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http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,246279,00.html

Texas Mayor Proposes Ordinance to Ban the N-Word

It's one of the most reviled words in the English language, but if one Texas mayor gets his way, getting caught uttering the "N-word" will hit offenders where it hurts.

Mayor Ken Corley of Brazoria, Texas, has proposed a city ordinance that would make using the word in an offensive fashion a crime equal to disturbing the peace and punishable by a fine of up to $500.

"I would like have a ban â€" and I know that this is very aggressive and probably something that I won't be able to do â€" but I would like to see a ban on all racial slurs," Corley told FOXNews.com. "They show no purpose in this society."

The 62-year-old mayor, who is a self-described "middle-class white boy," decided to start with the N-word after watching Rev. Jesse Jackson and Rev. Al Sharpton discuss banning the word on TV after "Seinfeld" comedian Michael Richards used the word in an act last November.

"The word is not used or abused in the streets of our town; it's more, amongst the black community, as a term of endearment, OK?" Corley said. "But it is a national issue, and I would like the city of Brazoria to take a leadership role throughout the nation in banning the use of this word"

Corley polled his constituents and found "overwhelming support" for the ordinance. Brazoria, with a population of around 2,800, is an industrial city nestled about 50 miles south of Houston near the Gulf of Mexico coast. About 10 percent of the population is black.

Under the proposed Brazoria ordinance, users of the N-word would be fined only if a complaint were filed against them, thus protecting those who think they are using the word as a term of endearment.

Bishop Ricky Jones, a black minister and the head of the Living Word Fellowship Christian Center in Brazoria, "wholeheartedly" supports the ordinance and the mayor, though he doesn't agree with the "term of endearment" loophole.

"It's trying to be made a term of endearment in the black community, the way it has been used so loosely, but I for one, when I look at that word and look at the history of it, it has been used to demonize, demoralize and degrade black people as a whole."

Jabari Asim, a deputy editor at the Washington Post and author of the forthcoming book "The N Word: Who Can Say It, Who Shouldn't and Why," has traced the American arrival of the word to 1619 when a Jamestown, Va., diarist, John Rolfe, noted: "We got 20 ******s today on a Dutch man-of-war."

"That's the first recorded instance of African captives arriving to British North America and that was the word used to describe them," Asim said.

Over the last 25 years, the hip-hop community has sprinkled the word throughout its anthems.

"It's really important for people to realize that the history of the word goes so far back that recent developments in the past 20 years [of] casual use," Asim said. "There is no god higher than history and I don't think recent developments are strong enough to overcome the centuries of hatred that are attached to the word."

Brazoria's proposed ordinance is the first time an American city has tried to ban the word, though groups such as Abolish the "N" Word have lobbied for its permanent retirement, Asim said.

"Calling for societal change is one thing, but calling for legislation against speech is quite another," he said. "That's practically anti-American to say that we're going to allow the government and Uncle Sam determine how we speak to one another. It's counterintuitive to me. It's best to lead by example than by legislation."

The ordinance is on shaky ground legally because of a 1992 U.S. Supreme Court decision, R.A.V. vs. the City of St. Paul, said David Hudson, a First Amendment scholar at the First Amendment Center in Nashville, Tenn.

"Fighting words are not protected by the First Amendment, and a lot of fighting words are face to face personal insults," Hudson said. "But in 1992, in this case, the court held that selective banning of fighting words, in other words, singly out, for instance, fighting words based on race and sex, that that constituted viewpoint discrimination and violated the First Amendment.

"It's a well-intentioned effort, but it's a well-intentioned unconstitutional effort," Hudson said

A public hearing will be held Thursday, before the five-member city council decides on whether to pursue the measure. Last year, it was the first city in Texas to pass a sex-offender ordinance.
So, what say you?

Do you believe that the word ****** is protected speech?
 

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Why just that one word? What about honky, ****, cracker or any other number of derogatory terms?
What makes that one word so much more offensive than any other?
Will it be justly applied to the "gangster rappers" and street punks who use it with more than a casual regularity?

Another attempt of government trying to legislate morality.

Any 80's teens out there remember Queensryche's "Operation Mindcrime"?
 

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As I understand the 1st Amendment (we don't learn it in Con Law at emory) obscene speech actually recieves a lower level of protection (I would cite a supreme court case where they upheld the FCC's ability to censor the 7-deadly words, but I don't know the name).

But is the N-word an obscenity or a vulgarity. Prehaps.

But what worries me with stuff like this is the whole "Hate Speech" movement. There is a concerted effort by some liberals to ban racist speech because it is hate speech. It's a very horrible way to construe the 1st Amendment because it means someone is having to judge what is hate speech and what isn't and if (im)properly construed could be used to muzzle the likes of Rush, Hannity, and others.

I reccomend the columns of Mike Adams, he talks a lot about this, especially in how it is applied at college campuses.

IMO, it's either all ok or none of its ok. A right restricted is no right at all. I should have right to say what I will, no one has the right to be from form offense. However, people do have the responsibility to exercise discretion in what they say and who they say it to.
 

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viper32cm said:
As I understand the 1st Amendment (we don't learn it in Con Law at emory) . . .
:lol:

:rotfl:

That's funny, they skip at least the next two amendments as well. And to get to the next two amendments after those, you really need to take Prof. Cloud's Criminal Procedure course.

When I was an undergraduate at Georgia State, a professor introduced an article called, "Here Come the Crackers," about white students attending historically black colleges. I asked the teacher whether she would have presented the article so gleefully or enthusiastically (or at all) had the word being discussed here been substituted in place of "Crackers" and the races been reversed in the article. My question was not well received, but I still think I must have been a joy to have as a student.
 

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Malum Prohibitum said:
When I was an undergraduate at Georgia State, a professor introduced an article called, "Here Come the Crackers,"
Just so I am not misunderstood, I do not think that this term, Crackers, or any other racial term should be made illegal. That does not necessarily mean that James Madison would have thought such constitutionally protected by the First Amendment. I frankly do not know the answer to the constitutional question (the Constitution, I mean, not whatever the current Supreme Court happens to think about the issue). I think the Founders probably viewed the protection most strongly when it came to policital speech, such as criticism of the King.

My view that racist pejoratives should not be illegal regardles of the Constitutional question should not be seen as condoning such speech. I disagree strongly with many things that I do not also think should result in imprisonment.
 

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Malum Prohibitum said:
My view that racist pejoratives should not be illegal regardles of the Constitutional question should not be seen as condoning such speech. I disagree strongly with many things that I do not also think should result in imprisonment.
Our rights, as individuals, should only be curtailed when they run afoul of the basic rights of others.

No one has the right to NOT be offended by another person.

Therefore, insulting, racist speech should not be curtailed.

It's that simple to me.
 

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The Bill of Rights might as well be written on toilet paper.

It would make sense considering the way they are getting $#!^ on lately! :x
 

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mzmtg said:
Therefore, insulting, racist speech should not be curtailed.

It's that simple to me.
What about when it is incitement to riot?
 

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Incitement to riot can be a touchy thing. Notwithstanding, there are already laws against that, regardless of whether you use the N word to do it. This little local ordinance is not about that. Besides, 'Give me liberty or give me death' could be incitement to riot under the King's interpreation. As could, 'Onward Christian Soldier' in the wrong context. As could 'Black Power' ... you get my drift.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
To echo what MP said, in my learning about the First Amendment and its applicability to speech is that it was originally intended to mean that political speech would not be restricted.

But even a Federalist congress passed legislation that restricted freedom of speech/expression etc. The Sedition Act is a prime example.


Is obscene speech protected under the First Amendment? I believe so, but that is not to say that the current SCOTUS would agree with that.



I think trying to legislate what can/will cause a riot is too subjective. What may cause a riot in Compton, Ca will probably not (read: will not) cause a riot in Statesboro, Ga.

I think it is entirely too unjustifiable to fine/imprison people for the words they speak; with the explicit exception for something like yelling fire in a crowded theater. I believe that reasonable men can draw the distinction between yelling fire and yelling ******.
 

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Malum Prohibitum said:
:lol:

:rotfl:

That's funny, they skip at least the next two amendments as well. And to get to the next two amendments after those, you really need to take Prof. Cloud's Criminal Procedure course.
1st Amendment - Nothing
2nd Amendment - Shanor let me teach the class
3rd Amendment - Uhhh, no
4th Amendment - Nothing
 

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Malum Prohibitum said:
Rammstein, what about shouting in a theater in Compton?
I seem to remember a scene in a movie with a guy doing something similar to that. Except I think he interrupts a card or dice game.

I don't remember much, was laughing too hard.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Malum Prohibitum said:
Rammstein, what about shouting in a theater in Compton?
Seriously?

I still don't think that would rise to the level where state action against the yeller would be justified. He'd get beat up or worse for sure, but I believe that government has no claim to restrict speech.
 
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