Tiny Doo, Billie Holiday, and the Longstanding Crime of Black Music

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Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

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80 Responses

  1. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    There is also a relatively long-standing aspect of using rap lyrics as evidence to prove that African-American men committed murder and other violent crimes:

    http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/culturebox/2014/03/hip_hop_and_criminal_justice_the_absurd_literalism_of_prosecutors_using.html

    There is a case involving True Threats that was argued in front of SCOTUS earlier this year and I wonder how the decision in that case will change the current prosecution you mentioned or the use of Rap lyrics as evidence in criminal trials. My guess is that it will not until one of these cases makes it the long and slow way up the courts and is heard by SCOTUS. Even then, I bet prosecutors will try and find ways around it.

    The particular evil and irony seems to be that none of this has ever stopped any form of black music from being the dominant popular music in the United States. To really criminalize music, you need an enforcement mechanism that puts the war on some people who use some drugs to shame. But what prosecutors and their allies can seemingly do is send cautionary tales or make individuals suffer greatly as a beware.Report

  2. Avatar Chris says:

    Tod, this is excellent, and I’m extremely happy you wrote it. And not just because Common is in it.

    Thank you for it.Report

  3. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    Re: footnote [2]. As it happens, I am Burt Likko. And the Constitutional troubles of a prosecution for making a rap album are so blindingly obvious to non-lawyers that they need not be explicated at any particular length here. Duncan’s defense attorney is no dummy, and must surely have made a motion to dismiss at least that count by now. But, n.b., there are other charges pending against Duncan that stand apart factually from the music, and which allege more direct and overt personal involvement with gang activity than just rapping about it. Are they true? That’s what courts are for, and until and unless convicted, Duncan is entitled to a legal presumption of innocence.

    The gray zone, such as it is, will not be “Can we bust this guy for selling drugs or capping rival gangbangers?” (obviously yes) or “Can we bust this guy for making music that portrays selling drugs and capping rival gangbangers in a positive light?” (obviously no) but rather “Can we use this guy’s music, in which he portrays selling drugs and capping rival gang members in a positive light, as evidence that he actually does sell drugs alongside his homies and put caps in rival gangbangers?”

    The perhaps chilling news there is that most courts have answered that question with “Yes, that’s admissible evidence, and the jury can decide how relevant that evidence is.” I say “perhaps chilling” because perhaps that doesn’t chill you at all. Truth be told, I’m not sure it chills me all that much. Consider: a defendant accused of premeditated murder of his wife who wrote poems describing how he might go about killing someone with the same name as his wife probably ought not to be allowed to claim the First Amendment as a shield against the admissibility of that poetry. Because that looks like it’s super-relevant to the issue of premeditation. Record the poetry being spoken and dub in a beat track below the spoken word, and that’s getting pretty close to the kind of art we’re talking about here, and doesn’t really change whether it’s relevant to an actual legal issue of a criminal charge that doesn’t directly implicate the First Amendment.

    Which is why the balance of this post is really important. Juries are guided to a very strong degree by their cultural imprints. There is a powerful cultural imprint suggesting that some kinds of hip-hop and rap music are strongly associated with actual criminal behavior, which is another layer on top of the pre-existing, seemingly intractable cultural soup which results in black people, particularly young black men, facing criminal charges finding themselves at a massive disadvantage as compared to similarly-situated defendants of other demographic backgrounds.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Burt Likko says:

      @burt-likko

      The poem example is very specific. The rap lyrics as evidence seems more generalized because they do not contain evidence of the specific crime at hand but are just about the things rap lyrics are usually about. These things happen to related to drug dealing and gang life frequently. So I have no trouble admitting evidence that Larry murdered his estranged wife if the evidence is that Larry wrote many stories about murdering a woman where the murder happened to be named Larry and the murder victim happened to be his estranged wife and shared the same name and the murder was done in the same way. But that is very different than proving a guy was in a gang just because he wrote rap lyrics about being in a gang.

      Would you use Guns of Brixton as evidence against Joe Strummer if Joe Strummer was accused of killing a cop? Would you use I Fought the Law (and the law won) as evidence that he committed a crime?Report

    • Wouldn’t/shouldn’t eight months be long enough for a judge to have ruled on a motion to dismiss the charge only based on the album, so that at least that question would be settled?Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Michael Drew says:

        My first thought was “yes, so why wouldn’t that have happened?”

        This is from http://judgepedia.org/Judicial_selection_in_California

        Trial judges are elected by popular non-partisan vote.

        Oh. Well, there you go.Report

      • I don’t think popular election of judges would mean they can just indefinitely delay rulings they’d rather not make, or at least that we should conclude that that’s what’s happening here. If pressure to not to dismiss the charge were determining what is happening, I have to think they’d just rule that the charge can stand in a relatively timely way. Maybe it’s not actually so untimely given the caseload, or maybe there has been terrible representation.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Michael Drew says:

        Seems to me there are three parts to the law he’s being held under:. a) that Tiny willfully benefited from b) activities of a gang which he’s a member of which has c) engaged in felonious activity. Seems like the got him on a) and b) – or let’s suppose they do anyway – but c) cuts all the ice, no? If they can’t charge him or anyone else in his gang with the commission of a felony then they can’t charge him under the relevant law.Report

      • @michael-drew and @jaybird :

        You’re prompting me to be very cynical, about members of a rank of the legal profession which I aspire to join. Cynical lawyers might respond to this by pointing out that elected judges have an incentive to always appear to be on the side of law and order and thus skew rulings in favor of the prosecution so as to appeal to voters. Cynical lawyers might say that judges are timid and afraid of being overturned on appeal, and therefore will defer making decisions for as long as possible — including but not limited to, during trial, admitting evidence that maybe ought to be excluded.

        But as I look closer at what it means to be a judge and to be faced with these issues and the frankly surprising lack of direct, on-point guidance, the more I think it’s not timidity or fear of electoral consequences. The judicial retention rate in California elections is high to the point of approaching 100%; it’s statewide news when a judge is voted out of office. And every judge I’ve appeared before as a lawyer, without fail, has expressed a lack of concern with being overturned on appeal — no judge ever goes without reversal, but very few of them are reversed all that much, so a low number of reversals is acceptable, and maybe this is one.

        What I see now is the use of a lack of decision to prod the parties to reach a resolution. “Hey, defendant, you maybe want to consider a plea bargain because I might just let this evidence in and that’ll make it look really bad for your client,” at the same time saying, “Hey, prosecution, you maybe want to offer a reasonable plea bargain because I might just deny you the ability to offer this evidence and then your case is going to kind of suck.” So the judge can take a contentious issue under submission, say she’s sending it down for review with a research attorney, or for whatever other procedural reason to kick the can down the road as far as she can — because it causes the parties to experience risk and uncertainty. Risk motivates parties to compromise, both in criminal and civil cases.

        I can certainly see objections to this, as well. Why should a person who is innocent be incentivized to plead guilty? Or, conversely, why should a prosecutor who is certain of obtaining a conviction on all counts back down? From the judge’s perspective, that’ll work itself out in terms of evaluating one anothers’ bargaining strength. My experience with this sort of thing has been in civil cases, but of course it applies in criminal matters, too: an innocent defendant bound to eventually succeed may only ever agree to a misdemeanor plea and time served; a sure-to-be-convicted defendant may agree to plea to some lesser-included felony and the People agreeing to recommend a mid-range or short-range sentence. If one or the other side overestimates its own bargaining strength, there are signals that can be made to bring them back to reality, up to and including actually making a ruling on a disputed issue. The point is to encourage the parties to work it all out.

        And before you ask… Yes, I do want to do things like that if the Governor ever gives me the honor of trying. Settlements are, except in very very rare kinds of cases, better than verdicts for everyone involved. That’s how justice works, ladies and gentlemen. If the gears grinding together inside the black box of “justice” don’t look so pretty, well, neither do the gears grinding together in the black box we call “democracy,” either.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Michael Drew says:

        Burt, with all due respect, this…doesn’t sit well with me. This guy’s been sitting in jail for eight months of his life *already*. The time spent in there doesn’t benefit him in any way as far as I can tell, but it certainly seems to keep stacking leverage on the prosecution’s side – for example, giving them more time to build (or manufacture) a case against him, and psychologically demoralizing him, and depleting his family’s finances.

        If there’s a charge that the judge knows is CLEARLY nonsense on stilts and he isn’t ruling to dismiss that ASAP with extreme prejudice, how is he serving justice, and the defendant’s right to a speedy and fair process?Report

      • Fair enough, @glyph , if the charge in question and the hold in jail were based only on the contents of the recording. It’s evident that there are a whole bunch of counts against the defendant.

        If the prosecution has proffered evidence suggesting the defendant has otherwise profited or benefited from the criminal activity (for example, and I don’t know if these are the charges brought in this case, sharing the proceeds of a drug sale), then the charge ought not be dismissed. Again, I have to assume that the defense attorney is not so dim as to have missed this, and I have to assume that the judge, as anxious as she might be to encourage a plea arrangement, is going to make the right ruling.

        To the extent that you protest that justice delayed is justice denied, well, that’s a valid complaint indeed.Report

      • I wrote this below but it’s more on point here, and it might have a chance of catching Burt’s eye if I reprint it where he’s looking, so:

        I think I misunderstood @Burt Likko where he said “there are other charges pending against Duncan that stand apart factually from the music, and which allege more direct and overt personal involvement with gang activity than just rapping about it.”

        Meaning, maybe he meant that there are charges other than the ones that stand only on the music that stand on other evidence, even though they may also use the music as suggested in Burt’s second paragraph.

        The issue is whether there are any charges left that do stand only on the music, or even only with the music (i.e., there is other evidence, but so little that without the music ordinarily such charges would doubtlessly be dropped). And: when the evidence that was added to the music for the charges most reliant on the music was gathered and presented to the judge.

        Also, I suppose, just whether it would be normal for a judge to make a ruling that there is not enough evidence to support a particular charge when there is enough evidence to hold the person. Maybe that latter determination is as much as a judge is ever interested in at that stage of the process.

        I guess I just broadly don’t understand how this guy has been held for eight months. He’s charged with murder, but in a nonviolent capacity. Many people would be released on bail in such a situation, I think. But maybe not. I wonder what the arguments have been regarding bail.Report

      • @burt-likko @michael-drew Consider this a TTMLIS comment for you lawyers.

        You guys (I think?) keep talking about other non-rapping crimes that Duncan is being held and/or charged with. The CNN report linked says (with emphasis added),

        San Diego-based rapper Tiny Doo has already spent eight months in prison, and faces 25 years to life in prison if convicted under a little-known California statute that makes it illegal to benefit from gang activities.

        It’s that last part — benefiting from criminal activity — that prosecutors are going after the rapper for.

        Tiny Doo, whose real name is Brandon Duncan, faces nine counts of criminal street gang conspiracy because prosecutors allege he and 14 other alleged gang members increased their stature and respect following a rash of shootings in the city in 2013

        No one suggests the rapper ever actually pulled a trigger.

        I’m assuming after reading your comments that I’m reading it wrong, but I read that to mean that the multiple charges are based entirely on Duncan’s album, and not a belief that recording the album is proof of separate crimes he committed. So my question to you guys is basically that I am seeing one of there possibilities:

        1. CNN is just performing bad, sensational reporting,

        2, I’m just totally reading the article wrong, or

        3. My lack of knowledge about criminal makes me not realize… um… I don’t even know, to be honest. But something.

        Where am I missing the boat?Report

      • IANAL. Although I do live with one, who clerks for a county judge (in family court).Report

      • My bad. I could have sworn you were.

        To Burt then, and any other lawyers out there. (Or non-lawyers who know more about this stuff than me, which is basically everyone here I think.)Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Michael Drew says:

        Tod, the way the law you quoted in the OP reads, there are three conditions which have to be met for that law to be applied: a) benefit from b) membership in a gang which c) committed a felony. So if the law is applied correctly, they have make the felony part stick. (Is there any other way to read that statute?) But if they had that already – that is, if they thought they could prove that in a court of law – they’d have charged and tried him already. My guess is that they know the gang was involved in the shootings (or something!) but don’t have enough evidence to make that stick in court. So the whole thing rests on a perhaps understandable but nevertheless inappropriate (mis)application of the law. ???

        And since I say that like I know what I’m talking about I’ll add some question marks at the end to invite corrections. I mean, I think I’m wondering the same thing you are, to some extent.Report

      • @stillwater Huh. I definitely do not read it that way. (Maybe because of the use of “or” and not “and?”)

        But like I said, one would have to be a fool to assume I am reading it correctly unless by accident.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Michael Drew says:

        Here’s the full statutory text from the link you provided:

        any person who actively participates in any criminal street gang, as defined in subdivision (f) of Section 186.22, with knowledge that its members engage in or have engaged in a pattern of criminal gang activity, as defined in subdivision (e) of Section 186.22, and who willfully promotes, furthers, assists, or benefits from any felonious criminal conduct by members of that gang is guilty of conspiracy to commit that felony and may be punished as specified in subdivision (a) of Section 182.

        As I read it, this law is applicable to Tiny Doo a person who a) “participates” in a gang and has b) benefited from the c) felonious conduct of members of that gang. Maybe I’m misunderstanding the charges against him, tho, since I thought his having made and sold an album relating to those events was part of the evidence against him.

        How come you can never find a lawyer when you really need one?Report

      • You couldn’t find this lawyer on demand, @stillwater , because he was watching House of Cards after a long day of client interviews and drafting of Rule 26(f) disclosures.

        I am at the moment preparing a dissection of the criminal charge at issue here, which to my mind misses the most important issue that the OP raised: not so much what the charges are exactly here but the degree to which the defendant’s association with “black music” is going to constitute, by itself, evidence of his criminality. That’s not really so much about the nature of the charges as it is the fact that there is rap music with lyrical content relevant to the criminal case at all.

        Stand by, Laird Laphroaig and I will have some law for you shortly.Report

      • Here you go. See you in the a.m., professional obligations of the day permitting.Report

      • And, belatedly — even after I used teh Google, I can’t tease out the acronym TTMLIS.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Michael Drew says:

        Talk To Me Like I’m StupidReport

      • Got it. See my explainer post, then. I promise the Scotch didn’t affect my analysis one bit.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Michael Drew says:

        We should create a new tab on the blog header with commonly used abbreviations.Report

    • Avatar morat20 in reply to Burt Likko says:

      .” I say “perhaps chilling” because perhaps that doesn’t chill you at all. Truth be told, I’m not sure it chills me all that much. Consider: a defendant accused of premeditated murder of his wife who wrote poems describing how he might go about killing someone with the same name as his wife probably ought not to be allowed to claim the First Amendment as a shield against the admissibility of that poetry.
      I think you’re neglecting to consider that this is not personal poetry, written in a diary — but a produced work, done for the purposes of sale, publication, dissemination, or otherwise public display.

      It’s an entirely different context, and an important one I think.

      Moreover, I think you’d need something a bit more specific, especially with works for publication or sale — the fact that a man writes, for instance, murder-mystery novels is hardly convincing in a murder trial. However, if a yet-to-be-published work eerily echoed an actual murder, then there’s something useful.

      But trying to use rap that glorifies gangs to show he’s a gangster? A huge chunk of rap talks about gangs — that’s more akin to claiming the guy’s a murderer because he wrote murder mysteries, and not epic sci-fi. The guy’s trying to sell songs about literally one of the most common rap topics.

      It’s such a tenuous, pointless reed. I guess my problem with it boils down to: It’s the sort of thing you’d only use if you had no evidence, and using such stupid evidence proves you’ve got no evidence, so why would you bother.

      “I’m charging this man with murder because he writes murder mysteries and we found a dead body within 5 miles of his house”.

      If that’s all your reasoning, you need to leave the court in shame. And if you have other reasons, why did you bring that one up you idiot?Report

  4. Avatar Glyph says:

    I am having trouble wrapping my head around how prosecutors in San Diego – which is not a tiny podunk town but is rather a reasonably-large city, where you’d expect them to have a passing knowledge of things like “rap” and “The First” – ever got this bright idea.

    Are they really this dumb? I mean, I want to believe that they somehow really *know* he’s Al Capone and they just can’t get him on anything else so they are trying this out of desperation because it’s all they’ve got, but this just seems so stupid.Report

  5. Avatar zic says:

    Of course, we do not know what the NSA dug up on him for the prosecution.

    If they haven’t dismissed already, is there any possibility that that information might play into this in any way? His phone calls and locations, where his car went (if he had one) etc. as evidence that we don’t know about?

    And if so, Blech. Double blech. But I can’t help but ask if this might be the case, @burt-likkoReport

    • Avatar morat20 in reply to zic says:

      I go back to “This is such stupid evidence that the only reasons I can think of for you to call this evidence is if (1) you had no better evidence or (2) you are a complete and total idiot at best and racist as heck at worst” because, you know, it’s stupid evidence.

      Just because they’re calling this evidence doesn’t mean they don’t have stronger evidence, but why they would use the obviously stupidly weak evidence when something stronger existed (or when “We will discuss our evidence in court” is an optional answer) is beyond me.Report

    • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to zic says:

      @zic

      Yeah, I think you’re exactly right, and I think I misunderstood @burt-likko where he said “there are other charges pending against Duncan that stand apart factually from the music, and which allege more direct and overt personal involvement with gang activity than just rapping about it.”

      Meaning, maybe he meant that there are charges other than the ones that stand only on the music that stand on other evidence, even though they may also use the music as suggested in Burt’s second paragraph.

      The issue is whether there are any charges left that do stand only on the music, or even only with the music (i.e., there is other evidence, but so little that without the music ordinarily such charges would doubtlessly be dropped). And: when the evidence that was added to the music for the charges most reliant on the music was gathered and presented to the judge.

      Also, I suppose, just whether it would be normal for a judge to make a ruling that there is not enough evidence to support a particular charge when there is enough evidence to hold the person. Maybe that latter determination is as much as a judge is ever interested in at that stage of the process.

      I guess I just broadly don’t understand how this guy has been held for eight months. He’s charged with murder, but in a nonviolent capacity. Many people would be released on bail in such a situation, I think. But maybe not. I wonder what the arguments have been regarding bail.Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to Michael Drew says:

        @michael-drew I think I’m being unclear: is there the possibility that some (or the most substantial part) of those other charges kept secret as a matter of national security; that they are classified, and so we are not privy to them? I’m just imagining here, but something along the lines of placing his cell phone at or near a murder or robbery, etc. (and with possible lyrics that accurately describe the event, too).

        I don’t think that the courts can make such charges, if they’re filed under some provisions of the Patriot Act (and other laws in the War on Terror) part of the public record. I want to know if there’s the potential for other, more weight charges, we are not be informed of? There would be no great incentive for anyone in justice to allude to this in any way; so it feels a black box, and I want to know if I’m only imagining it or fearing something actual.Report

      • That possibility exists, but the more mundane possibility also exists that they arrested him based on the music alone because they knew they could make that work for at least a few weeks, hoping and realistically knowing that they’d eventually gather enough evidence* conventionally that they wouldn’t have to hang any single charge on literally nothing more than the music.

        And the rest would then just be a CrimPro exam question.

        * But to your point, sure, it’s also entirely possible some of this evidence was developed with the help of the NSA, or even that some of it is confidential for NS reasons. I tend to doubt the latter, but it’s sure possible.Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to Michael Drew says:

        @michael-drew please don’t get me wrong here; remember, I’m married to a professional jazz musician; I’ve lived with this history and heard a lot of these stories from people first hand. I’ve friends who played Bop in NYC in the 50’s; best man at our wedding and our housemate for two years went through a lot of this kind of stuff.

        I just thought this the only plausible legal reason, and one that required frisking in this sad, sad story.Report

      • I don’t understand how you think I might be getting you wrong, @zic. I keep saying that what you suggest is entirely possible.

        What do you think I think that would have you wrong? What have I said to make you think I might think that?Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to Michael Drew says:

        @michael-drew I’m not sure you did so much as I felt that looking for a substantial reason for this might somehow suggest that I was insensitive to reality of making controversial music while being black; that I was seeking to justify it in some way.

        In 2004, I helped put on a show at a very tiny club, about 20 people in the audience, a parody of “Jesus Christ Superstar,” renamed “Jesus Christ Terrorist.” It was pretty good; too; ironic in a nice, hippy-chic way. There were also more cops around the club in their cars then there was room for people in the building; it was a fascinating display of keeping people safe from artists while not ever actually exiting your vehicle. Talked to our Town Manager about it the next day (he was a Libertarian, too), and he admitted someone higher up than local had called the forces out, presumably because of the performance name, and that it was an incredibly stupid waste of resources in an area where a normal call can take two or three hours if he cops on the other side of the county.

        Thankfully, nothing happened. No hippies busted, no rioting, no guns brandished, though I do think a good bit of weed got tossed into the puckerbrush and flushed down the toilet; I don’t remember for sure.Report

      • I could be ultimately proven wrong, but I really don’t see much of a national security angle at play here. Nothing in the criminal complaint even hints at anything like that.Report

  6. Avatar Kolohe says:

    listening to some of the subject album (warning: needless to say, really really NSFW lyrics, f words & n words abound), I’m thinking of what Jaybird said a bit earlier – they’re getting him for microaggressing while black.Report

  7. Avatar zic says:

    Tod, this is awesome.

    Report

  8. Avatar aaron david says:

    All I am gonna say is that this makes me want to just jump up and give the gov’t more power over all sorts of things that… Oh crap, I can’t even be sarcastic about it.Report

  9. Avatar greginak says:

    Great post, dumb f’ing prosecution. But to note another minor example of this kind of Huckabee has been making waves the past week or two about how horrible a parent O is for letting his kids listen to Beyonce. Stewart made the Huckster look like a chump on his show about it although that is fish and barrel territory.Report

  10. Avatar krogerfoot says:

    “It is important to note that Anslinger was not an enigma so much as a single link in a very long chain.”

    I think it might have been more of an anomaly than an enigma that he was not so much of.Report

  11. Avatar j r says:

    It is true as well that in our modern and advanced present, we can say that our true objections to rap and hip hop are contained within those certain songs that have morally indefensible messages — murder, misogyny, drugs, outlaw mentality, etc. However, this too holds up less well to historical scrutiny.

    The absurd prosecution of Tiny Doo aside,(absurd at least according to the information that I presently have; it may turn out that there is some piece of information missing from the current press reports that could change my mind), the above is the heart of the matter to me.

    About the biggest beef that I have with both the proselytizing right or left is how ahistorical their various crusades tend to be. It is easy enough to imagine that the past is the past and that we have rid ourselves of most of the prejudices that enabled the injustices of that past, easy enough to believe that this time we will get it right. As you say, however, this just does not hold up to historical scrutiny.

    Every time we decide to hand over more power to the government, more power to bureaucratic institutions, the original purpose of that decision gets seconded to bureaucratic inertia itself. Intentions hardly matter. And more importantly, every time that bureaucratic inertia does its thing, the people who bare the brunt of the harm are the people who are already marginalized. That is just the way that this game is played.Report

  12. Avatar Kazzy says:

    “The targeting of African Americans music and African American musicians — via government agency or political and social leaders — is actually as American as apple pie…”

    FTFY.Report

  13. Avatar DavidTC says:

    Anslinger probably had more to do with America’s long-standing war against cannabis than anyone else. And while he certainly had problems with the drug itself, his main issue seems to have been with the social emergence of non-whites, especially in the world of the arts and entertainment.

    You know, I was reading a book the other day, (To Say Nothing of the Dog, by Connie Willis), and a character in it argued a ‘Great Man’ theory of history, the idea that history is mostly shaped by various people. Vs. the idea that such men are merely products of their societies and if they were not there, someone else would replace them.

    This debate is entirely played for laughs in the book, which is about time travel.

    But sometimes I think the Great Man theory is literally backwards. History might actually be described better as a series of *horrible* people, with insanely stupid and destructive ideas that echo long after the person is dead.Report

  14. Avatar KatherineMW says:

    Fantastic post, Tod, thanks for writing it.

    It’s rather stunning that recent arguments over free speech focus on denouncing the idea that just because someone (usually white) has the right to say something, that doesn’t mean they should say it. Or arguing that creatively defacing bigoted ads violates free speech. Meanwhile, a black guy has been jailed for eight months and is being prosecuted for saying (or singing) something the authorities don’t like, and it’s flying completely under the radar.Report

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