Moana Jackson thinks his feelings cancel out your right to free speech

I don’t care about Moana Jackson’s feelings and I am sure that he never spares a thought for mine. One of my favourite sayings is that facts don’t care about your feelings. The minute a commentator tries to use people’s feelings as an argument I immediately turn off.

In the last few weeks, prejudice seems to have crept out of the dark corners of society again. […] In the first instance, another P?keh? man has voiced the usual tired and racist rants against M?ori, with little variation on the old colonising view of our basic inferiority.

In the second case, the noted rugby player Israel Folau reached into the same colonising-sourced rhetoric, and condemned gay people to some mysterious place called ?hell?.

[…] whether it was the old man?s racism or the rugby star?s homophobia, the debate was always framed in an unquestioning acceptance of their right of free speech.

[…] The right to free speech […] too often meant the freedom to hurt, despise, and belittle M?ori. Cartoons published a few years ago depicting fat and lazy M?ori taking advantage of free school lunches were found by the court to be objectively offensive?but protected by free speech and the fact that they weren?t offensive enough to incite a ?reasonable person? to hatred or violence against our people.

The reasonable person in the common law was for a long time described as the ?man on the Clapham omnibus?, and while that fictional being is now genderless, it is still presumed to be some amorphous P?keh?.

Rather, as the term ?a trial by a jury of one?s peers? has a default meaning, where M?ori can never be tried by a jury of M?ori peers, so the reasonableness of a cartoon or speech is judged by the standards of an invisible and unnamed P?keh?.

In the court deliberations, that invisible-ness was an unspoken given, and the question of whether reasonable M?ori would feel that the admittedly offensive cartoons incited hatred against us, was never even considered.

Freedom of speech, in effect, then became a shield for racist invective defined by those who were privileged by it, rather than those who were its objects and victims. End of quote.

Moana Jackson in his article tries and fails to build a strong argument that freedom of speech is a racist construct that protects only the descendants of white colonialists. In order to make freedom of speech all about hurting the feelings of one race and one race only, he has to ignore all the times that Maori have been able to say racist things and to express offensive opinions about pakeha because of freedom of speech. A classic example is Hone Harawira who famously called pakeha white mother f****kers and stated that he would never let his daughter marry one.

Hone Harawira.

In our universities, racist opinions are being expressed about white people (particularly white men) on a regular basis. No one is curtailing their freedom of speech or their offensive opinions. Recently a white MP Julie Anne Genter got away with being not only racist but also sexist and ageist. No one tried to silence her and she had the freedom to be as offensive as she wanted just as her critics had the freedom to criticise her words.

The fact that Moana Jackson has the freedom to write his article and to express his opinion that freedom of expression is a crock and that it is there only to protect racist white people is proof that he is wrong. No one will be dragging him into court for hate speech or for being offensive. Freedom of speech is for everybody.

Moana? in his article says that no one?s exercise of free speech should make another feel less free.” It is an ironic statement from someone who feels justified in taking away my freedom of speech in order to protect someone else’s feelings.

I may not care about his feelings but I will always support his right to express his opinions no matter how misguided or offensive I think they are. If that makes him feel less free then it sucks to be him. No one can have a robust debate about anything without risking hurting someone’s feelings.

That is the very nature of a debate.?

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