the insults are flying.

for the past few months celebrities have found themselves in the spotlight for speaking their minds. you had the guy from grey’s anatomy and his homophobia and kramer from seinfeld and, more recently, shock jock imus on the racial rants. and folks have been calling for their heads.

i on the other hand was wondering if i suffer from tunnel vision and only get bent out of shape if things are racial or apply to me somehow. i wondered because when the grey’s anatomy star was accused of his statements i didn’t think he should be fired. all of a sudden i questioned if my motives were skewed because he is black and his statements were about gay people while i am black and not gay.

but yesterday i got confirmation that that isn’t the case.

in all fairness if my sister hadn’t blogged about imus i wouldn’t have known anything about it. i haven’t watched much television this weekend so maybe i missed the whole thing that way…but at any rate he apparently called a predominately black women’s basketball team “nappy headed hos.”

now i’m both black and female so i could have been offended in any number of ways…and while i find his statements despicable – i do agree with his right to say it.

these incidences are different to me than the one that recently surfaced about a military recruiter going to the mat with a gay “potential applicant”. the difference there is that there are explicit directions regarding her behavior as a military recruiter and she ignored them. she has grounds for firing. movie stars and shock jocks with a history of such behavior in more tolerant times do not.

i know this skates on thin ice. earlier today a friend of mine questioned i could be ok with it. ultimately i have a litmus test for my life and social or actual politics. if i want a right i assume that everyone should have that right. i don’t believe in suspending it for the moment…or revoking it so someone else can’t have it. by doing that i do harm to myself. by doing that we do harm to a system – that while not perfect – does allow us a degree of freedom and expression that is luxurious.

of course inciting violence is against the law. but calling me a darkie or a hoe or any other vulgar or inappropriate name is not.

do i want to hear imus on the radio? i don’t. i don’t care for his opinion. as a result i will continue to do what i’ve always done…and not listen to him. people who agree i urge to do the same. write letters or blog or whatever…but random firings at the behest of a lone person’s outrage or indignation is precarious footing…it doesn’t take much for someone not to agree with my own opinion and my right to have it.

one other tiny thing annoys me about this recent fervor…people immediately want apologies. i can’t for the life of me understand why. if i kick you in your shin deliberately how is my apology worth anything? if people clearly feel a particular way what does an apology do? you can apologize for vocalizing your opinion in an inappropriate manner…like the military guy a few weeks back ( i can respect his willingness to stand by what he said and believes if not his opinion). for everyone else “i’m sorry” rings hollow…


1 Comment on free speech isn't just for the words you agree with

  1. LaDawn says:

    Much better said than me…of course I agree with our sentiment as well.

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