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"Free Speech" Versus "Political Correctness" - Exploring The Boundaries Between Personal Beliefs

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posted on Jun, 25 2013 @ 07:25 PM
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Sup ATSers? I had so many ideas for my next thread, it was gonna be a Pretty Big Thing (the first one was a little sappy, not gonna lie...
) but this goes way past pondering the inexplicable and fluffing my own ego!


We're going to talk about a touchy topic. Namely, the practical implications of our personal views and habits towards others. Or even, the "Other". Of course, many of you (kinda myself included) will be wondering which current affair this could be related to. Quite a few, really.

Recently in the UK, we've heard the press comment on a perceived "white flight" from a number of metropolitan areas, apparently a consequence of the rise in the immigrant population especially in the capital. The racial tensions in certain areas, particularly between White English and South Asian communities have been inflamed by a number of recent events that I won't go into any further detail about for the moment.

The issue of gay marriage has sparked a lot of debate across the West in the past few months. We're all over the place on that one, and this thread isn't to argue about that either.

To top it all off, though, has to be the lawsuit against one Paula Deen. That's right, folks. The "N-word" has, once again, become a current affair.

One of the many things these issues have in common would be the feeling of a suppression of free speech among certain members of society, but that can vary substantially depending on the particular issue itself. Some white people feel their freedom of speech is suppressed when discussing affirmative action. Some religious adherents feel the same on gay marriage, and some men feel the same on the subject of women's quotas in the boardroom.

If there's one thing I enjoy about living where I'm at, it's about being able to say pretty much whatever I want. Yes, we all know about PRISM and how the GCHQ are snaking me out to the gubmint just for writing that ignorant sentence, but think about it. People disappear in other parts of the world for saying the same things we do. They might say 'em once, we'll probably say them daily.

However, it would be right to say that my previous sentence isn't accurate in that, in the past few years, a couple of citizens in the UK at least have been incarcerated for "hate speech", Liam Stacey being one example. Should tweeting racist comments to a critically ill person be illegal? I'd say no, but surely one has to have a little bit of courtesy in that situation.

In contrast, Hackney North MP Diane Abbott had no charges put forward against her after the racially insensitive Tweets she posted last year. While she didn't exactly face legal problems for her transgressions, she did get a similar smear campaign to the one that Paula Deen's getting right now, not to mention she's lost all but the little face she had in her party, and the country to boot.

So where do our actions as average Janes and Joes come into the foray? Why do we say what we say about, and do what we do to people who "aren't like us"? Should we really have to watch what we say?

Here's a little anecdote. Back in my university days (only a year ago, but still) I lived in Bradford. It's a city that is much more diverse and less than London at the same time, in that it has a smaller white population, but the minority population is predominantly Muslim. That Muslim population hails from all four corners, mind you, but many of them are Pakistanis who also self-segregate by region.

Almost fortnightly, I would be called the N-word by strangers, whether it was on the way home from studying, partying or just late-night gallivanting to clear one's head. Rarely would it be from the mouths other black people - the percentage is a drop in the ocean there - but from people of all other backgrounds. English people, South Asian people, Greek people, Arabs, and a couple Chinese too. Not that it bothered me.

Why not? Probably because I'm the token friend in many of the circles I frequent or frequented at work, school and outside. I have, at some point, given many of these non-black people a free pass to use such words in banter because of the comfortable environment. Several other people of all backgrounds have done the same at some point, but they're hardly a dime a dozen.

When I think of free speech, it helps to analogise it with gun laws. I think people should totally have guns, but they should be trained and know exactly when and when not to use them. Why would you want to cling to your freedom to say whatever you want just so you can hurt people on unfair grounds? Seriously, who still thinks like this, and why are we defending them instead of the victims of said verbal abuse? Women in binders, people. Women in binders.

It all comes down to comfort and social awareness. Here's a little social experiment that might be fun to try. If you happen to be a member of the majority ethnicity in your own area, time how long it takes you (from the moment you wake up) to realise that you are the ethnicity you are, and what that means to others in your society. It would work just as well for men as well. How quickly does it take you to acknowledge the fact that you are a man during the day?

It's an awareness that minorities are often uncomfortable with. My shoulders are chip-free, but I'm reminded that I'm not white pretty much daily. Public transport, customers at work, and even passers by outside just seem to exhibit changes in body language and even subtle quirks in vocal tone when we come into contact. I don't hold it against them; that would be ridiculously hypersensitive, but it's just an undeniable product of how humans experience perceived differences in others, especially with differences they aren't acquainted with.

So what's my point? Well, unfortunately ATS, it comes down to the same, tired old argument of privilege. Not just white privilege, or even male privilege, but it's essentially the privilege that's afforded to those who closely resemble the ruling class of any state, whether that's through something superficial like race or sex, or something deeper, like economic status or political belief.

These privileges is clinal and vary between persons. It's not usually "given" to them as a gift or right, so it generally goes unnoticed by everyone except those who don't have it. In fact, the Kotaku article below puts it in humourous but really legible terms.

Straight White Male: The Lowest Difficulty Setting There Is

The article pretty much sums up my feelings on the subject. The reason why people from certain groups frequently come under fire for the things they say is because of this social mechanism. If you're closer to the "Straight White Male" archetype or any one of its equivalents, your invisible privilege grants you a louder voice. People will listen and are more likely to take you seriously. Instead of focusing on your ethnicity or sex, they will be more likely to pick apart your every sentence.

Now that being said, how do you guys feel on the subject? Should we be more courteous when exercising our freedom of speech? How far do we have to go before our words become outright discrimination?

DISCLAIMER: I don't want to ban people from using words. At all.
edit on 25-6-2013 by ihavenoaccount because: Cheers intrptr! Forgot the last link, silly me!





posted on Jun, 25 2013 @ 07:52 PM
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The URL on your last link is missing. If you double check that so we can read it that would help.



posted on Jun, 25 2013 @ 07:57 PM
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I believe that people should be more courteous in their choice of words. However, I strongly believe that people need thicker skin and need to stop bitching about everything.

I enjoyed your post OP. Thank you S&F



posted on Jun, 25 2013 @ 08:04 PM
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I dig ya.
S&F.

Is it okay to say *raises fist* "more power to ya!?"

My beautiful, multi-talented, brilliant daughter is 1/2 Asian and a good 16th American Indian. She delights in the nickname "Chero-chink" and couldn't care less what anyone thinks about it. She just continues to rule. Capiche, Kemosabes?



edit on 25-6-2013 by The GUT because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 25 2013 @ 08:12 PM
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reply to post by kimish
 


You're right my friend, the argument goes both ways. I think that having a thick skin would be a courtesy in itself. People make faux-pas statements and actions all the time out of inexperience, and that should be acknowledged. Then there are the generally unpleasant people who should be ignored. Of course, some of them don't like that, hehe!


reply to post by The GUT
 


Right on, man! Freedom of identity is one of the truest freedoms we can claim. IMO. Wish my parents were more open to my apathy about being called a... well it can't be said on here lol. But hey, I'm 22 so in their eyes, what do I know?



posted on Jun, 25 2013 @ 08:15 PM
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Originally posted by ihavenoaccount
Right on, man! Freedom of identity is one of the truest freedoms we can claim. IMO. Wish my parents were more open to my apathy about being called a... well it can't be said on here lol. But hey, I'm 22 so in their eyes, what do I know?

You know a lot! Much respect!



posted on Jun, 25 2013 @ 08:16 PM
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Straight white male .. link to the article in op




I've been thinking of a way to explain to straight white men how life works for them, without invoking the dreaded word "privilege," to which they react like vampires being fed a garlic tart at high noon. It's not that the word "privilege" is incorrect, it's that it's not their word. When confronted with "privilege," they fiddle with the word itself, and haul out the dictionaries and find every possible way to talk about the word but not any of the things the word signifies.


I have to disagree with the individual writing this..

It seems to me he lacks a certain skill or two...

Using the same metaphor..

The clans and guilds behave differently towards skills

What the author is complaining about is about being a newbie not allowed to join any of the guilds because he has no value to them...

The base setting of straight white male left out a lot of material..

The rules are different then he claims.. He has no access which is apparent from the article


You see the ones running the guilds base exclusion on something entirely different.. The sorting process is not base on skin color. The separating process is on perceived value and skills..


The harding effect

is based on the idea that beautiful people get away with more


It means that the separation is based on looks and social value..


Heres the kicker to the club entry...

Women are the key.. In fact it is based on them..

Enough secrets for now...

Summing up the author of Red Shirts did let me down with the book and this article.. It is not an easier difficulty setting it is based on looks and cash..



posted on Jun, 25 2013 @ 08:24 PM
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I lovingly call my husband a SOB yeah, I get it.



posted on Jun, 25 2013 @ 08:24 PM
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Originally posted by ripcontrol
The clans and guilds behave differently towards skills...

And yet, some arise above it all and achieve what they want to achieve. I certainly have some "white guilt." Funny thing is, though, is that during my sojourns to "feed the homeless" and help those "less fortunate," the "unfortunates" schooled me.

Folk in the projects will OUTGIVE you every day of the week. Not only that, I was once told by three very serious men to take my "white guilt" home--that it was their problem. After I got over my pathetic hurt feelings...I realized they were real men with a point.

We will never solve these issues by "seeing color" but, rather, by never letting "color" mean a damn thing.


edit on 25-6-2013 by The GUT because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 25 2013 @ 08:38 PM
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I could go into many issues here in South Africa on that topic.

I think one can also over-read signals, or overcompensate.

Some black South Africans now actually complain that some whites are trying to learn an African language, and they will actually invade their space and try to speak isiXhosa or isiZulu to them.

While the intent is noble, many wonder how whites would feel if blacks just started chatting them up randomly and told them about their Afrikaans lessons.
Is there a power relationship being reinforced through this?
Of course many blacks nowadays are from other African countries, and don't speak the local languages.

Is it perhaps a matter of perception?
When I go out with German speaking family there's invariably people who do the same, from waiters to complete strangers, as in: "Excuse me, do you come from Germany, what part of Germany do you come from?"
Then they try to speak German or tell some story of their ex-German boyfriend and so forth.
It can get annoying.

I recall more worrisome encounters.
For example, once I had a meeting with a supervisor, and I got a bit carried away and spoke over her unintentionally, and suddenly she got a complete look of terror and ended the session.

But then I thought that I don't know what she'd been through.
She was a colored lady, and I'm a white male.
I know that white cops could be very brutal under apartheid, and that they entered black and colored schools with great shows of violence.
I heard on the radio that some black people who lived through that crumble when they hear a white person slightly raising their voice (as a matter of fact I still crumble when some white men raise their voices, since white society was also quite fascist and violent).
Conversely, I also know of white people who were victims of black crime who have a kind of phobia.
Our past and baggage is always with us.

It was just quite terrible for me, because one doesn't know whether to mention it again (and cause further embarrassment), or maybe I misinterpreted it or what.



posted on Jun, 25 2013 @ 08:41 PM
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Originally posted by ripcontrolI've been thinking of a way to explain to straight white men how life works for them, without invoking the dreaded word "privilege," to which they react like vampires being fed a garlic tart at high noon.

Not to mention, you idgit--that "privilege" is an easy--and racist--term to bandy about. Who are you to say that--for example--a white male child that has been, say, molested or teased because of their looks is necessarily "privileged?."

I HATE the "N' word. I've been in fights because of it. Time has taught me a very different lesson however: Lets take its power away. Lets make it meaningless. OP is a stand-up human being imo. Listen and learn.



posted on Jun, 25 2013 @ 08:54 PM
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Maybe I wasnt born or raised in serious times of oppression, whether a slave, immigrant, etc, and had to deal with how words hurt at different times in our society, and yes, world.

But I like to think that I was lucky to have avoided, and not that this isnt still happening, but that the color of my skin, or my gender, or sexual preference wasnt used against me to show hate, or discontent by words that were created, share, chanted, yelled at me to show how insignificant I was, and how superior those that felt the need to say such things felt better.

Freedom of Speech wasnt meant for us to use the N word, or F**got, or Jew, or Cracker, etc., it was mean for those who had less freedom to be able to speak against hate, not try to use it to make hateful words seem insignificant.

Our vocabulary is far to wide, for us to still use terminology at a time that we knew these words were use for the intent to hurt.

Peace, NRE.



posted on Jun, 25 2013 @ 09:03 PM
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reply to post by halfoldman
 


Thanks for sharing your experiences, man. It just goes to show how easy things have been in the UK for most of the current generation.

Your German-speaking family? Snap! It's strange, but when people come into contact with the erm... exotic for lack of a better term at the moment, they get rather carried away.

Sometimes I'm asked questions about the "black perspective" on things, as if I represent all black people. It's funny when you recollect, but can be disturbing when in the moment. Of course, that also means I have to be careful in how I respond.


It is a sensitive thing, to revisit the past. Of course, many of us had little to do with those atrocities, but we should learn from those mistakes and refuse to repeat them. Not talking about you, of course! Though it does sound like a very uncomfortable position to be in. Deepest sympathy, friend.

reply to post by The GUT
 


Dude, I'm flattered! Stand-up human being... will try to remember the next time I consult Uncle Bob...


Seriously, though, making the word meaningless, totally with you on that. It's funny because the word has so many applications now. I'm not sure if all of you are familiar with Louis C.K, but he did a side-splitting bit on the N-word in one of his specials. It really brought home the fact that banning the word won't do anything, but there are ways to take away its power... even transform it. Who knows, maybe I'm being too radical here, but it's really worth a shot.



posted on Jun, 25 2013 @ 10:05 PM
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Originally posted by ihavenoaccount
Seriously, though, making the word meaningless, totally with you on that. It's funny because the word has so many applications now. I'm not sure if all of you are familiar with Louis C.K, but he did a side-splitting bit on the N-word in one of his specials. It really brought home the fact that banning the word won't do anything, but there are ways to take away its power... even transform it. Who knows, maybe I'm being too radical here, but it's really worth a shot.

HaHA! I haven't come across the Louey CK bit berfore. I see why you referenced, rather than posted it though. Seeing as how we are both alleged "minorities," however, is it okay, my nigga, if we post it? As Van Halen once said, "I don't feel tardy!" I hope my chillun' turn out as well as you have. So far, so good.




Van Halen reference:






edit on 25-6-2013 by The GUT because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 25 2013 @ 10:19 PM
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reply to post by The GUT
 


I think I might need to delve a bit deeper with Val Halen... Alex's drums are too good to ignore!

But ja, thanks for taking my bullet dude!
I think the video should be up here, Louis is hilarious in general. He talks about it a little more with Chris Rock, Seinfeld and Ricky Gervais in this weird special/talk show/documentary. Great comedians have social commentary down pat, if only one could be taught "funny"...



posted on Jun, 25 2013 @ 10:29 PM
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Originally posted by ihavenoaccount
reply to post by The GUT
 
I think I might need to delve a bit deeper with Val Halen... Alex's drums are too good to ignore!

But ja, thanks for taking my bullet dude!
I think the video should be up here, Louis is hilarious in general. He talks about it a little more with Chris Rock, Seinfeld and Ricky Gervais in this weird special/talk show/documentary. Great comedians have social commentary down pat, if only one could be taught "funny"...

Ya know...back in tha' 80's I never doubted those drums. Funny you should mention it though, because after previewing it this time before posting, I noticed how truly kick-ass they were. So much so, I had to wonder if it was digital? I mean Alex being a cracker and all.


Seriously: Did he bang the drums like that???!!!



posted on Jun, 25 2013 @ 10:54 PM
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reply to post by The GUT
 


Seriously: He did.



Herein lies the rub. I've got family who will say "Ah, rhythm is what our people have! No one does it better." If they want to call 14% of the planet who speak thousands of different languages "their people", then I guess they're right to an extent. African music focuses more on rhythm where European music focused on harmony, Asian music and melody and so on...

But we all have it! It's how you're brought up. When I was a pre-teen I had less than no rhythm. Started listening to my dad's rare groove tracks and boom, I could dance. Lol at it all.

I think that if the whole world were 1) a little more curious and 2) a lot more laid-back, this thread wouldn't exist. Of course, we learn through our struggles, so maybe we do need to give a little credit where it's due.

The response to this thread has been extremely pleasant, though. Thanks to everyone for your input so far!



posted on Jun, 25 2013 @ 11:02 PM
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Originally posted by The GUT

Originally posted by ripcontrolI've been thinking of a way to explain to straight white men how life works for them, without invoking the dreaded word "privilege," to which they react like vampires being fed a garlic tart at high noon.

Not to mention, you idgit--that "privilege" is an easy--and racist--term to bandy about. Who are you to say that--for example--a white male child that has been, say, molested or teased because of their looks is necessarily "privileged?."

I HATE the "N' word. I've been in fights because of it. Time has taught me a very different lesson however: Lets take its power away. Lets make it meaningless. OP is a stand-up human being imo. Listen and learn.


I am curious.. I will assume due to manners that you understand the quote you linked to me came straight from the article..

I am not picky just very needy..

I do agree with your response to the article..

you nailed it on the head that power is what it is about and abuse of power is multicultural...

You made me think of a clear example...
Bullies cross race, gender, and religious lines... quiet easily


As for derogatory words..

I do not hate words.. I use a few of them from time to time to spice my conversations with those I consider special needs.. (nothing makes a night at the bar interesting like calling a wanna be gansta cowboy a dryback..
)

Its not the words... people to often link words as fact.. at most the vocabulary usage is a window.. A word of advice from history, look at the actions

Then if you still feel action is necessary, explain to him the human body's ability to accelerate, via an amazing chemical system, mass of limbs.
edit on 25-6-2013 by ripcontrol because: pontifacting if chili has beans in it



posted on Jun, 25 2013 @ 11:06 PM
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reply to post by ihavenoaccount
 



edit on 25-6-2013 by The GUT because: (no reason given)



posted on Jun, 25 2013 @ 11:09 PM
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reply to post by ripcontrol
 

I probably misunderstood you, Rip. My sincere apologies if so. ;



edit on 25-6-2013 by The GUT because: (no reason given)



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