Before you jump on the down with Don Imus bandwagon, you might want to stop for a moment and think about what it is that youâ€™re truly fighting for or against.Â To be completely and totally clear, I am no Don Imus fan.Â The comments that he made were totally racist, sexist, and completely tasteless.Â However, and this is a big one, we live in one of the very few countries which â€œsupposedlyâ€ allows the freedom of expression and the freedom of speech and what Don Imus said needs to be tolerated if we have any chance of keeping our so-called inherent right to voice our opinions publicly without the fear of censorship or punishment.
As a human being, I am completely and totally disgusted by the racial slurs that were made on this shock-jockâ€™s radio program.Â Those, as well as many others, were used in order to do exactly what that type of programming has set out to doâ€¦shock and insult.Â As a woman, I am deeply hurt by the use of sexist language that degrades and demeans woman of all races and nationalities.Â Women as a people are the largest group of individuals around the world and throughout time who have had to endure the constant and continuous subjection of prejudice, abuse, and the lack of many of the basic rights that men have enjoyed since the beginning of time.Â As an American and a writer, however, I abhor any and all forms of censorship because when thoughts, ideas, and expressions are purposely prevented from being seen, heard, spoken, or considered, we are drawing a line between acceptable and unacceptable that can never be agreed upon by society as a whole.
The First Amended of the Bill of Rights exists because the forefathers of this country understood what it was like to be suppressed by an overpowering government that didnâ€™t like what they had to say and wouldnâ€™t tolerate what they believed.Â So, they drafted a Constitution that would allow all people the basic human rights in choosing their own religion and preventing the prohibition of speech, the press, peaceable assembly, and the petition of government for grievances.Â What this all comes down to is that if we are to truly enjoy freedom as the drafters of the Constitution intended, we must allow and tolerate all expressions of speech and thought in order for all of us to truly be free.Â What this means is that even if the speech consists of the most vile, disgusting, vicious, and hateful words or ideas imaginable, it must be protected in order for all of us to have the right to say whatever we want as well.Â The First Amendment does not protect the freedom of speech only when you have something nice to say.Â The First Amendment protects ALL forms of speech, including religious speech, hate speech, and anti-government speech.
The fact that Don Imus has been fired from his job as a result of his own stupidity and lack of judgment is not going to change or solve racism, sexism, or prejudice.Â Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson have not won a civil rights win here.Â What they have done is placed another nail in the coffin of yet another lost right that we as a free people are rapidly losing control of.Â Our right to privacy is all but gone as video cameras, recording devices, and the hijacking of our personal information has become so commonplace we barely even notice it anymore.Â Our right to petition the government seems laughable as the president continues to disregard the desires of the people as he plunders his way through every country that opposes him.Â And our right to free speech is slowly but surely being chipped away at as more and more people are hogtied and muzzled under the guise of bad taste and intolerance.
Those in the media who are supporting this type of censorship need to be very careful about what they are supporting, for they may soon say something that is deemed unacceptable by some unknown watchdog group of the future.Â This invisible line of acceptable speech will become fuzzier and fuzzier if we continue to allow the suppression and punishment of any type of speech at all.Â You, as a citizen, as well should be wary of supporting such censorship.Â The fact that you are able to go to this site and read this article in the first place is a freedom that few people around the world are allowed to enjoy.Â People in countries like North Korea, Iran, Cuba, China, Rwanda, and Saudi Arabia do not have the freedoms of expression, speech, or the press that we take so for granted in this country.Â Many people are not allowed access to the Internet, have no access to a free press, and are arrested, tortured, or killed if they are caught expressing an opinion that is not deemed â€œacceptableâ€ by the few who rule those countries.
So, before you blindly jump on the censorship wagon and demand the public execution of individuals based solely on the fact that you donâ€™t agree with what they are saying, you might want to stop and think for a moment what it is that youâ€™re really supporting.Â Much like the blacklisting of the 1950s, you might suddenly find yourself the innocent victim of having committed the crime of saying or doing something that others simply donâ€™t agree with.Â Freedom can be lost as quickly as it is gained.Â While weâ€™ll never agree upon what is acceptable or not acceptable, we should all agree that it is our human right to be able to express ourselves freely without fear of persecution.Â As the saying goes, be careful what you wish for, for you may surely get it!