(Just a plain old rant)
I saw a story this morning on The Smoking Gun about a group of students at a small college in Texas who are on the hot seat for throwing a party on MLK day. It wasn’t so much the act of throwing a party as it was the photographs that were posted on an internet site afterward showing partygoers dressed in faux gang apparel, eating fried chicken, and drinking malt liquor from bottles wrapped in brown paper bags. Condemming their acts as being rooted in racism, prejudice and bigotry, school administrators are now considering disciplinary action against the students in question, which could include expulsion.
Expulsion? Really? For throwing a costume party?
It seems there have been several cases of students coming under fire for throwing parties wearing costumes perpetuating “gang-banger” stereotypes, some of whom were actually expelled because of it.
Now I will grant you that I don’t know any of these kids from Adam, but from what I have read of the party (and the other similar instances) it seemed nothing more than a fairly harmless themed college kegger.
There is another article I read on the same topic, citing one of the other instances where the offending student was actually suspended. Here’s what Dr. Richard Cravatts had to say about it…
“He (accused student) received his punishment (expulsion), not because he participated in actual illegal harassing or intimidating behavior—such as burning a cross on the lawn of a black fraternity, making racist death threats, or following someone of color across campus while taunting them repeatedly with racial epithets, behavior that might more easily be defined as unprotected expression—but because some individuals were ‘offended’ by speech that was not even made directly to them.” <Click Here to read the entire article>
Now I concede that the theme of the party was in bad taste, or at the very least the decision to Hold it on MLK day was not particularly bright, but does it really warrant suspension? Why does this act cause outrage when seemingly similar acts (at least in my mind) do not? Is donning a sombrero and pounding coronas on Cinco de Mayo any less offensive an act? How about something as simple as celebrating Thanksgiving or Columbus day? I venture to guess a number of American Indians may not find much joy in these holidays, much less agree with their observance, yet mainstream society doesn’t seem to have a problem turning a blind eye to that bloody piece of history (and before anyone even brings it up, banning American Indian sports mascotts does not count as an act of remourse or request for forgiveness).
It seems offended people are more and more on the offensive, and continually getting their way. We’re turning into a victimized country of crybabies. What are people offended about these days?
A Rabi got offended that there weren’t any Hanukkah decorations up in the Seattle Airport, and in the end all decorations were taken down entirely (correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t Hanukkah pretty much the LEAST important off all Jewish holidays? Why then was it such a big deal?)
The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) reports that the glass Cube Apple erected earlier this year on New York’s tony Fifth Ave, dubbed Apple Mecca by many of the Mac faithful, is offensive to Muslims due to the Cube’s resemblance to the Ka’bah (aka The House of Abraham). The report goes on to say that there’s a genuine belief that the design of the store was specifically meant to provoke Muslims and cites other contributing insults such Apple housing “bars” that sell alcoholic beverages within the Cube structure and it being open 24/7. <read more>
Here’s a good one from a couple of years ago – The Rev. Jesse Jackson on Saturday criticized Mexican President Vicente Fox’s comment that Mexican immigrants to the United States take jobs “that not even blacks want to do.”
Perfect, now we’ve got minorities offending other minorities…
And Rosie? Well she seems to be offending everyone.
You know what I’m offended by? Fred Phelps, a now disbarred lawyer and Baptist Pastor who, along with his entire “family” like to stand out on street corners and hold up signs that say “God Hates Fags”and “Fags Die. God Laughs”. Small children barely old enough to read, (and generally members of the Phelps clan) made to stand and picket military funerals, gay pride gatherings, and high-profile political gatherings, arguing it is their sacred duty to warn others of God’s anger. Being from Topeka, KS I had the distinct displeasure of growing up a regular spectator of these events (their picket place of choice was just down the street from where I grew up). And as much as I despised every last one of them, I still acknowledge it was (and is) their constitutional right to stand out there and hold their signs and damn to hell anyone and everyone as they see fit, so long as they do it within the confines of the law.
And with that I close with another thought from my good friend Dr. Richard Cravatts who observes that all too often people “…hold the notion that free speech is only good when it articulates politically correct, seemingly hate-free, views of protected victims or minority groups.”
and finally, “free speech (is) of particular importance, not only to allow discourse of popular topics, but, even more importantly, in instances where unpopular or hateful speech is deemed offensive and unworthy of being heard. If there is any principle of the Constitution”, he observed, “that more imperatively calls for attachment than any other, it is the principle of free thought—not free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought that we hate.”