When the issue of race pops up in politics or entertainment, I’m usually notified. I dunno why. Perhaps people wish to use my reaction to gauge the gravity of any given situation or measure level of offensiveness – but seriously, making me to racial references in the media what Mikey was to breakfast cereal is not a good idea.
Granted, I could build a mini-rainbow coalition in my living room. But the fact that I have a race and some relations doesn’t mean I consider myself an expert in this area: no more than I’d consider myself a gynecologist or preacher because, you know, I have that stuff too.
The fact is I tend to believe major outrage over minor offenses causes more division than the (often unintentional) offense itself. Doesn’t this prove I’m not fit to serve as the local offense-o-meter anymore?
Besides, after this week, I’m not sure I can take it.
First, there was the whole Bill/Obama dance-off debacle. Honestly, I think both Clinton and Obama handed the matter with great aplomb. Then, Obama was asked during a televised political debate whether Bill Clinton was “the first black president,” as Toni Morrison, the novelist, had said. Are you kidding me? What does that question have to do with anything real or substantial? Seeing this question aired and re-aired, discussed and expounded upon in the news – well, it made me wonder what’s coming next. Asking Obama to break-dance? Having Bill shuffle across the stage while Hillary snatches up one leg of her pantsuit and declares, “You Got Served.”
Then, there was the whole Unbearable Whiteness of Mitt Romney. (Apparently, Romney stopped by a staging area for a Martin Luther King parade in Florida and while admiring a child’s gold necklace, said, “Oh, you’ve got some bling-bling here.”) Next was the how Anderson Cooper pissed off Whoopi Goldberg – and the subsequent discussion on whether racial pride would influence the election. Gee, you think? Of course, it will. Scores of black folks will vote for Obama because he’s black- it’s called solidarity. But then, there are many others who won’t and will be riddled with guilt about it later. Welcome to the world outside the Caucasian check box where “us people” are a reflection upon and obligated to a million folks we’ve never met. It sucks mostly.
And finally, the most mind-boggling, insane news comes from Austin Farley at Blue Collar Republican regarding the Municipal Court judge in Jersey, who fined a citizen $150 for calling a city worker the N-word.
I wonder if I can get the hundreds of people that have called me fat, Nazi, white supremacist, cracker, xenophobe, blue-eyed devil and many more, fined for saying those things about me. I am not stupid enough to think that I would ever get my case heard by any judge because I do not fit into the “woe is me” category of people.
I am not advocating calling people names, but if someone does it should never go to the authorities. We are supposed to have the freedom of speech, but we do not have the freedom to not be offended. If we really do have the freedom of speech then we can say whatever we want to someone without fear of the PC Police coming down on us. Is this communist Russia or the United States of America? You punks are making me wonder which one it really is.
Folks, I confess. I am inclined to agree with some of those names people have called Austin Farley. So, for me – this post is akin to the meanie girl from high school turned rival soccer mom asking you if the hot pink sweatpants make her butt look fat. The endless opportunities to offer insult here had me absolutely fidgety. Alas, Farley has a valid point and it isn’t less valid just because Austin Farley made it. Plain and simple: government has no business regulating speech.
And last year, when these resolutions came before city councils nationwide, local governments were advised then the bans were unconstitutional and would never hold up if challenged. As a result, many councils passed symbolic resolutions asking citizens to voluntarily stop using the word. Now, unless this fellow can pay the $150 symbolically with Monopoly money, I’d have to question the legality of the fine.
Yes, the n-word is inflammatory, hurtful and hateful – but banning any word creates a persuasive precedent for banning other words. Then, where would we draw the line? If we are no longer limiting our laws to sticks and stones, shouldn’t other minority groups be permitted to submit words for consideration? What is the criterion for determining which ones should be banned? Would these words have to be used as fighting words before bans were enforced? Would they be more or less likely to be considered fighting words if they were used by a person of the same race, gender or religion? Wouldn’t this all lead to an unequal application of the law?
Furthermore, since freedoms are rarely eliminated but gradually eroded: I am going to say… (here is the mind-boggling insane part) I agree with Austin Farley.
Consequently, I hereby tender my resignation as area offense-o-meter and suggest you go find yourself another “One of Us people” or “One of Those People” to bother.