Stuff White People Say

October 26, 2008

“Freedom of Speech”

Filed under: Uncategorized — jwbe @ 8:11 pm

Freedom of speech is a democratic right and is also an important right. But speech and words can always become tools to undermine democracy.
Germany prohibits certain symbols, Holocaust denial violates German laws and sites like Stormfront wouldn’t be possible on German servers. Something like “Jews should be thankful for the Holocaust” (like Limbaugh’s “Blacks should be thankful for slavery”) would end a German’s TV-carrier forever I think.
America is somehow the contrast with freedom of speech very or most important.
The interesting observation I made is the difference how some or many Americans deal with criticism compared to Germans, best visible on messageboards. Predominantly white messageboards are so quick to censor and ban non-mainstream thoughts that it becomes clear, that this “freedom of speech” is somehow an empty phrase. On German political boards people are in most cases only banned if they threaten members or violate German hate-speech laws (in Germany the owner of a message board is responsible for the content).
Nowhere is my free speech so restricted than on American “liberal” message boards or blogs. It’s a tragic irony that quite often those who defend freedom of speech for themselves can’t endure the freedom of speech of somebody else.

But of what worth is the basic democratic right of freedom of speech when it can be used as a tool to destroy democracy? How much censorship via laws is necessary to protect basic human rights for all?


  1. Very interesting point you make. When the media ran that Rev. Wright marathon earlier this year, the very people who love to shout “freedom of speech” were the very people who wanted to silence Rev. Wright, demonize him, etc. Worse, they tried to accuse him of being “racist” when (1) they’re the first one’s to decry the label being applied to White people no matter how obvious it is (denials have reached epic and JUVENILE proportions) AND (2) when the harshest things Rev. Wright had to say was not against Whites, individually (read: Hillary Clinton) or collectively, but were against other African-Americans.

    Comment by Nquest — October 26, 2008 @ 11:13 pm | Reply

  2. the ‘discussion-culture’ seems to be quite immature. First I thought that many [white] Americans make this up in general, turning words around etc. to distract from the topic. But now I think that the ability to comprehend a different opinion is just not there and than many react like children, putting the fingers in their ears and singing ‘yadayada’ and throwing around with childish phrases like “race-baiter”, “racist”, “troll”, whatever.
    The Wright issue, I was listening to his sermon and reading some sermons, trying to understand the white hysteria of his “racist” or “outlandish” words. The white reaction was like pushing a button and most started whining without knowing why as it seems.
    When somebody reads Wright’s sermons without this artificial emotions, WHAT was the terrible things he said?? I think that nobody of all those people crying “racist” can actually support their own claim. Getting his facts stright and having an opinion without glorifying America is “outlandish” and “racist” for them?
    As it is with highlighting racism or contradictions on msbs or blogs, this is perceived to be a “trouble-maker”, people who are able to think on their own and are willing to support their own opinion, are “trouble-makers”.

    With this white attitude, I understand Americas violent and destructive reactions.

    Comment by jwbe — October 27, 2008 @ 3:39 pm | Reply

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