Monday, October 6, 2014

Selective Freedom of Expression

 Two students at Bryn Mawr College put up a Confederate flag in their dormitory hall and taped a "Mason-Dixon line" across the floor - they said they were merely displaying their Southern pride.

This display was met with cries of protest from the student NAACP group and others, who called the items symbols of white supremacy, slavery, and hate.  Signs stating, "It's hate not heritage," "Ignorance is not an Excuse," "Intolerance is not Welcome Here" - hang in dorm room windows.

Bryn Mawr has created a committee to explore how to better deal with issues of racial intolerance and diversity.
An uproar ensued as advocates for free speech and intolerance threw a conventional hissy fit.Tuition to the all-women's college is about $60,000 per year. We wonder if the students are aware that the first black military officers in American history served the Confederacy, that thousands of free black households in the antebellum South owned black slave labor, or that thousands of black men fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War. - See more 
Southern Pride vs Black Pride - both have aspects that are offensive to some, but both should be fairly viewed as "freedom of expression", there should be no exceptions.  After all, is displaying the Confederate flag worse than allowing a murderer to give a commencement speech at a University?

Mumia Abu-Jamal who brutally murdered a Police Officer in 1981, gives commencement speech from prison 
Mumia Abu-Jamal Commencement Invite Is 'How Freedom Of Expression Works'
Goddard College made waves when it announced this week the invite of alumnus and convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal to give its commencement speech.
In a HuffPost Live roundtable Wednesday, Will Creeley — the Director of Legal and Public Advocacy for the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education — said that no matter how controversial, universities have every right to select whatever commencement speaker it wants.
"Folks who don't like Mr. Abu-Jamal speaking are certainly entitled to protest that choice," Creeley told host Marc Lamont Hill. "That's how freedom of expression works in this country."
Abu-Jamal has been a divisive figure since his conviction in 1981, when he was originally sentenced to death. That verdict has been since overturned and, after much legal haggling, the Pennsylvania prosecutor's office finally gave up and gave him life in prison with no parole in 2011.
Abu-Jamal was a member of the Black Panthers at the time of the alleged crime, to which he has maintained his innocence. (Huffington Post, "alleged", enough said)
Jamal's "alleged" crime:
 [Jamal] fired a single shot in Danny’s back. Danny was able to turn and fire one return shot at Abu-Jamal that hit him in the abdomen. Danny then fell between the two cars onto the sidewalk. He lost his gun and was wounded. Mumia Abu-Jamal approached him as he lay unarmed and wounded on the ground and pointed his 5 shot Charter Arms revolver at Danny. He fired three more shots at him; two pierced his jacket but did not hit him. Jamal then moved closer, bent down and placed his gun to within 6 inches of Danny’s face. He fired his final shot into Danny’s forehead and the bullet came to rest in his brain. [Link]
Pa. State Rep. Mike Vereb's reaction to Jamal's address: "Unless we are going to build production studios in our prisons for these types of thugs, who continuously rip the scabs off the victims' wounds, we have to do something."

And yet, the cop-killer was allowed to speak. Protests be damned.  In a few cases, protests do work, just significantly more when liberals protest: Condoleezza Rice declines to speak at Rutgers after student protests.

 No one protests  when civil rights activist Angela Davis, an outspoken advocate for Assata Shakur, frequently gives speeches or the commencement address on the Bryn Mawr campus.
Dr. Angela Davis, Professor at University of California
Assata Shakur, real name, Joanne Chesimard:  In the early 1970’s Chesimard belonged to a Black Panther offshoot known as the Black Liberation Army, a radical left wing terror group that felt killing law enforcement officers was justified.

In 1973, while wanted for multiple crimes (bank robbery to murder), Shakur and two accomplices were pulled over for a tail-light violation on the New Jersey Turnpike. As the troopers were questioning them, Shakur who was in the passenger seat, the driver and other occupant in the car opened fire on the troopers with semi-automatic weapons.

As one of the troopers, Werner Foerster physically fought with the driver, Shakur shot him twice — then her gun was said to have jammed. As Foerster lay on the ground wounded and unable to defend himself, Shakur grabbed Foerster’s own gun and shot him twice in the head.

The FBI places Assata Shakur on their Most Wanted list
Shakur escaped but was captured in 1977, convicted of murder and sentenced to life plus 33 years. In 1979 Shakur, with the help of two men, escaped from prison. “Two men smuggled into the prison, took guards hostages and broke her out,” explained John Miller to CBS News. “Armed domestic terrorists gained entry into the facility, neutralized the guards, broke her free, and turned her over to a nearby getaway team.”

The worship of cop killers seems to be an act of free expression, as well as one's heritage, regardless of how painful this public worship is to the family of the murdered officers.  No one stopped Angela Davis or Abu Jamal from giving their speeches.  No one really made a fuss except for the families of the fallen officers.

Before Jamal's speech, more than 100 people stood to honor Faulkner at the spot where Abu-Jamal brutally murdered her husband, his widow Maureen released a scathing statement.
Maureen Faulkner at her husband's funeral in 1981
"Mumia Abu-Jamal will be heard and honored as a victim and a hero by a pack of adolescent sycophants," she said.
Maureen said the school embraces "having this killer as their commencement speaker not despite the fact that he brutally murdered a cop, but because he brutally murdered a cop." (Bold emphasis mine)