Freedom of Speech Is The Latest Tool Of The White Male Bigot


2016 has been the year of controversy. People whether politicians, rappers or online personalities are constantly being attacked and or held accountable for expressing questionable views.  From the alleged anti-Semitic comments of Ken Livingstone, to the prejudice insults hurled from rapper Azealia Banks to former One Direction member Zain Malik; more than ever we are challenging people for their views.

There is an irony in a black woman, a person who is often the target of hate being banished from Twitter, just as it is ironic that The Labour Party became a scapegoat for anti-Semitism. This contrasts with the unchallanged issues of Islamophobia and anti-black racism for The Conservative Party. In our internet age every person, whether in relation to sexuality, race, religion,  sex, class or disability have experienced a white male bigot using freedom of speech to justify outrageous views.

Don’t get me wrong, freedom of speech is a fundamental characteristic of a democratic society. It allows growth and conversation, which on a geo-political scale is a freedom that is often denied. When I proudly assert my blackness, challenge the austerity of the government and homophobia in the Christian faith I acknowledge my privilege in being able to do so. It is however, an issue when those from privileged groups behave violently towards the marginalised on a daily basis. Asserting freedom of speech, should not mean denying others their right to exist without hate and fear. These individuals do not face the same accountability, as those at the bottom of the social hierarchy. Nor do they expreience the hate, directed towards those who ideologically challenge the status quo.

With this in mind, we must consider why bigots are able to offend and victims are just expected to deal with it. Those with left wing points of view, whether communist or socialist are demonised regardless of what they say. Black Lives Matter are seen to be black supremacists out to subordinate the white man and feminists are seen as erratic and crazy for wanting equality.

Not only is there a pressure to fit into the middle ground, but there is also a rise of far right and even fascist views which are beocming more acceptable.  The white man is able to incite terror, yet is treated with humanity and seen as a lone wolf regardless of patterns of violence. The murder of anti-racist MP Jo Cox is a clear symbol of this.  Voices like Donald Trump and Nigel Farage have contributed to this political climate. In an unfair society, freedom of speech is a principle used to belittle, oppress and silence others. We should not pretend that it is fair, as society is unfair.

The blurred boundaries between what is and what is not offensive towards Israel, allows the behaviour of the state to carry on uncriticised and protected despite its crimes.  Such occurrences become accepted as a norm, just as the hate speech of white male bigot becomes a pattern of society.

There are people who imagine a world where everyone is treated equally. Geography is not a factor in life expectancy, race does not limit your ability to succeed and there are no glass ceilings.  Though I will be dismissed as a PC Social Justice Warrior, societal divisions should be challenged in condemning hate speech and highlighting double standards. In this multidimensional world, we must realise freedom of speech as a principle protects some more than others.



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