Thursday, November 13, 2008

"Freedom of expression", but only for popular views

The NAACP is badgering N.C. State to expel four students for painting racist anti-Obama graffiti on campus.

The only problem with doing that is that the place where the graffiti was written was the designated zone for it:

"While some students painted pro-Obama messages in N.C. State's "Free Expression Tunnel" on the night of Nov. 4, racist graffiti was there early Nov. 5, campus police said."

Pro-Obama = good.
Anti-Obama = bad, very bad, let's throw them out.

Censorship at its finest.

Since the students weren't charged criminally with threatening Obama, we must conclude that the "Free Expression Tunnel" isn't, since the expressing of admittedly vile and ugly opinions is threatening to end these students' careers.

While I am in no way condoning or supporting the sentiments expressed by the students (as a matter of fact, I happen to believe that they were the worst kind of race-baiting), it would seem to me that the perfect place for such screeds is a "free expression" zone on a university campus. That way the statements could be debated openly and fairly, and a definitive conclusion as to their merit could be reached in the light of day, which is always the best way to resolve such issues, in my view. Instead, the crushing bootprint of the administration and an outside organization are brought to bear before the students get a chance to work matters out in a civil fashion for themselves.

The First Amendment was designed specifically to preserve one's right to come out with their opinion, however nasty and backward. If all speech was polite and nice, it wouldn't need protecting, now would it?

"The tunnel is a place where students are encouraged to speak their minds"

It sure doesn't sound like that to me. What student in their right mind is going to dare to express an unpopular thought publicly in the future?

1 comment:

Seth said...

The article said that the NAACP is whining. It didn't say anything about the school caving.