When Political Correctness Threatens Free Speech
There is a large portion on society that continues to express a fear that their free speech and expression is at risk of being infringed upon. This fear is understandable, and it is legitimate in one aspect. Freely expressing yourself is and will always be at risk of being limited or undermined by others who may oppose your speech or expression. The reason is because just as one has the freedom of speech and expression, those who oppose that speech or expression have equal protection in speech and expression to oppose it. The First Amendment that guarantees freedom of speech does not and was not intended to protect any citizen from not facing any consequences from their free expression. The First Amendment protects an individual from facing any consequences imposed by the U.S. government, except for atrocities, among which include child pornography pornography, speech such as “hate speech” that imposes a clear and immediate danger to others, and speech that disparages the civil rights of others.
In recent years, when the conversation about freedom of expression has arisen, it almost always has been do to the issue of race. However, an infringement of one’s freedom of speech or expression in modern times is virtually never infringed upon according to the U.S. constitution in respect to the reason of those who most frequently uses that mantra. It usually involves someone making incendiary comments about race and receiving backlash or even loosing employment because of it. One of the more notable of these is when Don Imus was fired by CBS and MSNBC in 2007 for making a racial slur while on air, referring to a group of Black basketball players as “nappy-headed hos.” Had Imus been arrested or fined by a government official, his freedom of speech would have been violated, but that never occurred. In reality, Imus’ freedom of speech and the bosses’ that fired him freedoms of speech and expression were protected by law, neither were penalized by law.
Beyond the statement that Imus made involving race, an employee is a representative of his or her employer, and it is not uncommon for an employer to fire an employee for any behavior they seem unacceptable. In fact, many States have at will laws, which mean that the employee can be fired just because. In which circumstance, it’s usually referred to as being laid off. I personally am not sure if firing him was the right decision, but I’m sure that they had the right to fire him and that his First Amendment right of free speech was not violated. Some may argue that if he were Black and said the same thing, he would not have been fired. Maybe not, but his rights were not infringed upon by law.
Since that incident, numerous people have lost their jobs behind publicly making incendiary comments via media, especially social media. This phenomenon has led to a sizable segment of the American public to feel that they are loosing their freedom, when in actually, people are actually those who act in opposition are also expressing a freedom. Though just 50 years ago it was commonplace to publicly make incendiary comment about minorities with little to no backlash, it is not true today, and that is the true “right” that many who hold White supremacist ideology feel slipping away. No longer can a restaurant post a sign that states “no coloreds allowed,” and sit back and watch law enforcement infringe upon the rights of Blacks who are water-hosed, bitten by police dogs, and beaten in an attempt to freely express their opposition to incendiary and racially disparaging speech. That is where the true subconscious resentment lies.
November 4, 2008 is when the great awakening of White supremacy really begun. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. prophesied this great awakening: “This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.” There are still those who refuse to honor the check that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 certified. It still bounces back as “insufficient funds.”
This rude awakening has caused such frustration that those who resist the First Amendment right of others, to bring backlash, as being forced to be “politically correct.” Just as no one’s First Amendment rights are violated when they are not undermined by the government, no one is forced to be politically correct. We all are free to not be “politically correct.” However, those who are opposed to politically incorrectness have the right to do so. Only ones conscience or opinions of competing ideas can compel one to be politically correct. Much of Dr. King’s message during his time wasn’t at all politically correct, and he was beaten, jailed and murdered for not being politically correct for that time. Today, we have people like Donald Trump who is not politically correct, but he does’t face jail for doing so, and he shouldn’t be. He is touted by many for “telling it like it is,” but somehow, those who express outrage are somehow enemies of the First Amendment.
While exerting that others are enemies of the constitution, many who claim to love it and capitalism or the free market, are the very ones who seek to undermine it. The free market place of ideas is what regulates what is politically correct. This market place allows for competing ideas to be vetted and established a standard among citizens. The ideas that win the support of the majority are what decides what’s politically correct. Lyndon B. Johnson, the president who signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 used the word nigger when referring to Blacks. In that day, that was acceptable within the marketplace of ideas, but today it’s not acceptable for a U.S. president to refer to Black citizens as niggers without receiving backlash. It’s time to realize that what was the norm in the 60’s will not be the norm going forward. This country is still much like a growing toddler, and it’s forefathers have already inscribe its irreversible DNA which is the genetic code of what it will grow to become. The days of racial in-equally is fading away, and the judgement day of racial in-equality is at hand. If there is any blaspheme because of citizenship through birth-right, the equality of all men, or the freedom of opposing expression, it should be laid upon the creators of the constitution, and not those who seek compliance to it.