Opinion » Shredder

Disgusting deviants



What is the right way to report on racism in a community?


It depends on who you ask. Some accuse media organizations of inflaming rhetoric if they publish stories about say—just as an example—masked men holding up a banner espousing "white pride" over a Templeton overpass.

"This isn't our community," they say. "It's people from out of town."

"You're painting North County with a racist brush."

"You're just giving attention to the hate, to people who want you to do exactly that."

Or if you ask 5th District Supervisor Debbie Arnold, "I hate that we are reacting to something divisive with something more divisive."

The definition of "more divisive" in Arnold's case was the SLO County Board of Supervisors passing a resolution condemning racism. I'm not sure about you, but I don't give a shit who thinks that condemning racist speech is divisive. Because it shouldn't be divisive at all. It should unite us.

No one was saying those Nazi nimrods weren't allowed to practice their free hate speech on Vineyard Drive. All the county did with that resolution was say it was wrong. And as Debbie pooh-poohed all over the resolution, I couldn't help but wonder if the bumbling conservative darling believes that white is indeed right.

What if displays of racism happen more than once? Which they have. We've got four locations and counting that have received "banner drops," including in the liberal snowflake capital of the county, San Luis Obispo.

When we see giant sheets stenciled with text that reads "white men unite" and "embrace white pride," do we ignore it or do we write about it?

SLO Mayor Erica Stewart encouraged her Instagram followers to "NOT amplify their messages of racism and bigotry." Instead, Stewart said we should "share messages of inclusion, compassion, and love."

"Join me in being the change we wish to see in our city," she wrote. "Together, we can build a stronger, more compassionate San Luis Obispo. Engage in conversations that foster understanding and empathy."

Hell yes, Erica! But we also need to name the things that lead us to make rallying cries such as the ones you issued via social media. We need to name the catalysts that drive us to "do something."

Even if it is three "anonymous" men trying desperately to recruit friends and gain attention by spreading hate, we absolutely need to write about it. We call it what it is, and we 100 percent don't ignore it. We can't ignore the history that unfolds in front of us. How else do we learn and grow from it?

Does it matter if these men are in fact from the Central Valley? Even if they are, they obviously feel comfortable here—actually, maybe it was too hot for them to banner in North County due to the head-to-toe coverage they don for anonymity's sake, which is why they showed up in SLO. Do we continue to pretend like racism doesn't exist in SLO County, as if we don't have local residents who believe in the views espoused by the likes of the erectile disfunction clubs for scared white men known as the NorCal Active Club and the California Blackshirts?

"Ranting in comment sections won't save our race, only action will," the California Blackshirts say on their brand new Telegram channel, which has only been around for about a month. Their race, by the way, is the "European race." Last I checked, that wasn't really a thing.

Besides, white men are on the way out, baby. Everyone else is in.

Maybe that's why they want to bring "awareness to the plight that white Americans face." Is the plight that they have to be anonymous to broadcast their racist views because those views no longer enjoy widespread acceptance? Poor people.

Kind of like poor Raymond Katz in Paso Robles who is having a hard time accepting that his actions have consequences, like being warned by law enforcement. There is a fine line between free speech and making direct threats, as he learned in July.

Holding up a banner filled with white supremacist hate speech is in fact an exercise of the Constitution's First Amendment upholding the right to practice free speech, even if it is "disgusting," Debbie Arnold. Writing vaguely threatening emails to Paso Robles Joint Unified School District board member Jim Cogan because you don't like the fact that he announced an event that took place during Pride Month is on the way to crossing that fine line.

Making a phone call to Cogan's church and asking them to do something about him and then telling them you're going to hang a dead chicken around his neck may be completely crossing the line. Katz is lucky all he got was a reprimand.

You can be a completely bigoted, anti-trans moron if you want. Ask board member Kenney Enney. He's said a lot of terrible things, but he's never received a reprimand from law enforcement. You can also be opposed to someone's viewpoints and express those opinions.

That's what America is all about, baby! Love it or hate it.

What you can't do—and shouldn't do—is level up from free speech to unprotected speech, aka making a direct threat of violence against a specific person.

Ask Daniel Joshua Phares what happened after he threatened the leaders of Women's March SLO. Δ

The Shredder is an American patriot. Send free speech questions to [email protected].


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