Free speech, hate speech clash in recent UC San Diego speaking cancellation

Princeton Professor Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor’s cancelled speaking engagements prove violence is inherent in hate speech


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Threatening a Princeton professor on social media for valid political critique isn’t the best use of anybody’s time.

And yet, that’s how a whole host of internet trolls chose to react to a recent Fox News segment about Princeton professor of African American Studies Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor’s much-applauded commencement address at Hampton College. In response to a cascade of violent and bigoted threats, the professor recently announced on Facebook that she has canceled lectures at the University of California, San Diego, among other schools.

This is yet another unequivocal nail in the coffin to the argument that speech in and of itself can’t be a form of violence.

And where’s the outrage? When Milo Yiannopoulos’ paid speaking gig was canceled because of local protest, which also was speech to be protected, conservatives were furious. When Ann Coulter backed the UC Berkeley campus into a corner by announcing her visit with a fraction of the standard warning and then backed out, the world erupted in free speech outrage.

Those fearless free speech advocates seem far less interested in rushing to Taylor’s defense at this neighboring UC campus. Demands for upholding the values of free speech seem suspiciously selective in this country.

It’s interesting, also, who has more clout in the arena of recent free speech discourse. Taylor is a Princeton professor. Yiannopoulos and Coulter are just cults of personality with bad hair.

The biggest difference, of course, is that Taylor has made a career of uplifting and supporting marginalized communities, while Milo and Ann have only furthered injustice.

Professor Taylor was threatened with being lynched, among other heinous violent acts. There’s a whole history of violent silencing of Black people who are trying to speak out about Black marginalization and uplift. The threat of this violence, in comparison to that of Yiannopoulos and Coulter, is far more startling and inherently dangerous.

Back in the days of the Black Power movement, Angela Davis, Malcolm X and even Martin Luther King Jr. were targeted by the COINTELPRO program. The federal government was trying to put them all in jail, and it sometimes succeeded. Angela Davis was No. 3 on the FBI Most Wanted list. The government actively dismantled the Black Panthers out of fear of Black Power.

The parallels here are unmistakable.

Editorials represent the majority opinion of the Editorial Board as written by the opinion editor.

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  • vincent

    You asked for the difference, here it is. Mainstream conservatives do not defend threatening violence against progressive speakers, preventing people who want to hear a progressive speaker give a talk from doing so or intimidating speakers speakers into not making a public appearance. Conservatives may not hold protest marches every time a progressive speaker is allegedly harassed by a nutjob (we are a bit jaded by all the times progressives have been caught fabricating threats to support their narrative) but they certainly do not condone such activity. On the other hand, so called mainstream liberals, including this editorial board, regularly make excuses for and even outright condone radicals on their side who use threats, violence and other means to intimidate conservative speakers. HTH

  • ESPM360

    The shot gun was purchased by Ms. Davis one or two days prior to be used in the murders.

  • jim hoch

    Hampton College is in the UK. There is a “Hampshire College” and a “Hampton University”. But hey, why let facts get in the way of a good rant…

  • Nunya Beeswax

    If any of the members of the Daily Cal editorial board are confused regarding the difference between verbal abuse and a punch in the face, I am sure a demonstration could be arranged.

  • _py
  • California Defender

    Oh bubbled Berkeleyites! You aimlessly splash in the tepid ankle-deep waters of an inflatable kiddie pool. You are liberated from academic rigor and the expectation of critical thinking. Oh to live such a mild life! Even what would be considered a soupcon of slipshod performance in the real world is far too high a bar.

    The article above, like so many from the Daily Californian, congealed into a lumpy slop of words without even a modicum of intellectual reflection. Worse, yet, none on the “Editorial Board” has the intestinal fortitude parasites to put their name on it.

    To understand why, I examined one of their bios which quickly confirmed my opinion of the Berkeleyite condition. Revealed in their own words:

    “Finally, after strangely being accepted to UC Berkeley but rejected from nearly every other California school I applied to, I decided to give college one last chance… Am I happy that I stuck it out? Did I learn anything? I don’t know!”

    You know what I know? The taxpayers of California are being swindled.

    • SecludedCompoundTTYS

      She/he/cis is probably a poc

      • California Defender

        Actually, no. She appears to be a very confused girl (I’m guessing, you never know these days) who might be of European origin from her photo and name.

        I don’t like to call people out, but since you inquired, you can read the sad story of this undeclared student yourself:

        http://www.dailycal. org/2017/05/26/4-years-4-colleges

  • Killer Marmot

    Ann Coulter likely receives death threats — and worse — on a daily basis. It is a sad fact of life for anyone who’s views are in any way controversial.

    In other words, don’t assume that Taylor’s experience is in any way special or unique to those on the left, or that Coulter is getting a free pass.

  • Killer Marmot

    Demands for upholding the values of free speech seem suspiciously selective in this country.

    And it is everyone’s job, including the editorial board’s, to ensure it is not selective. In this piece, the editors fails to do that when they suggest that Yiannopoulos and Coulter’s right to free speech is less than Taylor’s because of their opinions.

  • ESPM360

    “The parallels here are unmistakable”…… Are you suggesting our Govt is going after Taylor?

    Your article fails to state the fact that Coulter and Yiannopoulos did not really have a choice to cancel. The UCB administration made the choice for them. Whereas Taylor made her own decision to cancel. Regardless, I support Taylor’s right to speak and think it is wrong if she was indeed threaten. Can you say the same about Coulter and Yiannopoulos? I doubt it.

    Do you know why Angela Davis was on the FBI Most Wanted list? Maybe you could tell your readers why.

    • DarkStarCrashes

      Thank you for poking some holes in their rhetoric. I almost called it an argument for a second there, but that would have been an error.

      This editorial is viscerally offensive to me in its sloppy irrational reasoning (if you can even call it reasoning).

      It is one big “false equivalence” fest.

  • ShadrachSmith

    Janet’s minions are channeling the Red Guard from China’s cultural revolution…good or bad?

  • RobMyers

    “This is yet another unequivocal nail in the coffin to the argument that speech in and of itself can’t be a form of violence.”

    Well, no. Words have meaning. Violence is physical, words are not. Threats should be condemned and no one should be intimidated into shrinking from a public appearance. If the threats against the Professor are true, I will gladly condemn them.

    In an effort to Trust, but verify, I’d have to rely on the old internet adage: Pics, or it didn’t happen. Did the professor release any of the emails, or screenshots to show that her life was threatened? Are the police actively looking into the threat(s), and can they confirm there’s been a threat(s)?

    You’ll forgive my reluctance to immediately buy the account, as we have seen a substantial number of faux threats, or slurs, perpetrated by the alleged victims, themselves, this season. In fact, it’s practically a trend.

    That being said, if it’s true, I absolutely condemn any threats towards anyone and believe the Professor should be free from such threats, and free to speak her piece however she desires. At the same time, I don’t think she’s going to be free from name calling, as none of us are, and that’s alright. But intimidation is never acceptable.

  • lspanker

    The biggest difference, of course, is that Taylor has made a career of uplifting and supporting marginalized communities, while Milo and Ann have only furthered injustice.

    In other words, you agree with one of them, but not the others.

    You pathetic scum. You posture as “journalists” but are clearly propagandists, intent on shutting down anyone who dares to disagree with you.

    • Jorge Carolinos

      Lighten up bro, just college kids with the life experience of having Helicopter parents.

      College kids now have the life experiences at 20 that we had at 16, toss in the college mono culture, they might have the life experience of a 20 year old from 30 years ago when they turn 35.

      • SecludedCompoundTTYS

        It is pretty interesting how obvious it is that they have not grown up and are not mature enough for college thanks to their parents coddling them and making them think they are more important and special than others. The virtue signaling at Berkeley is astounding. They were marginalized in high school so think they need pay back.

    • DarkStarCrashes

      “You pathetic scum.”

      Harsh words, I probably wouldn’t have used them, but I find myself agreeing.

      If there’s one thing that makes me angry and disgusted, it’s poorly-reasoned propaganda that perverts the meanings of words. If this editorial staff is at all representative of thought-patterns of the larger student body, then society is in trouble.

      This editorial reads like a parody, but it’s real. People are just throwing their minds away in order go with the herd and dwell in an easy, righteous-feeling emotional space.

      It really is pathetic.