How to Get Away With Censorship

Racist, bigot, facsist–these are terms used by the enemies of freedom to silence those with whom they disagree and those who “offend” them.  The current epithet-du-jour is bully.  Now, all of those words are good English words with accepted definitions, and I have no problem using them when their use is appropriate.  A person who says that black people are inherently less intelligent than white people is, by definition, a racist.  However, a person who says that black people should be expected to get as high a score on job placement exams as white people is not.  Likewise, a person who beats up homosexual people is a bully, but a person who simply says that his religion teaches that homosexual behavior is a sin is not.

A high school student in Wisconsin has been accused of bullying for writing an unpopular editorial in the school newspaper–an editorial that opposed the adoption of children by same-sex couples.  The real bullying, based on several dictionary definitions that I read has been done against the student editorialist.  The school officials and one of the parents are bullying him by using their power to disgrace, discredit, and silence him.  After all, he is just a lowly student expressing his viewpoint–at the paper’s invitation.

Now, if he had targeted another student and urged people to beat up that student, that might be an example of bullying–or at least incitement to bullying.  If he had written nasty insults about a particular student or students, that certainly would be bullying.  However, giving general remarks about a controversial issue?  That simply isn’t bullying.

I have some questions, sincerely posed:

Why is this student’s editorial bullying but the opposing viewpoint is not?

What happened to the student’s First Amendment rights?

How can a educational institution take sides on a matter that the public is still debating?

Why do the school officials take upon themselves the power to endorse one student’s viewpoint and to denounce the other student’s viewpoint?

Doesn’t this approach give any offical the right to pass judgment on any speech by any student?  What if a rightwing principal censored students who stood up for the rights of Muslim students or censored students who wrote an informative article about abortion?

7 responses to “How to Get Away With Censorship

  1. RG,

    The answer to all your questions is this:

    When contradictions hold merit, anything irrational is possible.

    This is why I hold such stern condemnation of contradictions – in the end, they always create a condition far worse than what was attempted to be solved by creating it.

    Suddenly free speech is a violent act.

    Miniature toy guns on 1″ army dolls are a threat to international airline travel.

    A shirt with a picture is a threat to international airline travel.

    An accent is a threat to all travel.

    The root:
    Enforcement of Contradictions.

    Though “Scott” would disagree, this is the place to start.

  2. Well, what if a white student wrote an editorial that mixed race couples shouldn’t be allowed to adopt? I’m not sure if it’s bullying, but that, like the editorial in question, is outside the scope of what should be allowed in school papers. It’s rooted in ignorance and anti-gay bigotry, and our schools should be working to teach kids that homosexuality is normal and should be accepted.

  3. Oh, student/school newspapers don’t have first amendment protections. That’s considered a school activity, not actual journalism. Schools have wide discretion on what to allow or ban.

  4. Scott, race has nothing to do with parenting. You’re comparing apples and oranges. In fact, you are implying that being black is analagous to having abnormal sexual attraction or engaging in abnormal sexual behavior or both. Some of my black friends would find that insulting.

    However, if I had to answer, I would say that a student has the right to voice the opinion that mixed-race couples should not be allowed to adopt. (Which is not my view at all!) Other students would then have the right to voice a contrary opinion.

    Trampling on students’ rights is not only wrong, but it bolsters the conspiracy theory that the government is persecuting certain groups of people because of their beliefs.

    You say that “our schools should be working to teach kids that homosexuality is normal and should be accepted.” That sounds like a moral statement to me, and I thought you disagreed with schools weighing in on moral matters. What if I said that our schools should be working to teach kids that a fetus is an unborn person whose life should be protected?

    Or are you saying that certain people (such as yourself) are superior to other people (like myself) and your morality should trump mine?

    Homosexuality is demonstrably not normal. As for it being accepted, that should be a matter of individual conscience. Now, should kids mistreat homosexual people? Absolutely not! They should treat them as fellow human beings and not commit any act of aggression (bullying?) against them.

    I understand that students in schools do not have full First Amendment rights. However, I think that they should, and the courts have ruled that they do unless the exercise of their rights would create a disruption that would interfere significantly with the academic environment.

  5. Censorship lives in many places . The term ” anchor baby ” was redefined in the American Heritage Dictionary .

  6. To me, the important quote in the article was this: “In a Christian society, allowing homosexual couples to adopt is an abomination.” Abomination is a pretty harsh word. If someone told me that my parents’ choice to have me was an abomination, I would be upset about that. I wonder what other words were in the article.

    Voicing opinions is fine, but if you start to throw down words that belittle or attack others, you start to cross the line into bullying. Anyone who doesn’t believe me is an idiot. ;)

    On a side note, why was there no mention of the newspaper adviser? No mentioning of culpability there. But at least now the school is getting sued. That’ll work out all the problems. People will feel free to voice opinions willy nilly now.

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