Racist free speech

Matt Westerhold
Jun 7, 2014

The man wearing the gorilla costume in downtown Sandusky during Ohio Bike Week on Thursday, carrying a sign that stated “Obama's real daddy,” isn't necessarily a racist.

He just acts like one.

He isn't necessarily a member of the Ku Klux Klan; he just acts like one, wearing a different sort of hood to hide his identity.

The man in the gorilla costume, which was adorned with a dildo hanging just below the waist, doesn't necessarily have some sort of penis envy; the appendage might just have been handy, from a private collection of virtual penises.

Gorilla man probably believes he is not a racist; he might not be associated with the KKK; he might not be suffering penis envy.

Instead, he might say he was simply exercising his First Amendment right to free speech by depicting President Obama as the son of a gorilla. The First Amendment gives him the right to express himself — anonymously — hidden behind a gorilla mask, or a white hood.

If that's the case — that he doesn't believe he's racist — then he's a racist who doesn't know he's a racist.

He doesn't know how offensive the suggestion is that a man is the son of a gorilla.

He doesn't know the history how ignorant people just like him — for the better part of history — depicted blacks as having tails. Many whites actually believed God created white people, and other people were descended from apes.

It's a belief many whites shared, as well as a trait many still have: A superiority complex.

Gorilla man is a holdover from that history. He probably watches biased television news coverage produced by people who share that superiority complex, and, like him, are ignorant of their own ignorance.

He probably doesn't believe in global warming; thinks President Obama was born in Kenya; called Obama a traitor for not securing the release of a POW, Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl; and called him a traitor again after he secured Bergdahl's release.

Free speech: Even people plagued with a superiority complexes and penis envy have a right to it; even ignorant people have a right to it.

But it's a two-way street. Some readers who commented under the article at sanduskyregister.com showed their matching ignorance to the gorilla man, while others took him to task.

"What is wrong with some people and why bring it to bike week?” one commenter wrote. “(He) must have a brain the size of peanut.”

Another commenter stated: “This ignorant low IQ moron just got his or her five minutes of fame. Probably waited all year for it.”

But the offensiveness of the gorilla's useless protest aside, there is a reason free speech is important, according to another reader who posted a comment.

“The First Amendment of the Constitution guarantees free speech, it does not say 'if it doesn't offend you.' Freedom is never free, but to deny free speech, no matter how offensive, is a right that we must defend,” one commenter posted. “While I find his protest offensive, as an American, I will defend his right to speak."

 

Comments

Trigger from Erie

"He probably doesn't believe in global warming; thinks President Obama was born in Kenya; called Obama a traitor for not securing the release of a POW, Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl; and called him a traitor again after he secured Bergdahl's release."

Or, he may be a big stereotyper (of Republicans), get his "news" from Rachel Maddow, think former Vice President Cheney's last name is "Chaney," and employ argumentative fallacies like the straw man argument (thereby making his commentaries look like they were written by a college freshman)--one might never know.

Contango

Agree.

Somewhat ironic to argue against prejudice and ignorance through the use of your own.

freethinker1

My wife read last night a report of an independent study done on how informed Americans were, with regards to political issues. The study ranked Americans from Most Informed to Least Informed:

1. Those who watch "The Daily Show" (most informed)
2. Those who listen to NPR
3. Those who watch/listen to NO NEWS at all
4. Those who watch/listen to MSNBC
5. Those who watch/listen to Fox News (the least informed).

Am I surprised? Not one bit.

JMOP

I read a report about people who make reports up.

Where did she read this report?

ContraryAnn

Liz (the sassy daughter) pronounces it Cheney.
Only one liberal commentary pronounces it differently - CHEE -nee.

Contango

About the only ethnicity which can be safely ridiculed are the Hittites, who are an extinct people.

Two Hittites walk into a bar...

The New World Czar

One can only imagine how this newspaper would go out of business if Sandusky adopted a $15/hr minimum wage ordinance like Seattle.

RETIRED NFC

Gorilla Man is obviously an idiot and he should have been shamed or forced to leave this gathering. On the other hand for Westerhold to assume he is a right wing wacko is out of line. Using Westerhold's logic I now can assume that Westerhold is either gay, or a transvestite, or a union member, or a tree hugger. We do know he's a liberal and he loves to stereotype and the media is full of his type and that is why newspapers are dying and rightly so!

The Big Dog's back

#1 terrorist threat in America-right wing wackos.

Steve P

piddle preach that to the victims of 9/11.

jazzbo

Thank the right-wing for that.

Steve P

Hardly consider, Bill "Oral Office" Clinton a right winger, he ignored the mounting terror threat for 8 years. Need I remind you of the USS Cole and his lack of going after those terrorists who were part of the same group that caused 9/11.

jazzbo

Need I remind you that Bush and the Republicans ignored the warnings of an attack ?

And do I also need to remind you that Georgie-boy let Osama bin Laden escape from Tora Bora ?

And more....

"President wants Senate to hurry with new anti-terrorism laws
July 30, 1996
Web posted at: 8:40 p.m. EDT
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Clinton urged Congress Tuesday to act swiftly in developing anti-terrorism legislation before its August recess.

"We need to keep this country together right now. We need to focus on this terrorism issue," Clinton said during a White House news conference.

But while the president pushed for quick legislation, Republican lawmakers hardened their stance against some of the proposed anti-terrorism measures.

Contango

Re: "Need I remind you that Bush and the Republicans ignored the warnings of an attack ?"

Can you point to where this damaging "fact" is in the bi-partisan 9-11 Commission Report?

http://www.9-11commission.gov/

jazzbo

And I'm supposed to look where ?

Is this off topic or an aside ? : )

FearistheMindKiller

Seriously???

Wow! Contango, often enjoy your comments but this is hogwash. That report was a joke! If you believe that report to be definitive and accurate then you need to learn more about politics and propaganda.

deertracker

You must love comedy if you enjoy Kontango's noise.

The K is for................Kessler's!

freethinker1

Matt W is not out of line. I don't know a single Democrat or Liberal who would wear an gorilla suit with Obama's name on it. Sorry kids, for truly offensive, racial stunts, the Right is the only place where people like that find a "home".

Newspapers dying out? Hardly. My son is a reporter for an Ohio newspaper in a mid-sized city. They have added to their staff and readership is up. He also writes for a newspaper in an adjoining county, in which 70% of the population subscribes.

Newspapers are finding other ways to reach their readership, through online subscriptions, online blogs (such as THIS one) and Twitter.

Contango

Re: "I don't know a single Democrat or Liberal,"

And the Nazis didn't burn the Reichstag and blame it on a Communist?

You're too gullible; misdirected dirty tricks are an old and effective political strategy.

I'm not writing that that is the case, but no rational, credible person on the political left or right would condone this nonsense.

deertracker

@Retired
What is wrong with being a liberal?

http://dictionary.reference.com/...

yea right

so Matt you are judge jury and executioner ..and you wonder why this town is messed up..between you misinforming the ppl..and the lazy no good city "so-called" leaders..this place is a JOKE

Steve P

"The press should be not only a collective propagandist and a collective agitator, but also a collective organizer of the masses."

Vladimir Lenin

Contango

Perhaps it just takes one buffoon like "Gorilla man" to point out another?

http://www.bloombergview.com/sli...

SamAdams

Some people would like to muzzle other people who, like "Gorilla Man," express opinions that are unpopular (for whatever reason). Some people, like Matt Westerhold, apparently think that if it causes others offense, it just shouldn't be said. These people couldn't be more wrong.

I loathed the Reverend Fred Phelps and his anti-homosexual protests (not least because his rage was taken out on military men and women who gave their lives). I'm not especially fond of "Gorilla Man," either. But even if you find such expression disgusting, there are two important points that make these things worthwhile:

1. Free speech must encompass ALL speech, or it isn't free; and

2. The more of us who find Phelps, "Gorilla Man," etc. disgusting, the more we talk and the more we actually show that such opinions have no basis in reality and a foundation that lies only in hatred.

Meanwhile, Mr. Westerhold seems to think that free speech, racism, hatred, envy, or whatever the heck else is somehow comparable to a disbelief in global warming. Silly man! Is he saying such a thing just because the President -- a black man -- DOES believe in global warming? Does he equate intelligent debate (there are two sides to that issue, too, you know!) with knee-jerk reactions to anything/anyone different? If so, then he's not a lot different than "Gorilla Man." He just speaks a bit more eloquently and with a little less of an R-rating!

The Big Dog's back

Does it offend you if I call you and others like you right wingnuts?

Steve P

No more than if I called you a far left wing democrapper, failed poltical-union hack that never worked an honest day in your life, but of course I never would say that.

The New World Czar

No, most of us aren't offended Big Dog. When you don't have a valid argument, the resort to name-calling, correct?

SamAdams

If what you thought of me actually MATTERED to me, it might! On the other hand, even if I WAS offended by it, how does that give me any excuse to demand that you never say those words again and, if you do, you are forcibly punished by one government agency or another for having opened your mouth?

The Big Dog's back

sam, not trying to muzzle you or any other right wingnut. Just own up to the thinking.

SamAdams

I didn't suggest you were trying to muzzle me by calling me (or anybody else) a "right wingnut." In your defense, you haven't really suggested here that anybody else be muzzled, either. My POINT, however, is that merely being offended by something doesn't rationalize away the rights of anybody else to say or do whatever it is that somebody else finds offensive.

As an aside, the people who tend to be MOST offended by something tend to be those who are wounded by the element of truth they perceive. You can tell me all day long that I have a small appendage, and I'll laugh because there's no truth to that at all! But if you happen to hit on one of my own personal bugaboos (and we've all got 'em!), I might feel hurt whether it's objectively true or not!

Speaking of "objectively true," and for your own future reference, I'm not a "right wingnut" largely because I don't fit too comfortably into the stereotypical right wing. I'm not fundamentally religious. I couldn't care any less whether or not you're gay. It doesn't matter to me if you smoke marijuana. And, unlike the extremists on BOTH ends of the spectrum, I don't expect you to shut up for any reason any time soon.

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