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Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Free racist speech

--posted by Tony Garcia on 5/03/2006

Channel 5's title for their story sets up a false dilemma. "Was 'U' instructor's speech free - or racist?" The answers is: BOTH. Racist speech is still a part of free speech. Don't ever make the mistake of advocating that "racist" speech should be outlawed. What is racist to you may not be racist to me.
Comments a University of Minnesota instructor made at Monday’s immigration day rally are causing controversy about what is and is not considered racist.

Susana De Leon, an activist and part-time instructor of Mexican-American studies, was involved in a verbal confrontation at the rally in Owatonna.

Yes, people from Europe are wet backs man... their backs so wet because they had to cross an ocean to get here,” De Leon said at the rally.
Uh, I went through high school with the nickname "Wetback" that was bestowed upon me by many different groups of people because of my Mexican heritage. I personally do not think that such a label is racist regardless of who says it and regardless of the context. It is a name that can be thrown about and based on its context can be an insult just like "Libertarian" is used as a label by close-minded people to mean unworthiness (right, Andy). Or it can be simply a way to quickly describe someone.

So, what is racist to one person is not necessarily racist to another. Thus it must still be protected (aka 'free') speech.

More about the epitome of University instructors.
She added that it is not possible for minorities to be racist against white people.

Nathan Smit, of the Minnesota Coalition for Immigration Reduction, says he felt her comments were racist toward white people.

“It actually almost hurt my feelings,” Smit said.

De Leon said the confrontation escalated because members of the immigration group were being intimidating.
OK, first, Nathan Smit, get some thicker skin or stop being a counter protester.

And Susana DeLeon, you are an idiot (University instructor AND a lawyer, no wonder she says idiotic things). The fact is that ANYONE can be racist and anyone can make a racist comment.

adj 1: based on racial intolerance; "racist remarks" 2: discriminatory especially on the basis of race or religion [syn: antiblack, anti-Semitic, anti-Semite(a)] n : a person with a prejudiced belief that one race is superior to others [syn: racialist]

Source: Dictionary.com
That means exactly what you said, the conclusion of 'impossibility to be racist' based on race upon another race is actually a racist comment by definition.

This is the broken teachings that permeate the University and education.

The article continues:
Vivian Jenkins Nelson, a diversity expert from the Inter-race Institute and author of the ‘Diversity Dictionary’, would not condemn De Leon’s language, but did say it was not helpful.
True, the speech was not helpful to any discussion. Honestly, that is the state of political discussion today. Intolerant, narrow-minded and grossly off-track in the very premises and definitions that most of these people start with.

Condemnation of the remarks? Do they mean 'I condemn the remarks and they should never be allowed'? I would not condemn them either. I disagree strongly with what DeLeon said, but she should be allowed to say everything that she said. There should be no word or phrase that is unutterable...no thought or belief. I believe that if the person's message is so horrible people would consider banning it then simply letting it be heard is enough to turn sensible people away. Giving DeLeon access to the public square is a more powerful deterent from her ideas than trying to ban them.
"I would never say those things to anybody, even if I didn't like them,” said Paul Westrum. “But the thing is, because she's a minority she thinks she can get by with it."
Westrum and Smit said her language would be considered racist if a white person had used those terms.

But Westrum is more angry that she is paid by the public.
Westrum and Smit are exactly right. If a white person had said what DeLeon said they would be tarred & feathered, drawn & quartered and afterwards would be told they were a racist, they would be fired immediately from their employer EVEN if they were employed by the same University that protects DeLeon with:
University officials declined 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS’s request for an interview, but they said state employees have the same freedoms of speech and have the right to participate in political and social protests.
There is not a doubt in my mind that if DeLeon were white and/or conservative she would have been suspended if not fired.

Westrum & Smit should be a little more informed, though. If they are upset that she is on the public payroll and saying these things at a rally on her own time (which should be her perrogative--to be an idiot on her own time) they should sit in ANY class in the Chicano Studies department (DeLeon's department) or ANY social science classes. You will be appalled to find that this is the norm for social sciences within the University of Minnesota system. Remember, you are talking about a campus that gives laurels and awards to declared Marxists and drives out conservative instructors.

But maybe we should find out what DeLeon's motivation for her actions and comments really are. What did she actually mean and why. For that we should ask the blogosphere's best clairvoyant, Andy, what Susana DeLeon really meant and what her motivations truly were. He is an expert on everyone's true motivations, thoughts and beliefs.


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