Talib Kweli Addresses White Nationalists and Free Speech in Op-Ed Piece
If you follow Talib Kweli on Twitter, then you would know that he consistently gives white nationalists that work on his timeline. Recently, he canceled a show because the venue booked a metal band who is known for their alleged racist lyrics.
Since then, alt-right supporters have been attacking Kweli for allegedly infringing on other people's rights to utilize their free speech on social media.
In response, the Brooklyn rhymer wrote an op-ed piece titled “Free Speech or Die?” where he addresses the alt-right movement and how right-wing free speech advocates are promoting Nazism and giving white supremacists room to "say whatever they want without dissent, argument, pushback, or consequence."
"It is not a coincidence that freedom of speech for white supremacists who already enjoy it under the full protection of the law has become a cause célèbre in the Trump era," he wrote. "White supremacists who harass anti-racist and anti-fascist activists online behind anonymous accounts are followers of a wide array of these 'free speech' advocates. The use their precious anonymity and claims of having their free speech oppressed to write terribly bigoted things and to support terribly bigoted ideas."
"They often confuse social media with an open marketplace of ideas, as if social media were the internet itself," he continued. "Social media networks are private companies that make you obey the rules of the house and reserve the right to kick you out when you break those rules. Your Twitter account does not fall under the protection of the First Amendment. Remember, conservatives, corporations are people too."
"Freedom of speech in America simply means the government cannot arrest you for what you say. This I agree with. This doesn’t mean I must tolerate or listen to what you have to say, and it doesn’t mean that your misinformed opinions must be treated as fact or with respect, either in the flesh or on social media," he added. "The First Amendment does not protect you from criticism or protest of your ideas. If what you choose to say or write gets you banned from a community, yelled at, fired from your job, or called mean names, your right to free speech is not being violated. You are just receiving the karmic consequences of using your free speech to advocate for hate."
You can read Talib Kweli's commentary in full at medium.com.
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