NYT: “The A.C.L.U. Needs to Rethink Free Speech”

The NYT continues its campaign to normalize the suppression of conservative speech and undermine the foundational concepts of the First Amendment. In addition to having a story today titled “A.C.L.U. Backers Surprised It Would Defend Alt-Right” by Joseph Goldstein, they have given an Opinion slot (always a carefully deliberated, strategic move by the Editorial Board) to someone named K-Sue Park, who is “a housing attorney and the Critical Race Studies fellow at the U.C.L.A. School of Law.”

Wow, a housing attorney and a Critical Race Studies fellow. Impressive.

The piece is titled “The A.C.L.U. Needs to Rethink Free Speech” (quite subtle):

While admirable in theory, this approach implies that the country is on a level playing field, that at some point it overcame its history of racial discrimination…

I volunteered with the A.C.L.U. as a law student in 2011, and I respect much of its work. But it should rethink how it understands free speech. By insisting on a narrow reading of the First Amendment, the organization provides free legal support to hate-based causes. More troubling, the legal gains on which the A.C.L.U. rests its colorblind logic have never secured real freedom or even safety for all.

For marginalized communities, the power of expression is impoverished for reasons that have little to do with the First Amendment. Numerous other factors in the public sphere chill their voices but amplify others.

All the requisite buzzwords are in play. There is no shortage of bizarre, and outright hilariously surreal, assertions such as this one:

Other forms of structural discrimination and violence also restrict the exercise of speech, such as police intimidation of African-Americans and Latinos.

Urban blacks afraid to talk? What planet is K-Sue from? Is his/her/ze name really K-Pax?

A black kid who gets thrown in jail for possessing a small amount of marijuana will face consequences that will directly affect his ability to have a voice in public life. How does the A.C.L.U.’s conception of free speech address that?

What in god’s name does getting busted with pot have to do with one’s right to free expression?

On to the crux of the matter:

The question the organization should ask itself is: Could prioritizing First Amendment rights make the distribution of power in this country even more unequal and further silence the communities most burdened by histories of censorship?…

The A.C.L.U. needs a more contextual, creative advocacy when it comes to how it defends the freedom of speech. The group should imagine a holistic picture…

Ah, yes, a more ‘holistic’ picture.

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