Freedom of speech is a hot-button topic in today’s news. Various aspects of free speech are constantly debated, such as who is really allowed free speech and what its purpose in today’s technology driven world. But, a question that lies beneath it all is: Are black people allowed their constitutional right to freedom of speech as their white counterparts are?
Jemele Hill, a ESPN sports journalist, tweeted her thoughts about Donald Trump last year.
Donald Trump is a white supremacist who has largely surrounded himself w/ other white supremacists.
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) September 11, 2017
When this happened, there were comments throughout social media from celebrities to regular everyday people. Even the president himself fired back, tweeting:
With Jemele Hill at the mike, it is no wonder ESPN ratings have "tanked," in fact, tanked so badly it is the talk of the industry!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 10, 2017
This social media confrontation lead to Jemele Hill’s two-week suspension when she simply utilized her right to freedom of speech as an American citizen. This highly publicized event revealed that freedom of speech is a tricky topic to analyze, depending on whose freedom of speech is up for grabs.
Former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick does not have a job because he decided, as a black man, to fight for justice. He is now “unemployable” from doing something he was trained his whole life to do: play football. Freedom of speech is seemingly only acceptable when you’re not speaking for the injustice that America wants to ignore.
The problem within the Black community is that we need to realize our power too.
We have legal power as well although it may not be as strong as white people. But legal power is not the only solution we have. We have a power within our mind, the words we speak, and the actions we take. Free speech is needed to survive it is how we communicate and continue to thrive. But without true freedom of speech, we will never be equal.
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