Is Standing Up for Your Beliefs Only for the Privileged?

On October 9, 2017, ESPN suspended Jemele Hill, a host of the sports network, for this tweet:

This tweet was addressing Dallas Cowboys owner, Jerry Jones’ statement that the players would not play if they “disrespected the flag.”  However, less than a month ago Hill was under fire for a tweet that declared Donald Trump a “white supremacist.” Many felt that she should have been fired following this tweet. Hill then offered a public apology where ESPN accepted her apology. Now she is in hotter water for her choice of words. 

ESPN states that she was suspended for a second violation of their social media guidelines.

    However, this is not just another isolated incident. Looking at the circumstances reminds us that Colin Kaepernick was not even signed to another football team after kneeling for the national anthem as a protest of police brutality.

    The first amendment promises the freedom of speech, but cases like these make you wonder exactly who that promise is made to. It seems that when people of color choose to exercise this amendment, they are often persecuted for it. Despite being direct and non-violent, any criticism from people of color to the general society, media, or government seem to be viewed as “disruptive” and “unprofessional”.

                                                                         The Daily Show with Trevor Noah 

Yet we see people like Tomi Lahren and even the President of the United States, Donald Trump, do it all of the time.

Tomi Lahren, a former host of The Blaze, is known for her outlandish statements that always seemed to criticize topics pertaining to minorities or liberalism. Some of Lahren's  statements include generalizing that any black person without a weapon is trying very hard to obtain one, and criticizing Beyonce for acknowledging police brutality. She also stated that she is "A Republican who can buy her own womanly things", and therefore planned parenthood should have less funding. Tomi Lahren appeared on the view in March of 2017, where she made some comments that cost her the position on The Blaze. Not that it posed a problem, because Lahren is now able to share her views on Fox News which is an even bigger platform.

    Despite being President of the United States, Donald Trump is no stranger to social media or controversial topics. Trump is known for tweeting inappropriate statements all throughout the day, including when he addressed the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as “Rocket Man.”


                                                                                    Donald Trump’s Twitter


    Why are these examples of freedom of speech, but Jemele Hill’s tweets garner a suspension? This shows a major issue in our society and political system. Speaking up for what you believe in should not only be reserved for a segment of the population.

    Does this mean that as a person of color or a minority that you should not exercise your first amendment or the right to protest? No, it doesn't. If anything it means the opposite. This shows that people are noticing the issues within our society and can no longer ignore the injustices. Continue to stand up for what you believe in, but do it in conjunction with your political rights, such as voting. Know who your local representatives are and be aware and informed in your community.

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