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Dec 08 2015
You Are Free To Disagree, And To Act Comments (0)

I won't go into details, because I'm not seeking to shame any particular person, but one concept that comes up over and over and over when I'm choosing what to blog, and in the national conversation, is what free speech really means. It's baffling and infuriating to me that people do not understand it, and continually confuse free speech with being able to say whatever the fuck you want unchallenged in any forum.

It's not that.

Free speech in the U.S. means the government can't (with some reasonable exceptions) censor you.

Free speech does not mean that if you have a Facebook page and your friend posts the following, your hands are tied as to whether you should let it stand:

Screen Shot 2015-12-08 at 9.00.32 AM

It should not be so hard to understand that leaving this comment—which was posted in response to a horrible video showing a black man cold-cocking a white homeless woman, which left her in critical condition—on your Facebook page implies a degree of, if not agreement, then acceptance. This is not an acceptable comment for any civilized person to be making or enduring. If crap like this about a group were posted on my page, you can bet the person would be unfriended and the comment deleted. It is hate speech, pure and simple. (Several other comments on the same page take the opportunity to whine about Obama and #BlackLivesMatter and food stamps, of course.)

We are free agents. We do not have to let people use our forums, however meager our Facebook pages may be, to spew their hate speech. And if we do, we are accomplices, even if we throw up our hands and mewl something about free speech, even if we say we don't agree with them.