Thirty days in jail and $200 fine for using the "N" word?
August 20, 2002 3:33 PM   Subscribe

 
I guess I'm mostly curious. When you find an article like this and post it on Metafilter, what type of discussion are you *hoping* to start?
posted by vacapinta at 3:38 PM on August 20, 2002


Can't the victim simply sue the dictionary company?
posted by crunchburger at 3:48 PM on August 20, 2002


I don't know about the discussion kablam hopes to engender, but I will point out that the linked article includes an excellent analysis of some of the potential issues--read before posting. (Meanwhile, Overly's defense is simply that he didn't use said word, so this particular case will be unlikely to touch on the larger issues which might otherwise be raised.)
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 3:48 PM on August 20, 2002


nookie?
posted by quonsar at 3:48 PM on August 20, 2002


Around here, the arresting officer would probably cite the offender for disorderly conduct, thereby neatly sidestepping any issue of the word in question.
posted by alumshubby at 3:51 PM on August 20, 2002


I thought the artice was interesting and educational. I was expecting to see the comments to be along the same lines. Sometimes I have too much faith in you people.
posted by Recockulous at 3:51 PM on August 20, 2002


I think it's a very interesting article. The word "Nigger" has an incredible amount of power. Too much power, in my opinion. The only crime I can see that this man committed is using profanity in public. I don't think his actions can be slotted into the legal category of "harassment," and the author of this article agrees with me.

Sure, I think the guy's an asshole. But I also think that white supremacists are assholes, and they're protected by the constitution. You can't just bust in on their meetings and throw them in jail.

The court case will be a sham, because his defense is that he didn't actually say the word. But I think the crux of the issue here is defining where and when one is allowed to express his or her opinions.

Neo-Nazis are allowed to march in the streets, etc., and as much as I disagree with them, I respect their rights. But should this guy be allowed to yell his opinion at this woman in a public area? Is he allowed to target her specifically with this expression? I think these are real issues.

Technically speaking, this situation should be treated no differently than if the victim were jewish, and the man yelled "kike," or if the victim were gay and the man yelled "fag." But "fag" and "kike" don't have the same power that "nigger" does. That is also an interesting issue, imho.
posted by zekinskia at 4:06 PM on August 20, 2002


Maybe he was just calling her a "miser".
posted by ColdChef at 4:07 PM on August 20, 2002


Honestly, there's not a chance in hell of this withstanding an appeal. Absent something more -- threatening behavior, intent to incite riots, the word's use during the commission of another felony (thereby making it a "hate crime") -- one's right to speak whatever words one wants is pretty firmly rooted in the good ol' First Amendment.

Not to mention: we're talking here about a word that's used repeatedly in song, as well as in conversation (in my experience, between black adolescents). It's pretty hard to claim that punishing someone not black for using it meets another critical little part of the U.S. Constitution, due process.

(And on preview, I agree, zekinskia -- the most disappointing part of this all will be his denial of saying it, rather than defending his right to say it. That is, if he actually did say it...)
posted by delfuego at 4:10 PM on August 20, 2002


"with intent to harass, annoy or alarm another... engages in a course of conduct... which serves no legitimate purpose."

That's how the Pennsylvania law reads. Did he intend to harass the woman? It seems so. Did his conduct have a legitimate purpose? Not from the facts listed in the article.

Would there have been a different outcome if he had shouted "Scooby-Doo" at random passersby? Yes -- he would have been escorted to the local cackle factory because his actions were not intended as harassment towards an individual. Would there have been a different outcome if he had shouted "hunchback" at a pack of bellringers? No (or at least there shouldn't be), because he is intent on harassing them. He chose the word that he believe would have the most effect.

He wasn't convicted for yelling "nigger". He was convicted for singling out this woman and choosing a course of action that was defined as harassment. (I can't put myself inside the justice's mind, of course, so I'm assuming a paragon of non-biased, non-indignant legal judgment here.) There's a difference between having the opinion that someone is a shithead and screaming, "Shithead!" at them at every opportunity. The first is defended by the freedom of speech, the second is assaul
posted by joaquim at 4:39 PM on August 20, 2002


Did his conduct have a legitimate purpose?

Legitimacy != legality. You are treading on very thin ice when you think the State gets so much sway in determining what constitutes legal speech. Further, the author said the person who used the slur did not attempt anything threatening. Name-calling is not necessarily the strict legally defined harassment being discussed.
posted by insomnyuk at 4:49 PM on August 20, 2002


Well, I hope he doesn't tell his cellmates why he's in there..
posted by dopamine at 5:11 PM on August 20, 2002


Assuming, of course, that they're black...or likely to pulverize someone for doing time for a weak-ass crime.

"Whaddarya in for?"
"Murder. You?"
"I called a woman a dirty word."
"GUARD! Move me to another cell! I can't abide a potty mouth!"
posted by ColdChef at 5:30 PM on August 20, 2002


This was a well-written article, but joaquim hit the nail right on the head with the one major misleading idea of the story. The law, should that be its full wording, clearly defines what the man did to another person as harassment. The issue should be the broadness of the law.

Instead, like many of these cases, come tomorrow morning around the time ManCow starts making your drive to work unbearable, it will be declared, by inference of the accusation of racism, as yet another "example of Polictical Correctness run amok." (TM)
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:45 PM on August 20, 2002


"You dropped your soap, potty mouth..."
posted by quonsar at 5:57 PM on August 20, 2002


I guess I can't condone the use of the word if someone is upset by it. That being said, if it's a crime to use it, then make it a crime for all. As this was Philly and as I recall rap master Iverson put out a fine musical offering that was rife with the word, then let's arrest him for starters. Then let's get every other rapper, comedian, etc. Then let's move on to some other word that might cause someone to get their panties in a bunch. Kike, wop, Republican, fruitcake, blah, blah, blah.

Soon the jails will be full of people who may have uttered something that might have offended someone.

ridiculous.
posted by damnitkage at 6:25 PM on August 20, 2002


Zekinskia:

You stated that 'kike' and 'fag' did not have the same power as 'nigger'. What relevance does that have ? and even if it were relevant, how could we determine how much 'power' each word has ? A kid in the schoolyard who was called a fag would probably come to the conclusion that the word 'fag' does indeed have as much power as 'nigger'. I may agree that 'Nigger' has perhaps an older pedigree as a name, but it's no less destructive.

I sense a disturbing agreement with the posters thus far that calling someone a name should be punishable based 'on the context'. Totally slippery slope. Are we going to start punishing rappers, too ?

I say no censorhip except for defamation/libel or for public mischief (yelling fire in a crowded theatre, etc.).
posted by Kaslo at 6:32 PM on August 20, 2002


I guess I'm mostly curious. When you find an article like this and post it on Metafilter, what type of discussion are you *hoping* to start?

Well Vacapinta,
1) Is your question a criminal admission of racism on your part?
2) Should it be criminal if I was deeply offended by your written question, and regard it as racist, even though you might not think of it as such?
3) What if your local law said it was criminal, because I was offended by what you wrote. Would you feel obliged not to have written what you did?

All of these, and many more, rhetorical questions and opinions are germane to the article mentioned, which is why I thought it might be interesting fodder for discussion.

But I would like to state for the benefit of the other posters that I do not think you are a racist, nor what you write as indicative of racist beliefs or ideology.
posted by kablam at 6:39 PM on August 20, 2002


I can see it now...he's in a cell with a hulking 300 lb inmate whose hobbies are mayhem and weightlifting, whose first question to him is "Ummmm...are you a homophobe?"
posted by alumshubby at 7:00 PM on August 20, 2002


zekinskia: with all due respect, if you are a jewish gay person of african descent - say, like Sammy Davis, Jr. - AND have been subjected to triple verbal abuse, maybe your unique experience gives you some insight. Otherwise, it's impossible to compare each others distress.
posted by dash_slot- at 7:18 PM on August 20, 2002


Okay, I'll do it this time...

quonsar- ha ha ha ha! Yay! Brutal prison rape sure is funny!
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:02 PM on August 20, 2002


Yeah, yeah, I know, what am I going to do about it, fine you?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:03 PM on August 20, 2002


To the ad hominems aimed at me:

Mitchell Sommers, the author of the article relates a story of his youth when he is called a "kike." In the article, he describes a present day story involving a woman that was called a "nigger."

So when I mention those words, I think you can see the obvious relevance to the present conversation here, if you'd like to call it that.

I myself have been harassed and assaulted by aggressive, repressed straight men, who tend to enjoy using rather harsh language.

So yes, I guess my "unique experience," coupled with the article on which I was commenting, lead me to believe that my preceding comment was relevant.

I apologize, if I offended anyone.
posted by zekinskia at 10:15 PM on August 20, 2002


This kind of shit has got to stop. Waste of everyone's time, the cops, the courts, the lawyers, the taxpayers' money, all because of a personal aversion to a word? Now, granted, a lot of people may share the personal aversion, but that's still all it is! It's just a fucking word. Personally, I don't find any words offensive... I'm a firm believer in the sticks and stones theory. I mean really, give me a fucking break. This is a circus sideshow, a playground altercation. Ever tattle on somebody as a little kid for using curse words at recess or some such shit? "Miss Manners, Little Johnny said the F-word!" Gasp! "Little Johnny, did you use the F-word?" "No, Miss Manners, honest, I'd never say the F-word! That's a bad, bad word, and I'd never say such a thing!" Uh-oh. A denial. Now it's he said, she said, blah blah blah, no proof, no pudding. Boy, that was worthwhile, wasn't it? Wasted your entire recess trying to get somebody in trouble for SPEAKING. Jesus. Does Ms. Evans believe that she taught Mr. Overly a lesson, that perhaps because of this Mr. Overly no longer considers her a nigger? Guess again, lady. Does 30 days and $200 put your mind at ease, you fucking idiot? Don't you have better things to do with your time and energy? If it's that important to you, yell something back. Not that you'll accomplish anything, but sometimes a good yelling match with a stranger is therapeutic. Nothing wrong with SPEAKING YOUR MIND, remember? Or, better yet, just ignore it. Walk away. GET OVER IT! The racist Mr. Overlys of the world will die off soon enough, and our racially tolerant children will inherit the earth. Relax, have a little faith, and let it happen. But please stop wasting our time and money on this trivial bullshit.

Words of wisdom from Maynard: Wear the grudge like a crown. Desperate to control. Unable to forgive. And we're sinking deeper.
posted by David Dark at 12:22 AM on August 21, 2002


Storm in a teacup, big deal.
posted by johnnyboy at 4:59 AM on August 21, 2002


Hmm, I'm not so sure, Johnnyboy. I, for one, would like to see this incident go to trial. Who knows? Maybe the laws will change and it will become illegal to yell Nigger! on the street just like now it is illegal to yell Fire! in a crowded theater.

Harassment law in Pennsylvania allows a charge to be filed whenever someone "with intent to harass, annoy or alarm another... engages in a course of conduct... which serves no legitimate purpose."

That is a pretty broad law and open to all kinds of wacky interpretations, particularly the annoying part. Officer, arrest that person! S/he is annoying me!
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 6:56 AM on August 21, 2002


kABLAM
posted by clavdivs at 7:54 AM on August 21, 2002


zekinskia: with all due respect, if you are a jewish gay person of african descent - say, like Sammy Davis, Jr. - AND have been subjected to triple verbal abuse, maybe your unique experience gives you some insight. Otherwise, it's impossible to compare each others distress.

That shouldn't stop a person from trying to empathize. Some people might enjoy the comfort of the postmodern ethos where we all live in mutually-unintelligable universes of hyper-subjectivity, but there are those who can and will try to understand how others think and feel. Those people shouldn't be slapped down every time they have an opinion on something that hasn't happened to them.

On another note, Candyman was gay??! Wow.
posted by holycola at 8:22 AM on August 21, 2002


Can I sue or have jailed someone for calling me a slaveowner? I felt harassed. I want the law to protect me from my hurt feelings. Throwing the girl who said it in jail would definitely make me feel a lot better.
posted by insomnyuk at 8:53 AM on August 21, 2002


zekinskia: they weren't ad hominems ('attacks on the person rather than the argument').

For clarity: i am all in favour of empathy, which is not about ranking or comparing pain. one has to communicate with a victim to ascertain the level of their pain, which will have many factors ameliorating and exacerbating it. i would say that the victim here was highly offended, and who am i to dispute that?
I can see this getting out of hand tho...

(well, sammy davis jr did have at least one gay experience that is known about: that makes him open minded rather than gay, and also a good example for my argument above).

PS: he really WAS jewish though, right? Right?
posted by dash_slot- at 9:05 AM on August 21, 2002


The racist Mr. Overlys of the world will die off soon enough, and our racially tolerant children will inherit the earth.

One generation of racists may die, but they teach their children how to hate before they go. As long as there is competition for survival (or prosperity), there will be bigotry. Those who cannot excel by their own merits will compete by debasing others. ("He's black/Jewish/gay/retarded/something-I'm-not, so therefore I'm automatically better than he is and deserve something better than he gets from life.")

But please stop wasting our time and money on this trivial bullshit.

Yes, just step to the back of the bus. Don't bother us about that guy stalking you. We don't want to hear about your 401k disappearing. Shut up and we'll tell you what's important
posted by joaquim at 9:49 AM on August 21, 2002


You are misrepresenting the story joaquim, quit that. The article made no mention of any 'stalking' or any other clever adjectives.
posted by insomnyuk at 9:57 AM on August 21, 2002


Or clever verbs, as the case may be.
posted by insomnyuk at 11:00 AM on August 21, 2002


Come on, joaquim. Surely you've noticed a societal trend moving away from bigotry? Surely you've noticed that the attitudes of 1000 or 100 or even 10 years ago are not the same attitudes of today? Everything changes from generation to generation. Do you share the same exact ideas and attitudes of your father? Your grandfather? How about your great grandfather? Surely you jest.
posted by David Dark at 1:20 PM on August 21, 2002


insomnyuk: I wasn't referring to the story. I was referring to David Dark's suggestion that the problem was trivial.

David Dark: Think of how Chinese immigrants to the US were treated 150 years ago. Think of how Irish immigrants to the US were treated 100 years ago. Think of how the Japanese treated Koreans and Chinese during WWII. Think of ethnic cleansing during the 90's. The color/religion/ethnicity of the parties may change, but the bigotry is always there. And stop calling me Shirley.
posted by joaquim at 2:57 PM on August 21, 2002


And how are Chinese immigrants treated today? How are Irish immigrants treated today? I'm not saying we live in utopia, far from it, but dammit man, sing with me.... "You've got to admit, it's getting better, It's getting better all the time..."

Look, I hear what you're saying. I know bigotry is a problem, and I never said that racial bigotry is trivial. I'm saying one woman being called a nigger in the street is trivial if you look at the big picture and consider what taking away one man's right to yell nigger means to the rest of us in the long run. If he had laid a single finger on her, I'd be saying lock that bigot up. If he had crossed the street and approached her in a menacing way, circled her, taunted her, anything! But I can not condone having each other thrown into jail for talking shit from across the street. It's ludicrous. IMO, Ms. Evans needs to find herself a thicker skin and choose her battles more wisely. Life's too short, and freedom of speech is too precious.
posted by David Dark at 3:18 PM on August 21, 2002


Can I sue or have jailed someone for calling me a slaveowner?

I imagine you could, if somehow you had been a part of a minority called "slaveowners" which had been enslaved, lynched, and discriminated against right up to the present day; if you lived in a place where "slaveowner" jokes were a routine part of the culture; if you lived where the use of the word "slaveowner" had historically been used by generations of powerful "non-slaveowners" to demean and degrade and debase; if a "non-slaveowner" repeatedly shouted "slaveowner" to you on a public street; and if you lived in Pennsylvania where it is apparently against the law to do such "with intent to harass, annoy or alarm another..."

But I doubt any of those "ifs" are true in your case, and so, your comparison of someone calling you "slaveowner" is misrepresenting the facts of this case...quit that.

Come on, joaquim. Surely you've noticed a societal trend moving away from bigotry?

Surely you've noticed that any historical movement away from bigotry has been because of people (like joaquim) who ask us to be more engaged (not less) in struggling against racism.

Those of you who ask us to wait and be patient are part of the problem of racism.

Read Letter From a Birmingham Jail.

Does 30 days and $200 put your mind at ease, you fucking idiot?

I think it says worlds that you reserve your own hateful name-calling for the victim in this story.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 3:19 PM on August 21, 2002


fold_and_mutilate, I feel that it's you that's creating the false paradigm here. The heart of the "facts of this case" consist of the law and how it was applied. That law says nothing, so far as I can tell, about using a word that describes a prior state of enslavement, lynching, or discrimination, nor does it differentiate based on whether something is part of common culture or obscure folklore. It doesn't seek to discern whether a word has been used by generations upon generations of prior oppressors, nor does it even care where the word was stated. Rather, it seeks generically to punish someone "when, with intent to harass, annoy or alarm another," that person "engages in a course of conduct or repeatedly commits acts which serve no legitimate purpose." (PA C.S. 18 sec 2709) Again, nothing is said about racial motives or implications; those things have been added to this discourse by the specific word used, but they don't invalidate analogies that return to the heart of the law as it's been applied here.

In that context, insumnyuk's question is a valid one -- can anyone expect the same level of vigilance on the part of the police when it comes to protecting their right to not have others engage in courses of conduct which seek to harass, annoy, or alarm them? If I'm offended by being called a slaveowner, or a liberal, or whatever word you choose, can I expect the police of Pennsylvania to intervene and protect my rights?

I don't like that, in situations like this, the tone quickly turns to one where people are made to look like racists for not buying into the notion that violations of the Constitution which occur in the context of trying to combat racism are somehow less worthy of scrutiny.
posted by delfuego at 3:53 PM on August 21, 2002


I'm with David Dark on this one. (BTW, very apt TOOL reference.)

Fold: Surely you've noticed that any historical movement away from bigotry has been because of people (like joaquim) who ask us to be more engaged (not less) in struggling against racism.

Yes, in battles that can make a difference. Keep in mind, we are talking about a 76 year old man here. If anything, this incident will make this man more racist. Ms. Evans has given him exactly what he wanted, a response, and another reason to hate. It will have no greater impact.

This man was rude and inappropriate. Unfortunately, this happens all the time.
posted by Miss Beth at 3:59 PM on August 21, 2002


It says worlds about me, does it, foldy? By all means, do tell. I'm all ears. Worlds is a big term, I expect to be knocked out with how much knowledge that you've gleaned about me from my comment. Surprise me.

And victim of what, exactly? Name-calling? Boy, the oppression. Get a clue, fool.

Shit, practically everyone can trace their lineage back to a time when their people have been enslaved, lynched, and discriminated against at one point or another by a stronger race of people. So what? I've got Cherokee blood in me. Call me fucking injun joe, guess what? You'll still be a free man tomorrow, and you should be. I'm a bigger person than that. I can handle it. I'm all grown up now.

Jackie Robinson. Dr. King. And Joaquim? Bit of a stretch, don't you think? How many times did Jackie Robinson get called a nigger? Dr. King? How many people went to jail for it? ZERO. Why? Because it's self-defeating to make your ego so big that you can't handle a little ignorance thrown your way. Big picture, man.

Thanks, Miss Beth.
posted by David Dark at 4:05 PM on August 21, 2002


fold_and_mutilate, I feel that it's you that's creating the false paradigm here. The heart of the "facts of this case" consist of the law and how it was applied. That law says nothing, so far as I can tell, about using a word that describes a prior state of enslavement, lynching, or discrimination, nor does it differentiate based on whether something is part of common culture or obscure folklore. It doesn't seek to discern whether a word has been used by generations upon generations of prior oppressors, nor does it even care where the word was stated. Rather, it seeks generically to punish someone "when, with intent to harass, annoy or alarm another," that person "engages in a course of conduct or repeatedly commits acts which serve no legitimate purpose." (PA C.S. 18 sec 2709) Again, nothing is said about racial motives or implications; those things have been added to this discourse by the specific word used, but they don't invalidate analogies that return to the heart of the law as it's been applied here.

The law has to mention the specifics you cite, otherwise the law cannot be applied in this case? If you don't believe that a white person calling a black stranger "nigger" on a public street in this country (given this country's shameful past) can be construed as "harassment" or "annoyance", then you may in fact need such legal hand-holding. Does calling someone a "slaveowner" in the context of this country rise to that level? No. Hence the falseness of that particular analogy.

Keep in mind, we are talking about a 76 year old man here. If anything, this incident will make this man more racist. Ms. Evans has given him exactly what he wanted, a response, and another reason to hate. It will have no greater impact.

Nonsense. Every time someone decides they are not going to patiently wait for racism to go away, we all benefit. However, I suppose to your way of thinking the 13th amendment just gave "another reason to hate", right?

It says worlds about me, does it, foldy? By all means, do tell. I'm all ears. Worlds is a big term, I expect to be knocked out with how much knowledge that you've gleaned about me from my comment. Surprise me.

Surprise yourself. As I noted, you reserved "fucking idiot" for the victim of racism. Not the perpetrator of the racist remark, not the widespread attitudes that give rise to such behavior, not the racists who perpetuate such behavior, not the police who made the arrest, not the judge and/or jury who heard the case, not the legislators who created the Pennsylvania law, and not the very law in question. You reserved "fucking idiot" for The Victim.

As I said, I think that says absolutely worlds.

Practically everyone can trace their lineage back to a time when their people have been enslaved, lynched, and discriminated against at one point or another by a stronger race of people.

That's nice. And a few generations ago your entire family was enslaved in this country, and continues to suffer discrimination to this very day? And gets called "nigger" in the streets? And still can't get equitable health care or equitable wages because of your skin color?

Bullshit.

Jackie Robinson. Dr. King. And Joaquim? Bit of a stretch, don't you think? How many times did Jackie Robinson get called a nigger? Dr. King? How many people went to jail for it? ZERO. Why? Because it's self-defeating to make your ego so big that you can't handle a little ignorance thrown your way. Big picture, man.

The big picture, as I noted, and which I'll repeat for your benefit, is that people who actively advocate fighting against racism (like Jackie Robinson, like Martin Luther King, and like joaquim in this forum) are the ones who are bringing about change. Those who resist change and counsel "patience" in the face of bigotry participate in a historical genealogy that includes the KKK and Big Cotton.

I recommend you get a clue.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 4:47 PM on August 21, 2002


Does calling someone a "slaveowner" in the context of this country rise to that level? No. Hence the falseness of that particular analogy.

Nonsense. The majority of white people in this country... wait, fuck that. I, myself, as a man who checks "Caucasion" when so required, cringe at the very thought of slavery. I abhor this country's shameful past in those regards, I do not look at minorities as inferior in any way, and I absolutely consider a black person calling a white stranger a "slaveowner" in the street to be "harrassment" and "annoyance". But do I consider it a jailable offense? Of course not. Why, you ask? Because I'm not a fucking idiot, and I still wouldn't consider myself The Victim. I'm not prone to victimology, I have strength of will and character that outshines ignorance and mistreatment by others.

By the way, YES, A few generations ago my entire family was slaughtered across this country almost to the point of extinction, and continues to suffer discrimination to this very day, And gets called "redman" in the streets, And still can't get equitable health care or equitable wages because of their skin color.

So Fuck You.

By the way, when did you start replying to people?

Worlds of generalities, not an atom of specifics. Fraud.

Of course, change is brought about by those who fight against racism. No one is arguing to the contrary. We're debating the methods, and the methods of Jackie Robinson and Dr. King were not to throw people in jail for having misguided feelings about other races or even voicing those misguided feelings in the form of racial slurs. These men were brutally and viciously verbally attacked, spit on, written about, condescended to, and yet they stood strong in the face of all of that hatred and showed the world that they deserved the respect of all men, of any race, any color, any creed. Indeed, they commanded it with all of their being. And that's how they changed the world.

Not once did they press charges and sue the white man for calling them names. They didn't cry, they didn't tattle, they didn't run to the cops or scream "I Am The Victim!" They were the real deal. Now segregation is illegal, the civil rights movement has made leaps and bounds of progress, and will continue to do so for generations into the future.

But you can not make a law that governs the hearts and minds of people and forces them to refrain from speaking, even negatively, to one another in the streets.

Pick your battles, foldy. There's a clue for you, free of charge.
posted by David Dark at 5:27 PM on August 21, 2002


What's the problem, boys?

1. A man is short 200 bucks doing a thirty-day stretch in the pokey for an infringement on his first ammendment rights guaranteed by law.

2. When he gets out, man sues pants off judge and anybody else who broke the law by denying him his constitutional right to freedom of speech.

3. Man gets rich for using naughty language.

That doesn't sound right does it? We shall see.
posted by hama7 at 11:09 PM on August 21, 2002


Afterthought: If man lied to judge under oath, all bets are off.
posted by hama7 at 11:10 PM on August 21, 2002


Fold_and_Mutilate: I do believe I said I agreed with you when the battle matters. This charge is not going to change any attitudes. If Ms. Evans wanted to teach this man a lesson, ignoring him would have done a much better job of it.

Had he been aggresive towards her, I would have no problem with her actions. However, we can't have people calling the cops everytime the get offended by something someone says. It's the reaction to the word that gives it power.
posted by Miss Beth at 4:12 AM on August 22, 2002


1. A man is short 200 bucks doing a thirty-day stretch in the pokey for an infringement on his first ammendment rights guaranteed by law.

You don't understand the limits of the first amendment. Not all speech is protected. You also don't understand the facts of this case. The man was not convicted for saying "nigger". He was convicted for harassment.

David Dark: You claim you don't ascribe to "victimology", yet you spend an entire paragraph whining about the treatment your family is receiving as a result of their Cherokee heritage.

BTW, I never mentioned Jackie Robinson or Martin Luther King. If you're going to make up both sides of an argument, why don't you save some bandwidth and do it to yourself
posted by joaquim at 10:34 AM on August 22, 2002


fold_and_mutilate, no, the feelings of the person who is the target of the actions don't matter. Read the law again -- I posted a link to it for just that reason. It's the intent of the person who engages in the action that matter, at least according to the law that we're talking about here.

As for your implication that black people deserve different levels of protection against other peoples' speech, I defer to David Dark. And I add: I'm Jewish, and I have to tell you that someone calling my by whatever Jewish slur you can think of should be equivalent to what happened in Pennsylvania -- with the exception that I, the recipient, acknowledge that someone has the right to use mere words however the hell they choose, and wouldn't think of running to the police for protection. Nor would I think that they'd oblige me.
posted by delfuego at 10:49 AM on August 22, 2002


joaquim, you should really try to pay closer attention to the evolution of discussion. f&m asked me a question, I answered it. I'm not whining about it at all.

BTW, I never mentioned Jackie Robinson or Martin Luther King.

So the rules are if you don't bring it up, we can't talk about it? Quick, bring up something interesting before we all fall asleep!

The last time I addressed you was 3:18 p.m. yesterday. I think maybe you're confused on that note. The remainder of my comments were in response to f&m's comments, not yours.
posted by David Dark at 11:37 AM on August 22, 2002


The last time I addressed you was 3:18 p.m. yesterday.

Hmm. How about:

Jackie Robinson. Dr. King. And Joaquim? Bit of a stretch, don't you think? How many times did Jackie Robinson get called a nigger? Dr. King? How many people went to jail for it? ZERO. Why? Because it's self-defeating to make your ego so big that you can't handle a little ignorance thrown your way. Big picture, man.

Thanks, Miss Beth.
posted by David Dark at 4:05 PM PST on August 21


What was that about paying closer attention
posted by joaquim at 10:17 AM on August 23, 2002


Jesus, joaquim. Take my hand, won't you?

Surely you've noticed that any historical movement away from bigotry has been because of people (like joaquim) who ask us to be more engaged (not less) in struggling against racism.
posted by f&m at 3:19 p.m.

See it? Fifth paragraph. You can count, right?

My answer, then, was in response to f&m's inclusion of you in the category of those responsible for the historical movement away from bigotry, a category that includes persons such as Jackie Robinson and Dr. King. Putting you in that category, IMO, is a bit of a stretch. Don't you think so, too?

For your benefit, f&m then responded with people who actively advocate fighting against racism (like Jackie Robinson, like Martin Luther King, and like joaquim in this forum) are the ones who are bringing about change.
posted by f&m at 4:47 p.m.

See that? Twelfth paragraph. You're going to need to scroll down to find this one.

I didn't bother mentioning your name again because I thought we had exhausted the laughable comparison between yourself and the other true crusaders. I also think he's giving you too much credit and singing your accolades not because of any great contribution on your part, but simply because you disagree with me. But of course I could be wrong. If I am wrong, and you are the next great hope for civil rights, I suggest you attempt to be a little more observant while you're changing the world. Your cause would benefit greatly if your reading comprehension skills included the ability to follow the flow of conversation on a static webpage.

Let me know when the light bulb clicks on. And please don't ever make me do that again. It's painfully frustrating.
posted by David Dark at 1:32 PM on August 23, 2002


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