One way to slow attack on free speech rights

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Second of two parts


The director of “Boys Don't Cry,” a movie about transgender people, was giving a talk about the movie to a group of people. She was shouted down for, among other reasons, having Hillary Swank, a non-trans actor, play the lead in the movie.

That is why Ms. Swank is called an actor in the first place. She plays roles outside her persona.

I had the same problem with the lead actor in the chain saw massacre movie, as he was not an actual chain saw killer. Perhaps the film's producers had trouble in their casting efforts in finding a crazed murderer to play the leading role.

Here's another (real) example: Paul Simon was criticized for writing songs about Africans, because he was not an African.

On and on speech political correctness goes, meandering through the lanes of intellectual lassitude and pathetic intolerance.

A Two-Way Street

Many of the articles appearing recently about Charlottesville and the suppression of free speech there and on college campuses claim much of this suppression is coming from intolerant conservatives. In the first article of this series, I cited examples of these incidences coming from liberals.

Eddie S. Glaude Jr., writing in Time magazine (Oct. 9, 2017, page 25) states, “The defense of free speech seems to be highly selective, but the idea of universities and colleges as hotbeds of intolerant liberals is just plain wrong.”

Who would argue with Mr. Glaude when he uses the term “hotbeds?” I make no assertion that these schools are hotbeds of anything. But I do believe they are becoming places that increasingly silence speakers with whom they disagree.

A Slippery Slope

In the first piece to this article, I wrote about my revulsion to a paper stating that U.S. military veterans should not attend conventional colleges, but should be required to attend trades schools. Yet I defended the rights of the article's authors to state their opinion.

I do not mean this next statement as one of disparagement, but one of fact: We Americans are an insular people. The wide expanse of the oceans separating us from other places has kept us somewhat ignorant of the fact that many parts of the world do not tolerate any form of free speech that even hints at criticism of the government.

As repugnant as some of the utterings are that come from humans, each of us should thank our founders and their writing of the Bill of Rights. When you have resided in a country that tortures and even kills people for offering an off-beat opinion, you likely understand how fortunate we American citizens are.

It can become a slippery slope. Once we cannot say a “Negro;” then we cannot say a “black person;” then we cannot say a “person of color.” The term “African Americans” seems to be acceptable at the present time. But everyone on Earth is African something-or-another as the human race originated in Africa.

Where Does It End?

I am an ardent supporter of the black people of America. I make no apologies for my stands on their behalf. But I do not even know what phrase or word to use when I write about them. I am coming to the point where I fear my writings will be called racist, when I am the very opposite.

The political correctness banality becomes absurd. We can no longer say “mailman.” We say “mailperson.” No, that will not do. “Mail” could be confused with “male,” so we may have to resort to “person person.”

Will Uyless Black be required to change his last name because he is not… Well, I am hesitant to use a word of any sort.

The last few statements have tried to make light of a very serious topic. With this in mind, I propose a solution: Never push anyone off their platform of free speech. While they are speaking, it is their platform, not the platform of you or me. If we do not like what the speaker says, we start our own platform and do our talking there, while expecting our opponents will honor our platform as we have honored theirs.

Pollyanish? Given human nature, yes. Worth a shot? It is better than what we are now doing: We are forgetting that the freedom of speech means little if we do not have the liberty to listen.

Here is an alternative solution: The next time someone infringes on a lecture at a school, the students should unite and say to the protesters:

“We are suing you for denying us our tuition-purchased education. The lecturer is suing you for denying her the Constitutional rights of free speech. Now, get out of the classroom and let us students try to learn something. This is not your platform. Find your own.”

In litigious America, these students and teachers would have lawyers coming out of the woodwork to take up their case.

• • •

Because of his last name, Uyless Black has been described by assorted bigots as a “person of color” and other mocking comments. When he hears them directly, his response to his insulters is, “Black is beautiful in more ways than one.” Or offering some variety, “Here's to black power.” He lives in Hayden with his wife Holly and his “dog of no color,” French Poodle, Milli.

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