Defense of Anonymous Xenophobic and Racist Statements as ‘Political’ Tarnishes First Amendment

For the second time this quarter, statements in support of Donald Trump have been found scrawled, sprayed and plastered throughout UCSD the Friday night before Tritons-to-be came to visit the campus on Triton Transfer Day. And again, the same debate raged in which the familiar and tired platitudes of the First Amendment and freedom of speech were dragged back into spotlight of social media. However, what separates this instance from the chalking over a month ago is that the “Chalkers” were caught in the act. One was even recorded commenting that the purpose of the statements was to make the students of a liberal campus be made aware of conservative political viewpoints. But this convenient distortion of their argument into a matter of free speech reflects an ignorance as to what is actually protected under free speech. This blatant attempt at antagonizing individuals, masked as political discourse, is not valid political discourse and should not be recognized as such.

While it is true that the First Amendment prevents Congress — and, in recent years, public institutions — from punishing or preventing free speech, it does not protect these individuals from private retaliation, so long as this retaliation is within the boundaries of the law. Furthermore, having the right to speak freely does not automatically justify doing so. Claiming that offended persons should therefore learn to accept or tolerate the Trump chalkers’ messages simply because their messages are protected under the First Amendment is not a valid justification; people offended by the messages of Trump followers have every right to be angry, frustrated and hurt by those statements given the context in which they are used, and they are allowed to express their anger without needing to temper themselves for the sake of respecting “free speech.”

Some students, including the chalker who was filmed, have claimed that these messages constitute valid political discourse. While it is true that the statement “Tritons for Trump,” as literally written, is not bigoted, this statement was not written in a vacuum. When these slogans are paired with statements like “Deport them all!” — which was found written in front of the Raza Resource Centro after the first incident — it is necessary to look past the “political discussion” going on and recognize the existence of an ulterior motive. One particular student critical of the initial chalkings was singled out with a statement proclaiming her support for Donald Trump’s presidency. Is the targeting of individuals by names really what constitutes valid political discourse? When messages of hate are involved and students are being targeted by name, as was the case in the recent chalkings, claims that the Trump chalkings are legitimate forms of political discourse do not hold up.

These chalkers hide behind messages that are hateful, targeting and intolerant, all the while claiming that it is in the name of heightening political discussion at UCSD. If they are truly committed to this, then why are they highlighting only the infamous parts of Trump’s political platform targeting minorities? Trump supporters should know that no one has run a presidential campaign in this nation without having some clear plan of action that didn’t just involve the persecution of Hispanics and Muslims. Trump supporters could highlight his status as a Washington outsider, a valid political concern that does not rely on bigoted messages. And surely, there are other, more effective ways to promote your politics than this “tag-and-run” method of writing statements. However, the chalkers have yet to do so and instead highlight Trump’s racist agenda under the cover of darkness. It is evident that the Trump chalkers are more focused on stirring up controversy with racist messages than actually contributing to political discussion. If this mindset is reflective of Trump’s support base at large, it does not bode well for a country that would elect such a person.

If our campus’ Trump supporters truly believe in properly endorsing their candidate, and if they wish to be taken seriously in the political forum, they should openly protest without resorting to targeting individuals or writing racist statements. This means expressing their opinions openly, clearly and in the light of day. Trump supporters should also be prepared to debate just what makes Donald Trump so enticing to them. As long as those partaking in campus chalkings rely solely on xenophobia and racism to make their statements, as long as they refrain from putting forth political reasons for endorsement and as long as they remain anonymous, such statements fail to exhibit free speech and instead tarnish it.

32 thoughts on “Defense of Anonymous Xenophobic and Racist Statements as ‘Political’ Tarnishes First Amendment

  1. TL:DR The UCSD Guardian board is filled with regressive leftists who cringe and run when people with opposing ideas express themselves. I’ll be proud and come forth, I was one of those chalkers. And you know what I learned from this experience as this was my first time doing something like this? This regressive leftist dominated campus DOES NOT respect the ideas of others that disagree with them. This campus DOES NOT want to listen to opposing view points because they know that their own argument is weak while the opposition is filled with factual information from credible sources. (Tumblr is not a source). This newspaper shows and epitomizes the regressive left mentality. You claim we chalked “racist” and “xenophobic” words; however, fail to provide ANY EVIDENCE of such words in your article. You would think that an editorial would want to be taken seriously by actually providing factual information to support the topic at hand. However, the article, like the regressive left, fails to use any supporting information and relies solely on the basis of emotions and feelings.

    My final message to the editors of the UCSD Guardian. You should all be ashamed of yourselves. Bring me one incident when Trump supporters have ever yelled over and screamed at anti-Trump people. In contrast, compare that to the thousands of cases where anti-Trump has consistently attacked, verbally and physically, Trump supporters. When did college become a breeding ground to political correctness and the inability to challenge others? This will be the first generation which will be LESS INTELLIGENT compared to the previous, because we have learned in this society that we are unable to think for ourselves.

    P.S. I wouldn’t even be surprised if this comment was removed since it disagrees with your intentions and you have nothing to counter this. Shame on you.

  2. “But sure, disregard the opinions of the students who felt genuinely threatened by these comments.”

    Okay, I will disregard the opinions of those who felt (operative word) genuinely (chortle) threatened by comments! Not actual words spoken by a person but threatened by chalk! I will do this because they need to grow up. You demand they stand by their beliefs yet you boycott, disrupt, cry, riot, and cower in “safe spaces” when a conservative comes to speak. You all should be ashamed of yourselves.

  3. I love how people here have twisted the line about the chalkings antagonizing the student body into a seemingly harmless complaint. No, UCSD students are not being just ~whiny~ and ~childish~ about political discourse. There’s a difference between differing political opinions and making thinly veiled threats to the latino students who also attend the insitution. (If you didn’t know – comments like “The Mexicans will pay!” were also found next to the pro-Trump markings.) But sure, disregard the opinions of the students who felt genuinely threatened by these comments. You’re able to stay “above” this because you’re not directly affected by the chalkings. There are students whose safety was threatened, including the one student whose name was singled out because she disagreed with the pro-Trump graffiti. If as an “adult” – as so many of you put it – you cannot see how such behavior would terrorize certain student groups on campus, than you lack empathy. I’m finding it hard to believe that some of you may be actual adults? I heartily recommend some very deep personal reflection before you go around infantilizing everyone who disagrees with you.

    1. You seem to want to judge all Trump supporters by the actions of a very few far fringe supporters. We should now judge all lefties by the actions of the uttermost fringe members of the left. Hence you want police murdered in the street, all whites put in concentration camps, all wealth appropriated by the state, all dissent from the left wing agenda banned, people forced to stop using coal, oil, gas, nuclear power, and most modern conveniences (except special lefties of course). Be careful about demanding that an entire movement be judged by it’s most extreme member, the left has much more to hide here than the right.

    2. If people are being “threatened” by what we chalked, then honestly, get over yourselves. The chalking was in direct support of Trump. Which means the deportation of ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS. People continuously bring up the Latinx community as the one being attacked. However, why would they feel attacked or threatened when the message is clearly targeted at ALL ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS. Which guess, what also means the illegal Asian immigrants like China (3-4%). The fact that the Latinx community is feeling threatened is because they want to feel special about themselves. Guess what, they aren’t.

      “Mexico will pay” is the policy. There is nothing racist or threatening about it. If you’re a Mexican who is an American citizen, why would you even feel threatened by that? Why would you even care? You live in America, you should feel happy that another country will pay for costs that our country would have otherwise payed for, considering America literally pays for everything and everyone in this world.

      “There are students whose safety was threatened” In what way is anyone threatened? OMG we want illegal immigrants deported? How does that even come close to someone being threatened? If you’re an illegal immigrant, guess what? You’re a criminal based upon federal law and border security. So yeah, you should feel threatened because you don’t have a right to be in this country when many others actually took the time to go through the process.

      Get over yourself.

  4. Because I’m offended deeply by the absurdity of the ignorance and moral and intellectual dishonesty emanating from this editorial board, I propose a class action lawsuit from the taxpayers who are forced into supporting this certifiably rabid fascism via loans and grants. These little children are purely embarrassing.

    1. Embarrassing? Have you looked at yourself lately? Proposing a class action lawsuit over a college newspaper article? Now, THAT’s embarrassing.

    1. Dale,

      I’m an old grad and a conservative. I couldn’t agree more with you.

      Happy to see UCSD still produces some thinkers.

  5. “But this convenient distortion of their argument into a matter of free speech reflects an ignorance as to what is actually protected under free speech. This blatant attempt at antagonizing individuals, masked as political discourse, is not valid political discourse and should not be recognized as such.

    While it is true that the First Amendment prevents Congress — and, in recent years, public institutions — from punishing or preventing free speech, it does not protect these individuals from private retaliation, so long as this retaliation is within the boundaries of the law. Furthermore, having the right to speak freely does not automatically justify doing so.”

    ***

    Clearly J.S. Mill is no longer read on our campus any longer… ‘Let There Be Light’ indeed!

    “First, if any opinion is compelled to silence, that opinion may, for aught we can certainly know, be true. To deny this is to assume our own infallibility. Secondly, though the silenced opinion be an error, it may, and very commonly does, contain a portion of truth; and since the general or prevailing opinion on any subject is rarely or never the whole truth, it is only by the collision of adverse opinions that the remainder of the truth has any chance of being supplied. Thirdly, even if the received opinion be not only true, but the whole truth; unless it is suffered to be, and actually is, vigorously and earnestly contested, it will, by most of those who receive it, be held in the manner of a prejudice, with little comprehension or feeling of its rational grounds. And not only this, but, fourthly, the meaning of the doctrine itself will be in danger of being lost, or enfeebled, and deprived of its vital effect on the character and conduct: the dogma becoming a mere formal profession, inefficacious for good, but cumbering the ground, and preventing the growth of any real and heartfelt conviction, from reason or personal experience.”

    J.S Mill, “On Liberty”, 1859.

    1. Wow, 1859! You know what else was in vogue then? Owning other human beings! Treating women as lesser beings! Rampant imperialism! Actually believing that certain races were superior to others! Good thing it’s 2016 now and we know better. Oh wait, what is that? You want to let racism slide in the name of free speech?

      No wonder you were quoting things from 1859!

      1. So when Ben Franklin discovered electricity in the mid 18th century, it doesn’t count because slavery existed then? And why don’t you use your real name?

  6. What garbled, pathetic writings coming from a college editorial board. That this absurd harebrained imbecilic laughable mindless puerile fatuous empty and futile editorial comes from a college newspaper is a blot on the California educational system.

    1. Have you tried writing on your own without the help of a thesaurus? Your absurd harebrained imbecilic laughable mindless puerile fatuous empty and futile comment is a blot on this comments section.

  7. How does a UC editorial board get the First Amendment so wrong? Shouldn’t you understand its application better than anyone else on campus?

  8. Editorial Board,
    You little, sensative Snowflakes may want to look into Virginia v Black before you throw a temper tantrum about “Trump 2016” or “Deport Them All” chalk marks

    Silly little children

  9. What a sad and pathetic group of individuals
    YOu actually make people want to vote for Trump
    This will make me take very serious consoderation to hiring any UCSD grad
    It seem that you are not very bright and to fragile and self-entitled to provide value

  10. Are there really no qualification in journalism or common sense or actual education required to be on the UCSD Guardian Editorial Board ? What ignorant gibberish !
    When and if these Snowflakes apply any of their lunacy to any supporters of BLM or Anti Trump folk who have spewed ACTUAL Racist Hate speech rants , then they may have justification for this Liberal rubbish , but they still will be spewing vomit

    1. Trigger warning: Coddled youth may feel faint.
      Sorry, I’m also a liberal and likewise consider this opinion nonsensical. “Deport them all,” by the way, would also be free speech, however odious the sentiment. “Kill them all” would not. It is a vile threat that would bring law enforcement. Clear?

      As is often noted in this context, the first amendment protects the speech we hate. It’s why you’re still able to read the pornography you may perhaps have been distracted by when you wrote this misguided editorial. (Just giving you an out. You’re welcome.) Large numbers of people wanted it banned once upon a time. A small few still do from divergent perspectives. I’m sure others have already gone through the litany of exemplars so I’ll return to my point that even a pointy headed liberal academic can have an “aiy-yay-yaiy” moment reading this dribble. Trump is already a threat to our nation’s liberal values without our preemptively doing some of this damage ourselves.

  11. Trigger warning… This post will contain suicidal annotations.

    The people who wrote this article clearly don’t have the emotional fortitude to survive the real world… If I was so fragile and so hurt by words, or if I needed a trigger warning for anything… I’d kill myself

    1. Oh no, not the “real world”! As we all know, human beings suffering from mental illness depression are living in a “fake world”. As are people of color who feel unsafe by white supremacist rhetoric. They are all fake. In fact this website itself does not exist. The computer you use to type up your comment is simply a fragment of your imagination. We are all but meaningless fragments of thought floating in an aspic of time and space.

      You are the only Real(TM) person living in a Real(TM) world.

      1. And yet white supremacists are made to feel threatened and isolated by such polemics. You owe them an apology.

  12. I have to admit that I did not read the editorial before I initially posted. For that I was wrong.

    Now that I have, I believe my initial comment was too tame.

    This editorial all boils down to two things.

    1. People’s feelings were hurt and they were force to seek out a Safe Space.
    2. Trump is a bigot, sexist, homophobe, and we don’t like him.

    There was also a bunch of rambling about supposed open discourse. But you can bet your very last dollar that if the Trump supporters sought to bring in a high profile Trump speak, or even trump himself:

    1. The Administration would deny permission.
    2. Protesters would blockade the venue.
    3. Protesters would attend and shout down the speaker.

    Leftists, especially those at American universities, don’t do open discourse unless it supports their political narrative.

    So, once again, sorry for not reading first. I’m glad I did and I caught the myriad of inane, childish, and just plain wrong statements.

  13. Epic FAIL.

    There is a reason these people are “students”. It’s because they are young and ignorant.

    1. Agreed. I find this whole newspaper quite antagonizing, in fact. Close it now.

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