Comedian Dave Chappelle recent stand-up has caused some controversy. He is no stranger to controversy because his television show on Comedy Central caused him to catch flack in the early 2000’s. But the outrage today is very dishonest considering he has said much worst things that we laugh about in the past. So to be angry today and not have much to say from the past, then you are just reaching for points to be made. We live in this climate of good is good if it’s good for me. We are only concerned with the things that offend us. But everyone should stop being so sensitive, yet we become sensitive for the very same reasons. Where does it all come from; this need to hurry and cancel people.
too many voices
In this vast social media landscape, we are afforded the ability to have a voice that so many who came before us didn’t have. But at the same time, power can be corruptible on both sides. People now have the power on the side of those angry, and they are running away with it. There is no room for discussion, double endendre, nuance, or nothing else of the like. But when you have a few billion people with their hands on the pulse of society, you’re bound to have problems. So what you have to do is not put too much credence into the people on social media. The majority of people are nothing like the ones in social media world. Because a lot of people are bots anyways and not real life humans who are angry over you or your statements.
silent majority says something
When people are not saying anything, that does not mean they don’t care. Their silence shouldn’t be taken as something not serious. It’s just that most people are not about to be the opposite end of the spectrum with the people they disagree with. It’s not worth it to them and they just ignore it. Only problem, we when you are silent, then the next thing that happens is the voices become so loud that someone is fired. So when you don’t push back as a society, then the next thing you know someone is in trouble you like, and you’re trying to figure out why.
We are in a very weird time in American history. People have this issue with so many people expressing themselves in language. But the same people angry over language don’t want you to tell them how to talk. So we have become this society where we are triggered by everything. Which is some of the same things we follow in regards to the people we like. And who would have thought we would be here in a nation where we have the first amendment. But the first amendment protects you from the government restricting your language. It has nothing to do with the masses. Because we never thought the people would be so much of the problem.
rules of engagement
When you are using certain language, the question remains, “Who is allowed to make what statements?” We say who can say what and when which is beyond me considering you cannot legislate language. Because what are the guidelines for using the language. It’s like when I say the word nigga as a Black male, but then say you can’t say it. Then we get into the debate about why. And the answer boils down to I am Black. But listening to the logic, it almost means don’t call me a nigga, I can say it cause I’m one. Which would ultimately mean there should be no barring on the word because it really is an acknowledgement of who I am. And that is where language gets crazy because there is no real rhyme or reason.
we’re all triggered by something
In our lives, there is something that makes us all tick. No matter the word or how it’s said. So the idea that there is a restriction on language is beyond me. Because living in a society that is that ambiguous should mean there are no restrictions. See everything is in context. You have people who say the context doesn’t matter. But if context doesn’t matter, you being able to say something no one else says is context. So saying something has no context gives credit to you not even being able to say what you want. Because you saying what you want is context to say it and no one else.
Have you ever wondered why there are certain topics that you can showcase on television or in film, but when someone else talks about it or another topic people tend to get sensitive? Meaning, if you make a film about being handicap, gay, a certain ethnic group’s struggles, or gender related it’s fine. But the moment a joke is told by a comedian, then the rules change.
Who decided that we are going to live in a society where everything must be handled with kid gloves? But who also decides who can talk about what and how they talk about the subject?
giving up power
We always ask how did we lose the ability to express ourselves the way we do so. Well, it’s not the government that took those rights away. We willingly give them away. We see something on television or film that offends us, and then we automatically rally against it. And that is fine when the subject at hand is truly truly offensive. But what does that mean anymore?
It seems that anything in today’s society is going to offend someone. So how do you decide who is able to speak and how they are able to speak in the medium of film and television?
“In context,” is something that is lost in our society. You can’t say anything that may be taken out of context. Yet anything said in the forum of entertainment can always be taken out of context. And that is because not only are there offensive subjects in society, but people look for reasons to be angry as well. Yet, we can be quite selective with what offends us.
Like I said earlier, a film about a rape victim, we can showcase an actual simulated rape, but not a joke. There is nothing funny about sexual assault, but showing the actual incident on screen should also strike a nerve in people. But people have a hard time taking something that feels painful and making light of it because there is a high degree of vulnerability. And no one wants to be vulnerable.
The above photo is of sports journalist Jemele Hill of ESPN. She recently came under fire for her comments aimed toward President Donald J. Trump. She stated via her Twitter account that she felt President Trump was not only a voice for White Supremacy, but a member of their organizations. It sparked criticism enough to catch the attention of the United States Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders who stated that Jemele’s comments were “fireable.” Even the president himself felt that she should be relieved of her duties for making such comments about him. And it must have struck a nerve with someone because ESPN issued a statement regarding Hill’s comments directed at the president. So they must have really taken issue to the comments that Jemele made to put out a statement. Or was there another reason they decided to issue a statement regarding her (Hill’s) comments.
ESPN is a multinational cable television provider of worldwide sports. And as a company owned by Walt Disney, they are aimed at trying to maintain a certain level of decor on their television programming. Now, Hill has her freedom of speech, but ESPN has the ability to take a stance as well. Meaning that if they truly wanted to, they could fire her. Not on grounds of what she said because that violates her freedom of speech. But if they feel what she said could cost them in monetary damages then they are in their full right to let her go. Now, those in Jemele’s corner might say she spoke the truth, but here is what you don’t realize. You represent the brand that is ESPN; and while under that brand you have to abide by their rules and regulations. Meaning, if politics are to not allowed then you don’t discuss politics. But if they are allowed , the speech has to be in alliance with company regulatory measures.
It sounds unfair, and it is, but that is what happens when you work for a company. You see, prior, Jemele and her colleague Michael Smith ran a podcast show that became popular. And that popularity opened doors for them in much more lucrative and diverse business environments.But with that bump in exposure comes the rules when playing the game at that level. And what you can say and do on a podcast is not the same as when you are representing a brand like Walt Disney. Yet many still feel she should be able to express herself because it is her rights. And once again, here is where you are put into this weird trick basket which is why people don’t voice their opinions. You can freely say anything you want; but it’s an organization’s right to fire you if you don’t align within their company policies and/or cost them in monetary damages.
And a lot of the sentiment in the sports world is still stemming from the fact that former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick was shut out of football for choosing to not stand for the national anthem. A move against him that has even sparked protest outside of the NFL’s headquarters in New York City. So with so much going on, it’s no wonder they are trying to distance themselves from her statements. But in the end, Hill is still an employee of ESPN. So for now it’s a waiting game to see the final decision. And as much as I agree with freedom of speech, you have to be willing to also take the lose from a company not willing to continue to do business with you.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident.” “That all men are created equal.”
-DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE
We all have some favorite quotes and what they mean to each of us. They might be quotes that we just love to hear, or even quotes that motivate us to keep persevering. Some of those quotes could be a bible versus, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Or it can be from a literary, “I would have rather been born blind, than to have been given sight and lack vision” (Helen Keller). And with that said, I would like to present my own quotes that I love, which resonate with me. One comes from Thomas Edison, the other Marianne Williamson, and the third is Martin Luther King Jr.
Now, the first is Thomas Edison, who had many many quotes. But the quote that I recently found that Thomas Edison made was, “Many of life’s failures are people who didn’t realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” This statement is always coming into my mind every time I think about giving up in life on my writing. Writing is such a daunting task of working to succeed. You are going to have success, and you’re going to have failure along the way. But to me, I have yet to see those successes. And then I think about how long I have been writing. 2013 is the year I officially decided to become a writer. I gave myself on a ten year window to break into the industry as a screenwriter and playwright. Meanwhile I am writing my blog everyday and my books as well.
So, what does any of this have to do with Thomas Edison? Well, giving up, and not realizing how close you might have been when you gave up. I have written five full length screenplays, self-published two books, written 400 blog posts in the past two and a half years, and two short film scripts; one script turned into a short film. And still, I have been working to create other projects to keep myself in that creative mode. So if I give in now, it will have been for nothing. Not just my past four to five years, but the time put into my work. Don’t give up when you are so close. So close, if you knew how close, you might even put more time into your work. And that is why Edison’s quote screams so loud to me.
But my second quote is from Marianne Williamson from her book, “A Return to Love.” The famous quote from the book is, “Our Deepest Fears.” “Not that we inadequate; our deepest fear is that we powerful beyond measure.” “It is our light not our darkness that most frightens us.” “We look in the mirror and ask ourselves, who am I to be talented, gorgeous, fabulous; who are you not to be.” “There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that others won’t feel insecure when they’re around you.” “We were all meant to shine as children do.” “You were made to manifest the glory of God that is within you.” “It’s not in some of us, it’s in everyone.” “And as you let your own light shine, you will unconsciously give others permission to do the same.” “When you are liberated from your own fears.” “Your presence will automatically liberate others.”
I could not pick just one aspect of that quote, but I had to choose the entire passage. Because the first part speaks of being inadequate yet you really are afraid of your own powers. We have this fear because once you succeed, people are going to expect more, and what happens if you can’t give them more. So we fear the attempt because of the expectations that come with it. Then the passage details us questioning why us. But why not us? We as the passage says don’t want people to feel insecure around us. But you should never dumb yourself down for the sake of fitting in, or this notion your brilliance makes others uncomfortable. You might just have a golden nugget of advice that the people need. And the quote further goes on to let people know we all have the powers to succeed. But once you let that inner you shine, it gives courage to others to step up. Why, because your willingness to not give up and fight makes them exuberate a little less fear as well. Because if you can do it, it makes them feel the same way.
Great quote, giving me an even greater sense of purpose. But there is still one more quote I love. And it was from civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. He didn’t make this a public speech, yet stated this quote among a small group of friends. He said, “I feel as if I am integrating my people into a burning building.” As a child I couldn’t understand what that meant. But as an adult, I see old footage of the time period. People wanted him dead, why. Just because he wanted people to vote, have a fair chance at jobs, eliminate Jim Crow laws (which were an extension of slavery), and send children to schools of their choice. But the backlash was often so brutal you think to yourself. “Is this worth it?” “Do I really want my family to integrate.” “Maybe segregation is best.”
Because if you want to vote and someone is willing to kill. Or willing to kill for you drinking from the same water fountain or eating in the same restaurant, should I assimilate. Because when you assimilate, you’re introducing that element into your life, to your children, and your community. It’s not everyone, yet it’s enough to make you think twice. Meaning, you might think you’re shutting me out, but you might actually be doing me a favor. Coming from a man who knew he could die for going against the grain, it was intriguing to hear a statement where even he questioned the movement. In the end, we all live by quotes, or have a love for some type of quote. But whatever the case, famous quotes have and will always be an aspect of our lives.
In the United States today, we are constantly in these debates on what you can and cannot say. No matter if it’s in a public space or in private; we tend to disagree with the language. But are we just attacking the language, or is it something more? I have come to the conclusion that it’s not the language per se, it’s more so the sentiment. And then we get into the debate in how one should feel in regards to dealing with other people in society. But you can’t have a country where there is a governing of sentiment. Because whose to say how you feel is the right way when feelings can be so ambiguous.
I posted a recent article pertaining to the differences and similarities between former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick and political commentator/author Anne Coulter. How sentiment forced both of them to be locked out of career opportunities because of their stance. Only difference is that Colin was employed on a team and Anne is self-employed. But neither one of them broke any laws. And both were compliant with how they expressed themselves; staying in alliance with their first amendment rights. But the actions of people and how they felt is what effected Colin and Anne. Although people might argue against my point on why Anne said what she said, Colin did what he did, it doesn’t matter. The right to take an action that is within the law was infringed upon.
But what about people in our society. We are so dishonest on how we really feel, and we also are quite selective in what makes us upset. Someone on the left and the right will say their rights are under attack. Yet they are willing to stand in the way of each other’s rights because of how it makes the person/people feel. My real reasons why people are so willing to go against what they feel is wrong is because of how they look at their own lives. The less satisfied you are with your own life, the more willing you are to infringe upon someone else’s life. Anything so someone knows what it’s like to be you. Also, the changes in people’s lives creates a moment to moment sentiment. Which is a main reason why legislating feelings can cause so many problems. Laws are supposed to be resolute, and changed only under drastic measures. The following examples is why you can’t govern sentiment.
I am a Conservative Christian, who believes Gay marriage is wrong. Allowing Gays to marry goes against my Christian beliefs. So therefore we should legislate against Gays ability to get married. Gays state that this is wrong to legislate for this person/people because of the sentiment under a belief that is based around faith, not fact. But here is a flip side example. I am a Liberal Gay man, and the fact that you would say Gay marriage is wrong, you should lose your job. Now anti-gay sentiment is not illegal, but you should lose your job from the sentiment alone. Both examples at the top is why government can’t legislate feelings. Because in the end, whose to say how you feel is always right. As a matter of fact, it might be just as dangerous. Another main reason the government shouldn’t legislate feelings is because feelings shift so much. Law should be more resolute, and not constantly changing. So for now, as it pertains to discussion, everything is on the table.
Hate speech is free speech, what some have stated. But whether we realize it or not, hate speech is protected under the United States constitution. But a large reason why we have to protect even hate speech, is because once we start giving up the ability to talk freely, then what next. Another reason we
must protect all speech is because who makes the decision on what’s hate. I have things I define as hate speech, but not everybody sees it that way. I may think one of my political views is right, while someone else sees it as a hateful thing to stand behind. And conversely speaking, what I dislike and see as hate speech is fine by someone else.
But lets go back to why we must protect even hate speech. For starters, it’s hard to protect a verbal means of communication that is probably geared toward not liking you. Only problem is, once I form a coalition to stop these individuals from speaking, then how long will it be before my rights are trampled on. Meaning, former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick was seen as hateful for not standing for the national anthem at a football game. But political commentator Ann Coulter was seen as pushing hate speech and was banned from Berkley College’s campus. Both expressing a freedom of speech, and both protested.
Now, Ann is in a different position considering she is an independent worker and Colin played for a team, but nonetheless expressed their free speech. They both not only expressed their right, but also did so in alignment with the laws of the land. And yet, a conservative right and liberal left silenced them both. While at the same time screamed my own rights are being infringed upon. Which brings me to another reason you must protect all speech because we are losing our rights in America. But we’re willing to take them from each other. It’s not even the government intervention. We’re taking each other’s rights, spying on each other in hopes of finding anything to take someone else’s job.
Now, another issue is brought into light with why you can’t censor someone’s speech. And that is, what is hate speech really? I have my interpretation for what is hate speech. But that is just the key word, “interpretation.” What I like may be seen as hate speech, and what you follow might be seen as hate speech. This is why all speech must be protected no matter how incendiary. Because what we define as hate speech is so broad and wide, we we must allow all speech. As a matter of fact a way to deal with hate speech is more speech around hate speech. And if it’s hateful, let the people show their faces. We don’t want them hiding in the background, we want them up front where we can see them.
And in the end that’s the biggest problem. The fact that we are actively trying to censor people just because we disagree is so arrogant. Because it assumes we, as the person censoring them, have all the right answers. And we don’t because my truth and fact might be different as time progress. And
that next generation’s truth changes as well. So with so much changing in our society, we have no choice but to open up the forum for conversation. And if you disagree, how about the right to be offended. Yet it still never sinks in, until it’s too late. And by the time it’s too late, we’ve all would have already relinquished control; and it’ll be our own fault.