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Freedom from government to protect our most vulnerable voices


Racist. Hero. Stubborn. Fighter. Chink. I’ve been called many things during my near-decade battle that brought me before the Supreme Court, though ironically, I’ve never been called a “slant,” the contentious term the government wrongly assumed wasn’t one reappropriated by my community.

Really, I prefer the term troublemaker.

Laws are designed to maintain the status quo, but shifts in language and identity require bureaucracies to move beyond simple cultural competency and instead navigate inconvenient and unknown waters. While it isn’t without controversy, we should recognize the focus on harmful speech could be a distraction from underlying policy and institutions that perpetuate injustice for the marginalized. Continue reading …

Simon Tam, the leader of the Asian-American rock band, The Slants

We should stop pitting civil rights against constitutional liberties; the latter is essential for the former. Freedom of speech guarantees us the tools to neuter malice.

Whether it is the beating of drums or the marching of protesters, it is art and activism that drive social change – but we need freedom from government to protect our most vulnerable voices who need to stir up a little trouble.

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