Fuck your “free speech”

feminist_finger
Credit: FemmeThreads

To all the white dudes that think they’re so brave and strong and rational for shitting on safer spaces: your ignorance is showing. I know you think you’re breaking new ground and “fostering discussion,” but that’s only because you live in a bubble and have no idea what’s going on around you. You have no idea that we’ve heard these same, tired arguments a million times before. They’re not original, they’re not edgy, and they’re definitely not brave. All you’re doing is playing into the hands of people who have a whole lot more money and power than you do, and you don’t even realize you’re doing it. Also, FYI, your defense is pitiful. You may not have noticed, but a lot of us got past “yay free speech!” a long time ago, mostly because we’ve never bought into the idea that your version of “free speech” ever existed in the first place. Only the most sheltered, coddled individuals could imagine that it’s not only desirable, but possible, to be able to speak freely without consequence. Only someone who has never had to fear being shunned by their friends and family, publicly humiliated, assaulted, or raped for saying the wrong thing to the wrong person at the wrong time could believe that this kind of “free speech” is something that exists on this planet for anyone but the most privileged. Only someone who has never been arrested, beaten, mauled by dogs, and pepper-sprayed for daring to join a public protest could believe in “free speech.” Only someone who has never been fired by their boss for suggesting that workers should unionize could believe in “free speech.” Only someone who has never had to directly interact with the criminal justice system as a sexual assault survivor could believe in “free speech.” Only someone who has never worked on a temporary visa and been threatened with deportation could believe in “free speech.” Only someone who has never been the only person of colour in a room full of white folks could believe in “free speech.” Only someone who has never been in the closet for their entire life because the alternative is too frightening to bear could believe in “free speech.” Only someone who has never had to sign a non-disclosure agreement, or protect their sources, or had their ideas butchered and thrown out by marketing and legal departments could believe in “free speech.” Only someone who has never heard of intellectual property rights and take-down notices could believe in “free speech.” Only someone who thinks that profit has nothing to do with what the media does and does not choose to cover could believe in “free speech.” Only someone who knows nothing about how power works in our society could believe in “free speech.” If you’re really that oblivious, then fine, go ahead, join the circle jerk. We know you’re insecure, we know you’re looking for validation, we know it feels good to be told that you’re right, to feel like you belong, to feel like you’re contributing to something bigger than yourself. Just don’t complain to us when you finally wake up and notice that history has left you behind. People are fighting to make things better, and you can either join that fight, or you can cling to an idealized past that never really existed in the first place.

And just a point of clarification, this rant isn’t for you, Mr. Anonymous White Man, because it’s not like you’d listen to me anyway (speaking has always been your strong suit, listening not so much). It’s for me and everyone else that’s sick and tired of dealing with your repetitive fucking bullshit. Because that’s all that it is, and all it will ever be. So do us all a favour, and drop it.

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