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The right to express yourself must work both ways

When it comes to expressing yourself, I am something of an absolutist. Unless said expressions involve violence, the default position must be in favour of allowing a person to do as they please. And so I found this interesting:

The film, My Freedom, My Right, made in partnership with the youth charity Fixers, features Clarke reciting a poem that recalls comments made to her because of her niqab. She also included other young people from marginalised communities, such as under-represented ethnic minorities who, she said, “rarely have their struggles highlighted in the media.

“I made the video to prove a point – I wanted to highlight that people who go through struggles and discrimination every day, but are rarely talked about by the media.”

She hopes the video will stop people “judging a book by its cover” and instead “treat people as individuals”.

Except that last line is completely wrong.

If a person wears a hijab… or a Nazi armband… I will indeed judge that particular book by its cover. The individual who dresses thus is not making a fashion statement, they are making a political statement (and Islam is a set of political values). Unlike a person’s race or national origin, a hijab… or a Nazi armband… tells me something profound, because it informs me about that particular person’s world view and their choices.

It is absurd to expect such a thing not to matter to others. If I am to tolerate a person wearing a hijab… or a Nazi armband… I must be equally free to non-violently express myself by stating my view that the things they represent are not just fine by me, and I think poorly of the people who wear them.

I support Joni Clarke’s right to wear what she wants, and to follow whatever crackpot religion she wants. And I hope Joni Clarke is equally tolerant and supports my right to have nothing to do with her, and have complete disdain for her political/religious values. I do not need or even want her acceptance or respect, I only want her tolerance, because that is all I am offering in return. But unless it is reciprocal, I am not even offering that, because tolerance of intolerance is cowardice (not to mention suicidal).

Ms. Clarke could of course find far fewer dissenting views from hers were she to live somewhere else. And as living under Sharia would not be a problem for her… well… just a suggestion, but I hear property in Raqqah is far less expensive than London.

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22 comments to The right to express yourself must work both ways

  • Regional

    There’s a footballer in Astraya who pushes his indigenous victim hood aggressively and while a darling of the ABC/MSM the tolerance of football followers has worn thin and he is ‘booed’.
    The ABC/MSM shout racism but the other indigenous players are applauded.

  • Paul Marks

    Quite so Perry.

    People have the right to dress up as Islamists (or as members of the KKK or whatever) if they wish to do so.

    Indeed this is useful – as it shows who has evil beliefs (and should be avoided).

    The only ones I have sympathy for are the ones who have had tattoos and have later changed their beliefs.

    Like that poor chap on “Banshee”.

  • Laird

    Well said, Perry.

    We all make snap judgments based on initial impressions. It’s human nature, a survival technique evolved over millennia. If we’re not bigoted, we allow ourselves to overcome that initial impression as (and if) circumstances warrant. But if someone is going to make political statements with his fashion choices (a Che Guevara t-shirt, an ugly tattoo, a hijab, whatever) he should expect that statement to be accepted at face value.

    I always make an initial judgment about a book by its cover, at least to the point of deciding whether to read the flyleaf or the first few pages. Doesn’t everyone?

  • rxc

    I think this ia part of a thread in feminism related to men who ogle owmen on the street. They complain that men look at them like sex objects, and think that they should be able to stop this behavior, even when it is not accompanied by any obviously rude behavior, such as a catcall, whistle, or a touch. They consider the look itself to be rude, just like staring at someone is rude.

    One discussion in particular stands out to me – a woman friend who was attractive and dressed quite well did not want men on the street to look at her. I asked her why she dressed well and kept herself in good shape if she did not want people to look at her, and the repsonse was that she did it for herself, and expected to keep it to herself, even though she took this appearance out in public.

    It seems to me that if you didn’t want people to take notice of you, you would make yourself appear a certain way that blends into the background of how other people appear. Typical clothes, shoes, hair, and makeup, maybe a bit heavier in the US than in the EU, no backpack or purse that would stand out, etc. this will make you “modest”.

    If you look and dress like a fashion model, or have purple-spiked hair, or wear a niqab in western society, or wear something that proclaims your political beliefs to the world, then people will take notice and you should expect them to do so. This sort of behavior will NOT be modest.

  • Lee Moore

    Sure, so long as your choice is a free one. But if you are intimidated into wearing clothes that your violent father, uncle, brothers or neighbours prefer you to wear, your clothes don’t tell us what you believe – beyond that you believe that you’d prefer to keep acid out of your face, or to avoid gang rape for dressing immodestly.

    No doubt Ms Clarke’s choice is perfectly free. I don’t think we can be confident that the same can be said for everyone, even in this “free” country.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Actually it was quite freeing to realize, sometime in my early thirties, that catcalls and whistles from the construction workers half a block away constituted a compliment and something of a sense of fun — contrary to the teaching up with which I grew that such behavior was unseemly, insulting, and threatening: the behavior of bullies or those with no good on their minds. In this case I waved at the fellers and went on about my business, and they did likewise.

    It does depend on the circumstances, of course.

    As a matter of fact, when boys are brought up not to do that stuff and girls are brought up to be wary of those who behave that way, doesn’t that help to keep adolescent hormones from taking control? It seems likely to me. Just the same, I daresay somewhere north of 99% of the construction workers (at least — it seems to be more prevalent behavior in their culture, or really their on-the-job culture) are pussies in real life, although some might always have an eye out to score. But I really just don’t believe most men are rapists in thought (as opposed specifically to certain occasions of, um, “fantasy”), let alone deed.

    Touching, except by genuine accident, is in another category altogether. I’ve been there too. Ugh.

    But with all that as a caveat, let me register general agreement with all.

  • Runcie Balspune

    I think Perry’s point is sound, if you dress in the costume of an ideology known for its repressive and disrespectful views of non-adherents, then you are going to get a negative reaction and be treated like the supremacist bigot you are.

    She also included other young people from marginalised communities, I’m not sure “other” is the right word here, her chosen beliefs are hardly marginalised in this country, in fact, marginalisation is mandated by her own accepted doctrine. deliberately, in examples like wearing anti-social clothing and openly separating from the rest of the community, and then expecting, nay, demanding, that the rest acquiesce. The irony is that in countries where her belief is in the majority are as far as you can get from diversity and tolerance.

    As Perry says, in reality tolerance goes both ways, but the logic of her bizarre belief system dictates it only goes one way.

  • Mary Contrary

    Perry –

    Yes.

    The End.

  • Cristina

    We are discussing about judging the book for its cover. The professional whiners, as this Clarke person, do not care one iota about us doing so. She is using our own idiocy to score another point in the clash of civilizations. She is working tirelessly to make us feel guilty because we don’t see her beyond the rag in which she is wrapped about. She knows us well indeed.

  • llamas

    I would like to see Ms Clarke (or someone similarly minded) wander down a street in Qatar or Saudi in a short skirt and halter top, or wearing a gay pride T-shirt. I think she might learn a sharp lesson about ‘judging a book by its cover’, and perhaps, hopefully, even come to see how fortunate she is to be playing out her silly, look-at-me pantomime in a country with a general level of tolerance for the ‘other’ that is about million times better than just-about any place else on Earth.

    ‘Marginalized’, my chrome-plated ass. Some poor kid being tossed off a high building to his death for being effeminate, or having his hand cut off for smoking, or being sold into slavery for being of the ‘wrong’ religion – that’s ‘marginalized’. What she is complaining of is less than a flea-bite in the big scheme of things. Poseur/Tosser. Set phasers to ‘ignore’.

    llater,

    llamas

  • One discussion in particular stands out to me – a woman friend who was attractive and dressed quite well did not want men on the street to look at her. I asked her why she dressed well and kept herself in good shape if she did not want people to look at her, and the repsonse was that she did it for herself, and expected to keep it to herself, even though she took this appearance out in public.

    Maybe you should tell her to enjoy it while it lasts. She might not like men looking at her now, but she’ll like it a lot less in a few years when they stop looking.

  • Patrick Crozier

    Perry,

    Quite. I cannot think of anything to add. Except that initial assumptions (that can be changed in the face of new evidence) are not the same as prejudices (which cannot).

  • Johnnydub

    Re Tim:

    “She might not like men looking at her now, but she’ll like it a lot less in a few years when they stop looking.”

    Even chronic arseholes like Jessica Valenti notice this:

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jul/20/catcall-culture-feminism-jessica-valenti

  • CaptDMO

    JNC
    “As a matter of fact, when boys are brought up not to do that stuff and girls are brought up to be wary of those who behave that way, doesn’t that help to keep adolescent hormones from taking control?”
    Um…NO!
    It CAN garner astonishing resentment against those who try impose their “morals” though.
    And of course, those “repressed” behaviors will likely rear their ugly heads in ways REALLY deemed undesirable, by those “challenged” with the natural selection process.
    Back to basic biology, “child” psychology, and “World Culture “Studies”-the last 4000 years” with you!

  • Schrodinger's Dog

    Llamas: “Set phasers to ‘ignore’.”

    Love it! 🙂

  • Julie near Chicago

    Capt,

    “It CAN garner … resentment….”

    No doubt. So can just about any other expectations of children and adolescents; that depends on the person and in particular whether he or she can see justification for the expectation. This is quite clear to anyone who has reared “willful” offspring.

    And, of course, on how good his or her impulse control is.

  • Thailover

    Perry, I’ve always found it, er…uh, “interesting” that Muslims play the victim card when they’re not afforded blind tolerance and respect that they not earned when they, in return, offer non-muslims neither tolerance nor respect.

    https://youtu.be/GCXHPKhRCVg
    A word to rioting Muslims, Pat Condell, youtube.

  • Thailover

    Personally, I think what needs to go by the wayside is the idea of “tolerance”. I like people I like, and for a reason. I dislike people I dislike, and for a reason. Pretending otherwise is to lie, either actively or by omission. The truth isn’t (politically) correct. When the truth is not correct, then “tolerant” people are agitating for us all to live a complicit lie.
    Not harassing others isn’t “tolerance”, it’s to respect the concept of rights itself, and to remain within the confines of reasonable civil law. When Adolph Hitler declared war on the US, on Dec 11, 1941, we didn’t “tolerate” it. We joined the Allied Forces in their efforts to combat demonstrable evil, and we eventually shoved a metaphorical shoe up his Nazi ass, and deservedly so. I really don’t give a damn about Hitler’s childhood traumas or his personal battles with anger management. Fuck Hitler to hell and back. Oh look, I’m being intolerant of a mass murdering psychopath with delusions of conquering the planet with the use of firearms and ovens.

    ‘If someone’s pummeling your cheek, invite them to pummel the other cheek also.’ Uh, not only no, but fuck no.
    Not today, not ever. Sorry.

    “Tolerance” and free speech are often at odds. How is it that I’m supposed to pander to the feelings of religious zealots, known for extreme violence around the entire planet, and whose political views are indistinguishable from the Nazis, when they in turn can barely muster tolerance for our mere existence, no matter what we do or say? I and you are existential insults to Islam. Let’s admit it.

    I tell you what PC police, you can accuse me of intolerance and I’ll consider it possibly a worthwhile complaint when you in turn show some balls and accuse the KORAN of intolerance and of promoting abuse when it instructs muslim husbands to beat their wives should they “fear” she “may” disobey the husband’s arbitrary dictates some time in the future. (Koran, 4:34). Punishing your wife for crimes she hasn’t yet committed…I’ll respect that when imaginary hell freezes over.

  • Nicholas (Self-Sovereignty) Gray

    Got you Thailover! The Nazis just wanted to rule the whole planet for the benefit of the German bloodlines, and weren’t worried about what you believed. The muslims want to rule the whole planet, And don’t want you to convert to Islam as they would then not be able to tax you, or work you to death! Their philosophies are completely different!

  • Personally, I think what needs to go by the wayside is the idea of “tolerance”. I like people I like, and for a reason. I dislike people I dislike, and for a reason. Pretending otherwise is to lie, either actively or by omission.

    Then you do not understand what tolerance means. You do not need to tolerate people you like, you only need to tolerate people you do not like.

    The truth isn’t (politically) correct. When the truth is not correct, then “tolerant” people are agitating for us all to live a complicit lie.
    Not harassing others isn’t “tolerance”

    Nope, that is not correct. Not harassing others is indeed “tolerance”. It is accepting that other people can believe cockeyed things without you getting in their face unless they get in yours.

    If a Muslim says “you must tolerate the fact I am a Muslim”, I will reply “I will, but only if you tolerate the fact I am not a Muslim”. Because if he will not, then neither will I. If he seeks to use force and law (but I repeat myself) against me because I am an atheist, I will use and support the use of force against him.

    And if Muslim says “I will tolerate the fact you are an atheist provided you tolerate and respect the fact I am a Muslim”, I will reply, “I am prepared to tolerate the fact you are a Muslim, but I do not and will not respect it. In fact I will continue to says disdainful things about your religion if the subject comes up. So unless you want to hear that I think about the prophet Mohammed, you would be wise not to bring the subject up or hang around where you can hear me and my friends discussing the topic.”

    Tolerance =/= Respect.

    Respect is what the PC crowd are demanding. And that is not on offer. If it is reciprocated, tolerance yes, but respect no.

  • mikee

    When there is a topless bar in Mecca, I’ll accept that the Muslims are tolerant. Until then, I’m forced to use those in Western Civilization.

  • Tedd

    I wanted to highlight that people who go through struggles and discrimination every day, but are rarely talked about by the media.

    After some consideration I came to the conclusion that Ms. Clarke is right. The media spends relatively little time talking about these so-called marginalized groups. They’re too busy talking about how nobody in the media talks about these so-called marginalized groups.