On Censoring Right Winger’s Freedom of Speech

On Censoring Right Winger’s Freedom of Speech

i is oppressed

Initially I sent this in to my uni newspaper as a letter but I don’t think they published it. Anyway I spent a bit of energy and heart on this and I haven’t written anything on this blog for a very long time. This will be the last post here. Won’t stop writing and ranting and things like that so don’t give up on me just yet. Enjoy!

I have met a lot of people who talk about freedom of speech, or freedom of expression being the most important thing. Feeling overwhelmed by their apparent silencing on the part of radical lefties and a disdain for safe spaces that exclude them. These people tend to identify as white, middle class, heterosexual and male. I try to empathise and give them a space to comfortably vent, however they don’t detect the irony that hits me like a slap in the face. When they talk about defending freedom of speech what they actually mean is the right to use hate speech – say the word nigger, be sexist, transphobic, homophobic – without criticism or fear of being ostracised. Causing offence and being offended is often dismissed as being sensitive in their minds. I have engaged in healthy debates with these men, trying to emphasise the power of language especially when you are powerless, often to the detriment of my own mental health.

I have had to compromise myself to be the nice black girl who doesn’t get offended when offensive speech is thrown down my ear canals. I understand that we are in a heated time when white men’s privileges are being challenged at an unprecedented scale but what exactly are they losing? It certainly isn’t their freedom of speech. I’ll define what I mean by white men as there is a difference between identifying as white (being of European ethnic origin) and whiteness as a supremacist power structure that still dominates and oppresses individuals and communities on a global level. The fact is that white men dominate seminar class discussions, the media and distribution of information, politics, and pretty much any and every institution within the UK and Western world. With the advent of the internet, now there are platforms in which underprivileged groups can vocally challenge them. This is a new experience for white men as the hegemonic culture is being visibly and loudly criticised and questioned. Yes there are flaws with safe spaces, exclusionary liberal politics and shutting down debates but the argument that freedom of expression is the most important thing when you come from a place in which you have never or only recently had to curb your language is ridiculous and hurtful.

I have grown up having to learn how to speak with a middle class accent in order to be taken seriously. In a culture where speaking slang or “black” is seen as unintelligent, where having an emotional response is seen as irrational and inferior as if our emotions are not important. Trauma is a lived experience and to deny its importance is to deny our humanity. I have learned to speak like a white man in order to engage with white men because if you don’t speak like them they don’t listen. I hold no grudges though, I care more about enabling empathy than political correctness. Yet to be “sensitive” means that your opinion is dismissed. It’s as if we’d rather listen to psychopaths, who lack empathy and fear, than those whose opinions have been shaped by lived experience and compassion.

Giving platform to right-wing views on the basis of equality and freedom of speech disregards the fact that we do not live in an equal society regardless of the lip-service politicians have offered recently. Our society is still operating within a framework of neo-colonialism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia. To possess freedom of speech you must also possess freedom to act, which those belonging to oppressed groups still struggle for. Therefore, arguing that your right to express yourself is under attack because a bunch of millennials are crying that what you’ve said is homophobic or racist is reductive of the continuing struggle of these same lefties. Moreover if you only believe that speech can be considered harmful if it incites acts of violence is to ignore the fact that speech itself is violence. Our language is unequal and continues to oppress underprivileged groups.

The Spiked survey on censorship bases its accusation of Sussex being intolerant on the SU’s no platform policy and these freedom-of-speechers argue that this is discriminatory and exclusionary. Well as someone who experiences pain from bigoted speech, listen to me for once. If we do give hate a platform then we open the doors to a form of cruelty that dehumanises and disenfranchises those who struggle to have a voice already.

 

Sources:

https://www.theguardian.com/education/2017/feb/23/ppe-oxford-university-degree-that-rules-britain

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/old-boys-club-still-dominates-public-life-according-to-major-new-report-9695229.html

http://www.consented.co.uk/read/why-are-all-experts-white-middle-class-men/

 

“I’m just upset”

I have not written a word for this blog for a few months, but here I am tapping away for you. Here’s an opinion that you’ve probably seen somewhere else but written by an undergraduate history student with a cynical world view. Enjoy!

11207466_1612504038987541_1747925532_n.gif

This year has been a bit of a disappointment. A disappointment as it has been a slap in the face for many who had believed in any sense of democracy. Yet it is not the blame of the politicians who have misguided our individual rights – we are at fault. In both the UK and US, we have been led astray by fear and scapegoating. Pointing fingers at refugees and immigrants for the problems that really are the consequences of self-interested politicians and big business. It’s no wonder that campaigns fuelled by hate and fear have won in societies where politicians and the media can propagate the untruth of the evils of immigration.

Immigrants are why you don’t have a job. Immigrants are why your benefits are being cut. Immigrants are the reason the A&E are in shambles. Immigrants are why times are tough and going to be tougher. Is it mass-ignorance or delusion? We know what caused the 2008 recession and we know why recovery has been somewhat stagnant since. Yet we’ve grown increasingly xenophobic and cruel. Referring to refugees as swarms, dehumanising people because of their personal religious beliefs while allowing entitled and nepotisitc assh*les to take control and f*ck us over.

The right to vote has been abused as we have failed to inform ourselves. Misled by biased media, we have become the perfect public – falling prey to lies and hyperbole – running along chanting their headlines. Nevertheless, our disillusion is real. Feeling out of touch with the EU stems from an exhaustion at centralised governance, a loss in faith in the bureaucratic system and the difficulties of living under austerity. From the 60s, British politics has been heavily reliant on immigration policies to win the hearts of the masses, and as in the 60s it has often come from manipulatory sources. It has become a British tradition to to turn outwards and find fault rather than acknowledging the legalised corruption that has become the norm. This is not unique to the UK though.

Donald Trump was seen as an alternative to establishment politics as was Nigel Farage although both these candidates were heavily aligned with big business. For some reason, we suspended reality to choose the easy solution – it’s the Muslims, it’s the immigrants, it’s the Chinese, it’s everyone but the people responsible. We have failed to hold banks, hedge fund tycoons and property developers accountable and instead the layman tax-payer has had to cover the costs. Throughout Europe we have seen the rise of fascism and hate, falling back to our roots – how essentially great we are, but it’s them undermining what was once a great nation.

The world isn’t over. We’re in a limbo waiting to see the consequence of our actions. Our choice to vote or not. Our choice to inform ourselves or not. Our choice to laugh at the irony with a self-righteous detachment or not. Whether we surrounded ourselves with like-minded views, safely tucked away in our bubble of homogeneous thought or to debate furiously and passionately, lacking empathy and tact. Whatever we did, we are here now. Captain Hindsight never saves the day. The real question is what are you going to do now? Regardless of the sh*t results that have marred this year, are you going to take responsibility? Should we hide in our safe spaces or should we reclaim public places, fight for our right to exist as we get chopped up and stuffed in boxes? Will we lie down as they walk over us, dusting the ashes of our institutions and rights with their pockets stuffed and their safety net set up? Or will we finally hold them accountable?

You feel sad, disappointed, angry and impotent. Don’t ignore it. Do something with it.

Sources:

https://www.rt.com/uk/346342-brexit-voters-ignorance-misinformation/

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/brexit-immigration-uk-freedom-movement-myths-eu-referendum-theresa-may-amber-rudd-a7393136.html

http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk/2016/06/how-brexit-campaign-lied-us-and-got-away-it

http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/matthew-ellery/leave-lies-remainers-need_b_12191462.html

Student predicts recession

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/nov/01/the-ruthlessly-effective-rebranding-of-europes-new-far-right

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-37640982

A hipster walks into a bar and cries

A hipster walks into a bar and cries

I found a blog I had started when I had just started university or maybe just before that. Way back in December 2013. I wrote it when on holiday with my family in Jamaica and it was influenced by another blog by a friend. It looked to address the fact that “young people” are often lumped together as this useless group of apathetic and sarcastic brats who will ironically call each other niggers and demand that bitches better get into the kitchen.

For some reason I felt that the opinion of a young person on this matter was necessary. Whilst I don’t espouse the virtues of ironic racism or sexism, I wanted to question whether being nostalgic for past subculture movements is negative and if labelling an entire generation with limiting and negative attributes is just ridiculous and lazy writing.

Give it a read.

 

Continue reading “A hipster walks into a bar and cries”

The UK and Immigrants

I’ve always had an issue with the UK’s immigration policy. Scola Dondo came to the UK after her parents immigrated from Zimbabwe and in the above video she laments the cruelty of recent policy that has made a university education impossible for her. Circumstances of birth is often a restriction in the classist, elitist, racist and sexist place I like to call the United Kingdom, god bless the fucking queen.

Continue reading “The UK and Immigrants”

Anecdotes on Race and Racism

no colour bar in british art

Happy Black History Month – at least in the UK. I’m not sure where else it exists other than in North America but anyway, let’s do some learning about the history of black people! In the UK at least, “black” was a political label used by anyone non-white, therefore a lot of the anti-racist movements and black power movements weren’t exclusive to people of African of Caribbean descent, but also people of Asian descent too. Learning about this earlier this year in one of my history modules, “Race and Immigration in 20th Century Britain” was inspiring, especially since my dad is half Sri Lankan, raised in Jamaica and I’m just a mongreloid manifestation of the Caribbean melting pot.

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oh yeah I gots an afro I does

thanks Google

“Natural Hair” is the label given to the movement that many black women have taken up. Black as in, with African descent, African being peoples with kinky or curly hair types.

For a lot of women, it wasn’t an easy decision and that’s why it’s seen as a movement by many, because disliking your own hair and appearance has been normalised for black girls. It’s why when my five year old cousin said I was ugly because of my black skin and my brother and his white girlfriend were pretty, because they were fairer. It’s why Princess Tiana, the only black Disney princess is seen with her hair tied up in the short time she is portrayed as a human.

Continue reading “oh yeah I gots an afro I does”

Television don’t know love

Television don’t know love

In the fictional and framed universe of television, love is idealised and held up on a pedestal that makes all eyes dewy. If it’s not the whirlwind romance that teaches hapless what’s-his-name how to enjoy life, it’s the overwhelming narrative of that single sad bastard whose life sucks because no sane human wants to settle down with them. The dominant storyline for the majority of female characters centres around their failed or dysfunctional relationships and few are allowed other ambitions, whilst for male protagonists they are lumped with whining two-dimensional wives-and-girlfriends – equally as preoccupied with their husbands as they are with looking flawless and infantile.

Television’s presentation of love is desperate, warped and disturbing. Intensity and passion are more watchable than healthy respect for space and individuality. Perhaps these restrictive narratives are catering to a collective belief in the superior power of love, yet in doing so creating a false idea of it that alienates most human beings.

Continue reading “Television don’t know love”