There’s no reason you should ever refer to something as “gay,” and a campaign called “You Don’t Say” at Duke University is reminding students with a photo campaign.
The project was developed by Think Before You Talk and Blue Devils United, two student organizations at Duke.
In another effort by the groups, they painted a local bridge urging people not to say things like “That’s retarded” or that they were “raped” by something inanimate like a test:
The campaign tackles the use of words like “pussy,” “fag,” “man up” or “bitch” as slang terms.
It’s not that I think those words are perfectly acceptable. I don’t use those words, or use them rarely. And I understand completely that words can hurt worse than sticks and stones.
But I believe in freedom of speech. I’m something of an absolutist on the subject. In a free society we have to put up with some stuff we don’t like. We don’t have to LIKE it, but we do have to put up with it. More importantly, we have to defend it. Popular speech doesn’t need any defense.
There as been a censorship movement in this country that has been active the past view decades, emanating from the political left and centered around our colleges and universities. I think it grew out of the Civil Rights movement as racial epithets became socially unacceptable.
But it didn’t stop there. “Wetback” became “illegal alien” then “illegal immigrant” and now they want us to say “undocumented worker.” As each term becomes “un-PC” the debate shifts with it. It’s now considered offensive to use a description of a person that accurately reflects that the person is unlawfully in this country.
Some might say that this is just an “awareness campaign” so that people won’t inadvertently give offense to others. But I can’t help but wonder what would happen to someone who keeps using those “offensive” terms. Will they face official sanction, or merely be the target of “unofficial” action like was used against Brendan Eich?
Invasion and curtailment of freedom is always a slippery slope. The first ones are easy. There is no good excuse to call someone a “nigger” or a “cunt.” But once you’re on that slope, where do you stop? Is “negro” okay? What about “bitch” and “pussy?” How about “colored” and “bossy?”
Where does it stop? More importantly, who decides? Are the rules going to be determined by the easiest to offend? Most importantly, how will these speech codes be enforced, and by whom?
If the First Amendment will protect a scumbag like me, it will protect all of you. – Larry Flynt