIRST AMENDMENT”
I find it interesting that a so-called white ally, mixed race journalist and the ACLU are on the same side as right wingers supposing white people have a protected right to verbally terrorize, degrade and demean non-white people on the street and college campuses.
If standing up for oneself in asserting their human right to be free from racism, harassment and intimidation is “radical” then I send me a button to proudly wear.
This notion that the First Amendment covers hate speech, racial and religious slurs outside of a political context is an age-old lie repeated through years of white supremacist propaganda and the failure to prosecute enough people for these criminal offences is sending the wrong message to these thugs.
The only time slurs and other forms of hateful expression are protected by the First Amendment is when it is in the context of political activity like Klu Klux Klan rallies that obtain permits to engage in such speech. The courts have ruled that the speech of individuals that constitute “fighting words” and “injurious words” are likely to incite violence and lead to disturbances of the peace, contribute nothing to “democratic discourse” and therefore not protected speech. In fact, people get arrested every year and charged with applicable state laws for these acts of terrorism but I guess a lot of them are not getting the message because of disinformation concerning free speech protections. Clemson is right to want peace on the campus and not allow white students to antagonize other students.
The Supreme Court Dred Scott decision in 1857 that said a black man has no rights a white man is bound to respect is what people like Tim Wise, the ACLU, right wing groups and apparently this so-called “education editor” Eric Owens seem to be asserting. What they are arguing is that non-white people do not have a right to peace, tranquility and freedom from harassment. The First Amendment was passed to give people and the media the right to criticize the government, government policy and government officials be free from criminal charges of sedition. The intent was not to allow individuals or students to yell racial and religious slurs at people or to engage in racial or religious intimidation and mocking.
In fact when it comes to students, cyber bullying is not protected either and every state has laws and/or regulations against cyber bullying. If schools fail to protect students from bullying they can be sued by the targeted students and the US Department of Education Civil Rights Division.
If you pay attention, most people who assert this ridiculous notion never cite any case law or frame their arguments around the intent of the framers while claiming these supposed rights of racists to engage in hate speech as to the intent of the framers of the Constitution. Sure they were a bunch of racist genocidal land stealing sexist white men but that was not their intent when writing the Bill of Rights which has race and gender neutral language.
This is exactly why I took issue with what Mr. Tim Wise wrote in his essay supposing people have a legal right to terrorize, degrade and demean non-white people while claiming it should be condemned. The strongest condemnation is to assert that racists and religious bigots do not have a right to practice racism and bigotry under the US Constitution.