Letters to the Editor: Racists and antisemites have freedom of speech. So do decent people.
In response to my column on the current controversy on the University of Florida campus, it was pointed out that an advertisement to rent space in a student newspaper had “racial themes” – even though it was paid for by a Black student organization. But the same Black student organization has been involved in many incidents of harassment and intimidation, leading to loss of life, destruction of property, and injury to individuals. The person who made the complaint, is a student.
When a person is the victim of the acts of another, it is the responsibility of any responsible person to ensure their safety. If you don’t want to be the one who steps in to defend another human being, you don’t have to be a police officer. You don’t have to be a professional football player.
You don’t have to put on a uniform and act like your life will be in jeopardy every day you go to a school. The world is full of racists. The world is full of antisemites. And the world is full of decent, moral, moral-minded individuals who just happen to be Black or Hispanic or Asian or Native American. We don’t all have to be members of the KKK to commit these acts of violence.
They have the same right of free speech as anyone else – or do they? If we are concerned with the rights of people to make their own choices in life, we have a responsibility to ensure that those choices are not harmful to the rest of us.
In this case, the person who made the complaint – the person who was the victim of the racist and antisemitic harassment – should not have to defend such actions. Rather, that person should look for the police and seek justice.
Let me also point out that for those willing to make the leap to the thought of creating a White Supremacist skinhead group, the University student body has been made to feel like the enemy and subject to intimidation. For those that can’t grasp that concept, I would suggest