Free speech is for everyone, not a select few
Written by Solomon Jones on August 30, 2017
When fellow columnist Stu Bykofsky said Black Lives Matter Pennsylvania’s Asa Khalif should not be allowed to interrupt government news conferences while protesting the killings of black men by police, I was flummoxed.
The First Amendment grants every American the right to free speech. It’s what protects my right to pen this column, or speak up against hate. In short, that right to speak freely is what makes us all Americans.
But for blacks in this country, there seems to be a separate set of rules. We can protest, as long as it doesn’t make our white countrymen uncomfortable. We can speak up, as long as we do so in a respectable manner. We can sit down, as long as it isn’t during the national anthem. We can stand up, just not for the right to be treated equally by those whose salaries we pay.
I’m tired of that double standard. I don’t care whether a black man’s demand for equal treatment makes others uncomfortable. In fact, I hope it does. It is only when we are uncomfortable that we change. And make no mistake. America must change.
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Photo: Asa Khalif (right) protests the death of Brandon Tate Brown at the hands of police. (Joe Piette/ Flickr)