the can and can’ts of the first ammendment

i don’t want to have this conversation, so to speak.  i don’t want to have to deal with this nonsense anymore, but it seems i have no choice.  our nation is up in arms and divided due to a hillbilly’s right to freedom of speech.  phil robertson from duck dynasty, a show on a&e that is literally about duck hunting, said some very homophobic slurs and made remarks about black people being happier when they were under the boot of jim crow during an interview with gq magazine.  a&e decided that they didn’t want the heat on their backs for his remarks and suspended him from the show.  which has actually brought both sides of the political debate to the table many across the aisles agreeing with the other.  the first ammendment has been trotted out and aspects of it quoted to justify this man’s right to free speech.  but let’s take a look at what the first ammendment really says:

The First Amendment (Amendment I) to the United States Constitution prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances.

It was adopted on December 15, 1791, as one of the ten amendments that comprise the Bill of Rights.

ok folks, nowhere in here does it say a person has the right to go around saying anything they want to with no repercussions.  it says the government of the united states cannot prohibit you from speaking your mind, practicing your chosen religion nor can the government  persecute journalists for writing truths, even if against the government.  it also says that as long as you are peaceful, you have the right to assemble in large groups and protest something you don’t agree with.  this ammendment, as with all others, are in place to keep the government from trampling all over the people, plain and simple.  it is not licence to walk around saying anything you want to say, at the cost of other ppl, and have no consequences to that action.

so does phil robertson have the right to say homophobic slurs?  that seems to be the main issue that everyone is focusing on.  yes, yes he does have that right. BUT, and here’s where it gets a bit tricky, i have the right not to hear it and to live peaceably.  a&e as a private company in a capitalist economic situation has the right to not have him on their programming.  not only can the remarks slash ratings, they can impact advertisers, and therefore putting a&e in jeopardy of being at a monetary loss.

the first ammendment also covers freedom of the press, but there is a line there too, although lately it seems like that line is way too blurry.  when you are a journalist, you have the moral obligation to fact find  as much as you can.   you are not allowed to go on television or write a news story based on lies or half truths.   when you do that, it is called libel when written and slander when said, and it is against civil law because you are literally ripping a person’s reputation apart.  so how do “journalist” like rush limbaugh get away with saying some of the nonsense he says?  when you clearly identify yourself as an op-ed journalist you are giving your opinion, it is not news in the sense of factual information, it is the opinion of the “journalist” based, hopefully, in response to what is happening in the news.

the first ammendment covers my right to assemble with as many queer ppl as i want and make out on phil robertson’s street.  it gives me the right to say what i think of his nonsensical bullshitery.  it gives me the right to call him a fucking moron who has not read up on his own mythology.  it gives people of color the right to say what they want in response to his comments.  all protected under the same freedoms as his right to hate-speech.  and even though he did not call for violence the perpetration of hatred against members of the queer community, is violent in nature and can create mob mentality.  also, the absolute idiocy of his remarks about black people during the time before jim crow laws were officially repealed-anyone who lives in the south knows that jim crow is still alive and well-say that people of color are better off when they are oppressed.  it is ridiculousness shrouded in nonsense and sorry, phil robertson losing his job over what spewed from his crawfish eatin hole is not covered by the first ammendment.

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ron paul is a disgusting racist!!

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“Many years ago Ron Paul received a $500 donation from the leader of Stormfront, a racist, white nationalist organization. Ron Paul publicly refused to return the money, and many people saw the fact that he kept it as proof positive that he is indeed a racist.

But is a donation from one person enough to indict him for racism? Honestly, no, probably not. That alone is not enough to indict him for racism. But if you pair that up with 10 quotes directly from Ron Paul that make him sound incredibly racist, it’s hard to believe otherwise. Read the quotes for yourself, and see if you believe Ron Paul is a racist.

1. ?”We don’t think a child of 13 should be held responsible as a man of 23. That’s true for most people, but black males age 13 who have been raised on the streets and who have joined criminal gangs are as big, strong, tough, scary and culpable as any adult and should be treated as such.”

 

2. “What else do we need to know about the political establishment than that it refuses to discuss the crimes that terrify Americans on grounds that doing so is racist? Why isn’t that true of complex embezzling, which is 100 percent white and Asian?”

3. ”Six-hundred-thousand Americans died in the senseless Civil War. No, he should not have gone to war. He did this just to enhance and get rid of the original tenet of the Republic.” -Regarding the Civil War

4. ”Given the inefficiencies of what DC laughingly calls the criminal justice system, I think we can safely assume that 95 percent of the black males in that city are semi-criminal or entirely criminal. These aren’t my figures, that is the assumption you can gather from” the report.”

5. “Contrary to the claims of the supporters of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the sponsors of H.Res. 676, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 did not improve race relations or enhance freedom. Instead, the forced integration dictated by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 increased racial tensions while diminishing individual liberty.” -On the 40th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act

6. “The Criminals who terrorize our cities – in riots and on every non-riot day – are not exclusively young black males, but they largely are.”

7. “I wouldn’t vote against getting rid of the Jim Crow laws.” -When asked if he would have voted for the Civil Rights Act.

8. “Opinion polls consistently show that only about 5 percent of blacks have sensible political opinions, i.e. support the free market, individual liberty and the end of welfare and affirmative action.”

9. “Immigrants can spread diseases for which we may have no immunity. There is also the question of crime and culture. Many immigrants come from countries with different legal structures and are not willing to behave in the way we expect American citizens to behave.”

10. “There is no such thing as a hate crime.” “

*from http://www.addictinginfo.org/2012/02/15/10-quotes-that-make-ron-paul-sound-racist/

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wow!

this is so overwhelmingly offensive!  i am not sure what world ron paul lives in…i can’t imagine it is earth, as it is today.  i don’t care the context in which he said these things, they are absolutely racist remarks, and the fact that they are said so flippantly proves he has no care that he is a big ol’ bigot!  this man should not be allowed to be in politics, at all, ever on any platform.  it is obvious that he will not take people of color into consideration when dealing with legislation, and if he does consider them it is in a slanted, hateful way!  his caricature of the big black man criminal, who is ignorant and just wants food stamps is not only ignorant but it is blatantly promoting hatred!  the idea of stopping immigration due to disease and values opposing those of the united states would be laughable if it wasn’t so offensive to what occurred throughout the history of the united states .  has he never been told what happened to the indigenous ppls when exposed to the european immigrants who invaded and went to war with sovereign nations that had been established for centuries?  his denial of hate crimes is, in this gal’s opinion, his consent to lynchings, racially motivated violence that is occurring daily throughout this country.

avoidance of privilege

avoidance of privilege

when i read the article about shannon gibney, i was reminded of all the times that i have come face to face with the mindset of “i don’t have any more privilege than you do!”  i am reminded of all the times i have heard white ppl say “well, we can’t have a white entertainment television station!”  or “there is not a white history month or a straight pride month!”  and it usually befuddles me into muteness, primarily because i know the ppl who are saying this don’t mean to push the oppression of others to the wayside they are simply in a defensive posture, they are interpreting white cis/straight male christian rich privilege in general and them as individuals.  yes. we all know YOU never did this to any BLACK person, YOU were not the ones who beat that TRANSWOMAN to death…everyone acknowledges that it was not YOU specifically, but to allow ego to get in the way of seeing reality from the perspective of the others is up to YOU!

i do not look at heterosexual ppl as though they themselves personally are out to get me personally, but there is a knowledge that i am different and i can be in danger at any moment at the hand of a heterosexual person.  that is just real.  as a women i do not look at all men as rapists and misogynous asses, but i do know that i can be on the receiving end of hatefulness, discrimination and harm at the hands of men.  i know my value socially is smaller than that of my male counterparts, but i do not think that the individual men in my life see me that way at all

i also have to admit that while i am on the outskirts of wasp culture, i know that i have a certain amount of privilege bc i am white.  i am able to get away with things bc i look the way i look.  for example, despite the realities of drug culture, i am the least likely to get pulled over for suspicion for drugs bc i am a white female in my 30’s, and as long as i stay in my neck of the woods i am relatively safe from a drug bust.  i am also less likely to be suspected of shoplifting.  that is real.  am i proud of that?   no, it is horrible, but not recognizing that it is reality is even more demeaning than the idea itself.  it is not until we take a good hard honest look in the mirror and at the world that these imbalances will continue to happen, causing more of a rift in the social fabric.

the reality is the western world was founded on the idea of diachotomy: good or evil, black or white, light or dark, male or female.  the judeo-christian values fuel our morals, despite more and more ppl pulling away from christanity and turning to agnosticism and atheism, the golden rule of conduct is still based on abrahamic law.  capitalistic races divide us into classes, and this has been used to cause a chasm between the poor ppl of color and poor white ppl for centuries-historically, in the united states and in most of europe the lines of division were not based on skin color, there were white slaves and many ppl with white skin were not considered white, but that was dangerous to the land owners and so a rift was created intentionally giving the white slave a better station and calling them indentured servants instead of slaves.

so what does all this mean?  it means that when ppl talk about privilege they are not necessarily talking about you, unless you are contributing to the problem on a personal basis. it means that those with privilege can use their power to help those who don’t have the same opportunities.  it means that we need to take some ownership of historical elements of oppression at the hands of our fathers and try to do what is right and just among all ppl.  telling people who have had their culture stolen, ripped away, burned, people who watched as their grandparents suffered to stifle their anger and refusing to look at it as real is so degrading.  it is real, it is still real today!  choking large populations of ppl so they can’t speak anymore is not solving anything except to make you a bit more comfy.

free cece mcdonald

free cece mcdonald

most ppl even within the lgbtqa community don’t know the name cece mcdonald. the crimes against her went unmentioned. if her name is mentioned, it is generally followed by “killed a man” or “convicted of second degree manslaughter”. the truth is cece was just walking down the street, and was verbally accosted by a group of white ppl outside of a bar, she had words with another woman and a fight broke out when the woman smashed a glass against cece’s face. in the group fight a man was stabbed and cece was arrested. so the straight white ppl were allowed to sling hate speech at the queer ppl of color, it was not illegal for the white woman to smash a glass against cece’s face slicing her open-the crime was cece’s defense of her life.
sadly, this is not a lone story. sadly, cece will not see freedom until feb 2014 at the soonest. crimes against transwomen are outrageously high and against trans woc it is unimaginable! many of the crimes against twoc go unreported bc when reported the woman is treated w disrespect and harassed as “deserving what she got” bc the prejudice of transwomen is they are all just “guys pretending to be female whores so they can rip off poor innocent men”. when they are raped, when they are assaulted, when they are hit, when they are cut, injured, run over, MURDERED it is looked at as though they deserved it. cece escaped w her life. and even though she is in jail for preventing her own murder, she is one of the lucky ones.
for more information or to show support and solidarity for cece mcdonald please visit:
http://supportcece.wordpress.com/

professional soldiers of revolution, a paycheck for a protest

professional soldiers of revolution, a paycheck for a protest

activistkeystone

in about the year 2000 i started doing work for autism awareness and education.  i was invested bc, at that time, one of my sons (later all 3 would be diagnosed) had autism spectrum disorders.  when i started researching into what autism was there was a bare minimum of information and even less that was accurate.  understanding how to research was the key to my success and i realized that there are many many many people out in the real world that either have never been introduced to the research process or who are thoroughly exhausted and just can’t manage pulling the strength of complete comprehension together.  how could their children benefit from a diagnosis when the parents and caregivers are stuck in a world filled with words of science and dr speak?  how can you apply what you have been told when you don’t understand the language?  that seemed to me to be a huge flaw in the system.  those who desperately needed the information on an understandable and comprehensible level were the ones left out in the cold.   a dr being able to understand is absolutely irrelevant to the lives of a family watching a loved one suffer and struggle, a family barely holding on to sanity from lack of sleep, constant self denial, consistent struggles about food, chasing shoes that are thrown out of the windows of moving cars and screaming at cashiers in grocery stores bc they give you the stink-eye are those that need to understand what is happening, not the professionals.

i think it was about 2006 or 2007 when i first heard of autism speaks, the new improved voice in the battle AGAINST autism.  at the time they came out, i had no idea how harmful they would become, and i was happy to see that the word autism was getting some spotlight attention.  that ppl were investing in public education and it was/is necessary.  at that time the stats were 1 in 150 ppl had asd’s, now we have an astounding rate of 1 in 88.  so the autism struggle went from a grassroots org to a national org with a load of money to boot.  autism speaks has generous backers and quite the line up of celebrities to get their message across, but what they are missing is the ppl w autism.  where are the voices of ppl w autism in the stop autism campaign of autism speaks?  they aren’t there, bc autism speaks does not speak for most ppl w autism.  their campaigns of fear and hatefulness of a neurological difference is not only alienating but also villainizing those w autism spectrum disorders.  the platform of eradicating the neuroprocessing of the autistic is devastating and makes the autistic person feel they are not good enough in the way they think currently and since autism affects the entire brain and nervous system that controls the entire body, there is no part of them that is not autistic and being told that autism is bad is saying they are bad.  autism was now in the limelight and characterized as a baby stealing monster.

i saw this same thing happen with the lgbtqa movement.  there are professional groups that are set up to normalize queers.  instead of demanding the respect we deserve for you know being human beings, we must conform to the standard of “normal” set by a society of ppl who really don’t want us around.  we adopt the hetronormative values and mimic the way they live, talk, dress, walk bc this is the only way to get respect-to conform losing our identity and culture and history in the process.

this is happening in most movements-the vigor is lost in translation due to professional ppls having secret meetings and making compromises.  this happens in the black community, the hispanic community, the muslim movement, environmental movements, native americans and first nations movements.  we water it down, conforming into white culture bc our cultures cannot be accepted on their terms, we can have some sense of equality if we pretend to be wasp.

losing grassroots movements to nonprofit big corps is a compromise to justice.  it breeds complacency, it encourages segregation at the crossroads of intersectionality, it drowns out the voices of those who have been denied replacing them with calm soothing voices of professional narrators.  what group does a black muslim poor lesbian belong to?  which part of her identity does she consider the most underfire, what part is least important to the whole woman?

we are not making room for those who are in the fight!  there is no platform available for a poor man to scream from, for a woman of color to advocate from, for the prisoner to address the issues of incarceration.  the humanitarian efforts are commodities at market peddled by frat boys with dread locks wearing thousand dollar suits.  those who are starving or fighting for survival, those ppl who have been neglected by society are now neglected by those “taking on the good fight for their justice” and they should be thankful for the backwash flowing in their direction, watered down equality set aside for those that will adapt.  the iconic woman, the iconic black man, the iconic prisoner, the iconic native…this is dangerous, this is the stripping of culture and forcing a whitewash on humanity.  look they can do it, what are you bitching about?

i am confused and frustrated by the whole thing.  on one hand the issues are being brought to the table and ppl are being forced to look at it, on the other hand the watered down justice and silencing of communities is horrible.  i am happy we have the noam chomskys and gloria steinems of the world, thank you to political orgs for speaking for my uterus, but seeing the ppl grab justice by the throat, demanding repayment of debts bought off our backs, insisting we be heard over the voices paid by nonprofs is necessary to any true movement for radical equal rights long overdue.