Friday, April 13, 2007

Freedom of Speech

Don Imus got cancelled because ofcapitalism--the money people withdrew their suport and his show was cancelled. That they withdrew their support because of his racist and sexist talk, in my honest opinion, this was a long time coming. But we should look at all speech that is commercial--and racist and/or sexist.
What is the effect when public figures use language or make statements that are derogatory to a group of people, and are getting big bucks to do so? What message does that send?
For instance, if one hears women referred to as "hos" or "feminazis" what message does that send to males and to females about how women ought to be treated?
What is the affect when a general in uniform says that he thinks homosexuals are immoral--what does that say for the current "don't ask, don't tell policy" or any future possibility of inclusion? How can we even think of moving his opinion--persuasion is the vehicle of change, after all--when he is not called on his actions as against current policy by his superiors?
Language is very powerful.
Freedom of speech is one of our most cherished rights, but it is freedom of speech to hear ideas, to debate them--not to dismiss and disrespect people.
It is a right that needs to be protected (and notice, please, that it was NOT the government which called Imus on his language, but the free marketplace).
It is a right that needs to be used knowingly.

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