Regarding a comment I made about shouting down racist, religious or gender-based hate speech…The argument of too many on the right, and a few on the left is that they should be able to use derogatory language about anyone at anytime. If they are called out on that they assert that their right to free speech is being infringed. Its the same turnabout argument for the Christian right who claim that their religious freedom depends on being able to discriminate against others. It is critical to bear in mind that those asserting their right to use derogatory language about a minority group are using language that reflects a history of power dynamics by a dominant group used to enslave, discriminate, assault or to segregate. I believe that a progressive society reserves the right to resist and dismantle those systems of oppression on a social level through convention and intolerance to such negative and regressive behavior, the same way “No shoes, No shirt, No service.” defines a baseline of decorum. Do I want a law against using the “N” word or the like? Absolutely not. That leads to censorship of important social and historical commentary and literature, such as Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, but when some politician pandering to bigotry, someone who specifically uses racially, religiously or gender-targeted divisive and abusing rhetoric that affirms or defends degrading systems of power-enforced oppression-like using dogs and firehoses to keep Blacks from sitting at a lunch counter or attending a certain school-I believe the community has a duty to define and defend a baseline of civilized behavior. On the other side of the coin, and the reason I may align with but never pledge allegiance to any movement, I will resist simply trading one oppressor for another. When the Left overreaches and becomes oppressive, as they do at times, they too must be called out. That has gotten me into trouble a few times.
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