I want to have the option of hearing racist public statements. When racists are denied freedom of speech I am denied my (implied) right to choose for myself what I want to hear.
I am not being sarcastic, right now
One of my fears about sharing my story is that people will look at my race and use my x-streetwalker status as proof that college is wasted on people my color. Nevertheless, the events of the past cannot be changed to sound less pitiful. So, what the hell, I decided to share my story even though by some measures I sound self pitying and I am taking the real risk that people will brand me with that label. Then my higher self was like, “Hello? You are opening yourself up to a lot of bad labels and the commitment was to tell the stories regardless of the negative feedback.”
I self identify as first, an American, and second, as a mixed race woman
I am a mixed race person who wants to know what racist people have to say. Why? First and foremost, I am a U.S. citizen who believes that the constitution is almost sacred. There’s a lot of great content in that document. Growing up with the principles of the Bill of Rights caused me to adopt the beliefs as part of my own belief set. I was told that the First Amendment is freedom of speech. I became a person who believes in freedom of speech, unless that speech directly endangers another. For example, it is not alright to yell “Fire!” in a crowded theater. With that notable exception people have the right to say whatever they want, even if I do not like what they say. People who make others uncomfortable should not be silenced. Unpopular views should not be squelched. It is un-American to censor politically incorrect statements
I am doing more than just standing up for unpopular people
There are those who would say my stand on free speech is nothing more than self serving. I have always been unpopular since the early days of kindergarten to the present. Who wants to hear from a whore? Not many. Those who publicly say “Yes, I want to hear from a whore,” would be likely to distance themselves from me by adding that they are interested in hearing from anyone. They are not truly interested in whore-speak (I just invented that term). Privately, behind closed doors, many people are interested in whore-speak, and they will eagerly check out my latest post to hear from the ivy league x-streetwalker. In my not so humble opinion, freedom of speech also implies freedom from speech. As Americans, we are not required to say anything we do not wish to say. I respect people who would never embrace me publicly but show a great deal of interest privately. You don’t have to be popular for people to want to hear your words. You don’t have to be popular to have something to say that is worth hearing. Most importantly, our right to exercise free speech and listen to free speech is totally independent on the quality of that speech and the social status of the speaker.
There has been a frightening trend to allow speech only if it is deemed popular and quality
To clarify my position further, it is necessary for me to specifically state that non-dangerous speech does not require any advocates. If freedom of speech is a right, we must understand the meaning of a “right.” A right cannot be earned, it cannot be snatched away, it cannot be granted. Rights are inborn and we cannot lose them. In theory, but I see the right to freedom of speech changing into the right to say what other people want to hear. The latest uproar over racist statements proves my points. I will explain what happened in general terms so I do not have to bother with fact checking the specifics, to be totally honest with you about my thought life in this moment. In the early 20th century, scientists were trying to figure out genetics, specifically they wanted to know the form of the stuff in the cell that carries our genetic information. One of the biggest breakthroughs in the history of science was when researchers discovered the double helix structure of DNA–the stuff within our cells that holds our genetic information that we inherit and will in turn pass on. The discovery was a really big deal and the people involved in the discovery will be forever remembered as making contributions to that changed the history of future of humans. That’s huge. You would think if one of those people had something to say on that subject society would at least hear him out. Nope.
Even An Expert is Silenced
One of those people was James Watson, who is now in his 90’s. He received many honors over the course of his long life and received much respect because if anyone is an expert, it’s him. Recently he said something like, political policies are based on the assumptions that Africans are as smart as whites but testing does not support this assumption. To further enlighten his listeners he remarked that there is a reason we hear about Latin Lovers but not English lovers (I think he is English).
People got really mad. Other scientists denounced him. He lost some of his positions in educational institutions and people were falling all over themselves to say they totally opposed his view. They did not let him fully explain his position, nor did they say the facts they used to disprove him. I cannot tell you how much I disapprove of that intolerant response. I want to know why he believes what he says. What information does he have that support his statements? If anyone is an expert, it is him. How can we not respond with “Why?” followed by expectant silence as we listen carefully to what he has to say. Who are we to tell someone more accomplished than us to shut up.
I invoke my right to hear free speech that disgusts me
I do not like hearing that I am inferior to white people. Just like you, I have heard this claim all of my life. I have considered the argument as it applies to me, if it does apply to me. I have asked myself a difficult question: what if Watson is right? What if credible information proves that whites are smarter than blacks? How can I judge the validity of the claims if we aren’t allowed to talk about it? Right now, given the reaction of the world to his words I do not know his facts. I cannot argue against the facts that I do not know. All I can say is I don’t like hearing such hurtful things, and it feels right to declare racism wrong. The world of science does not rest on the premise that we disavow anything that doesn’t feel right.
Here’s an example. I would be stronger if I were male. There is no denying this fact. Yet, there is no way for me to know this difference in strength simply by evaluating my own strength. I do not feel weak. I have learned facts that prove to me that men are physically stronger than women. I could not have determined this my relative strength had I lacked information about others.
If my racial heritage affects my intelligence, how would I know? My dear Readers, you might remember how a fake friend gave me the title “Harvard Hooker” behind my back. Well, this person, Sean, is treacherously sneaky in other ways, especially when money is involved. A person once asked me, “is he real greedy about money because he is a Jew?” My answer was automatic and came without thought, “Of course not! Being Jewish has nothing to do with him being a scammer.” Later, I pondered my answer. How could I be sure? If I could hear more from bigots I would have more information to use, or discard. No one has the right to tell me that I cannot hear something even if I would choose for myself not to listen.
My Worries about sharing my truth–am I adding fuel to the racist fire by telling my story?
Did I fail to live up to expectations of an ivy league grad because I am half black? I do not think so, but how do I really know my race is not a factor in my accomplishments and failures? Scientifically speaking, since I am half white and black, what is my race, really?
I want to be well informed as a person and the only way I can do that is to listen to the words that cause my face to burn and bring tears to my eyes. Only then can I effectively counter what I hear. Otherwise, if I maintain my ignorance, there will always be the doubt in the back of my mind that whispers–what if Watson is right? Because we have chipped away at freedom of speech, this ivy league x-streetwalker has no factual response.