Ann Coulter Can Say What She Wants

Does Ann Coulter have the right to spout hate speech, and do people have a right to criticize her for it? One reader wonders why the American public can't just "lighten up" about it. See what the White Guy has to say.

Luke Visconti's Ask the White Guy column is a top draw on DiversityInc.com. Visconti, the founder and CEO of DiversityInc, is a nationally recognized leader in diversity management. In his popular column, readers who ask Visconti tough questions about race/culture, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability and age can expect smart, direct and disarmingly frank answers.


Question:

The American public needs to "lighten up" and laugh at itself again. I wish we as a country could go back to the days that inspired the slogan "Sticks and stones may break my bones but …" Words only have the power we give them, and if we choose to ignore [them,] they are powerless. Anything you say could be offensive to some group. The problem nowadays is there are too many groups … why don't we just focus on being American and stop dividing it into smaller and smaller groups? Anybody remember "United we stand, divided we fall?"

Answer:

We've received several e-mails like this–also some that criticize DiversityInc as being "politically correct."

It's easy to say "lighten up" when the hate speech isn't directed at you. I think "politically correct" is the term used by people who are confounded by their loss of social acceptance to insult, abuse or label anyone or any group that isn't like them.

I see pluralistic groups as being in the best tradition of the American spirit.

For example, Thomas Paine's "divisive" pamphlet, "Common Sense," rallied people of conscience to the rebellion in 1776. Before Paine's words rallied the rebellion, most people in this country at the time of our Revolution didn't want to be involved, were enslaved or supported the British. If "United We Stand" won the day, we would have the Queen on our currency today.

Under the structure of human rights, differences create the interface where ideas are generated and solutions are found.

Words are exceptionally strong. That's why our first amendment guarantees a free press. Ann Coulter has the right to call a gay person whatever she wishes; the public has the right to protest those words and tell the people who sponsor her that they will no longer do business with them.

I think the rise of multifaceted pushback is all-American.

 

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