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Freedom of Speech in NYC is Dead. - pierrerosen [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

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Freedom of Speech in NYC is Dead. [Mar. 1st, 2007|10:14 am]
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Res. No. 693-A:

"[A] Resolution calling on the Council of the City of New York to declare a symbolic moratorium on the use of the "N" word in New York City.
Whereas, the Council encourages the citizens of the City of New York to cease using the "N" word and to encourage all others whom they may encounter in their daily routine to cease from using the word as well; now therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Council of the City of New York declares a symbolic moratorium on the use of the "N" word in New York City."
I find the "N" word to be offensive and disgusting. However, passing a law abridging our right to speak is even more offensive.

Unfortunately, the community at large, and the vast majority of the African-American community, has decided that the "N" word is not offensive, and can be used in a positive way. I disagree with this assessment and never use the "N" word.

However, this law is unconstitutional. First and foremost, this law is an abridgment of speech. The Constitution of the State of New York explicitly states in §8 that "Every citizen may freely speak, write and publish his or her sentiments on all subjects, being responsible for the abuse of that right;and no law shall be passed to restrain or abridge the liberty of speech or of the press." Clearly, this resolution restrains and abridges speech, and creates a chilling effect on people speech and musical expression.

Secondly, naysayers argue that this law has no teeth and can't be enforced. However, it is a settled principle of law since Marbury v. Madison that if there is a right, there must be a remedy, even if a prohibition is "symbolic" and has no enumerated remedy. Perhaps the punishment for using the "N" word should be symbolic as well, like a symbolic public tongue lashing by a member of the prestigious city counsel.

Lastly, the law is overbroad and vague, since this resolution can arguably be read to include any word that begins with the letter "N". Too bad those "Nincompoops" over at City Hall don't understand that the 1st Amendment and our State Constitution protect everyone's right to use offensive speech.

If this doesn't make your blood boil, I don't know what will! Write the city counsel and tell them that you don't want them trampling on our hard earned civil liberties!

NYC Counsel Resolution 693-A | Constitution of the State of New York | First Amendment Annotated | digg this

From: (Anonymous)
2007-03-01 05:12 pm (UTC)
I think that you are overreacting. Its a good thing for those who use the word and/or is effected by its use. Its not a real law, so its not in conflict with the Constitution.

How are you doing??? I hope all is well with you.
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[User Picture]From: pierrerosen
2007-03-01 05:24 pm (UTC)
Harriet, I'm doing well, just fighting the good fight!
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From: (Anonymous)
2007-03-01 06:21 pm (UTC)

How is N word defined? And other comments

Hey folks,
Well I havent studied the issue, but I would tend to think its a positive thing to have a symbolic moratorium type thingee, of course a law would be totally unconstitutional as Mr. Rosen mentions.

Im curious though how the word is defined is it typical "nigger" or "niggaz" or what? And how is it pronounced phonetically? I guess Im having a bit of fun with this :) :O. I presume you can still play music with such words in it. . . . I guess to me the words arent really as important its more the intention and how you use it. Like the term "boy" could be just as offensive to Af-Americans or others.

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From: (Anonymous)
2007-03-01 07:01 pm (UTC)

Bigger issue is city council scoring political points

I think the heart of the problem here is that politicians in New York City, which includes all elected officials, are always looking to take stands in non-binding ways so they can put it on their campaign literature later when they run for re-election or some higher office. This is true regardless of the race/gender/turf of the politician.

I abhore the N word. But I think admonishing it, criminalizing it, whatever, superficially addresses the problem of racism. Racism manifests itself all over New York City, from irresponsible police practices to lack of affordable housing. I would like to see city councilmembers have the maturity and honesty to start trying to work together to tackle these problems, and stop wasting time with the grandstanding.

-Pierre's friend Tracey
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From: (Anonymous)
2007-03-01 10:33 pm (UTC)

right on brotha

it's jess . ..

Pierre, I totally agree, and it honestly does make my blood boil to think about the city trying to take away our first amendment rights. I think it's also moronic that they think by obliterating the "n" word from existence with government regulation, that people will stop saying it, and all will be peachy with the world. It took a long damn time for people ot really hate each other, and it will take a long damn time before they stop. Meanwhile, I'm wondering what all the rappers that perform at MSG are gonna do? Change their lyrics cause the government said so? Sounds kinda shady to me.
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From: (Anonymous)
2007-03-03 10:35 am (UTC)

There are real issues out there.

This is yet another political distraction that can be lumped right in there with flag burning and prayer in schools. There are real problems in our country like poverty and a bad education system and instead of trying to fix these things the government is wasting its time and our time talking about banning words. Things like this make me want to stay in Japan.

This is Seth, Pierre's friend from Japan, signing out.

PS. Hey Pierre, Skype me when you get a chance.
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