"Theoretical" Racism is STILL Racism


“First-amendment-protected speech” is everything you say every day unless you like to make death threats or hire people to commit crimes. “How’s the weather” is first amendment protected speech.

We would not be having this conversation if his “first amendment protected speech” was loudly detailing his sex life in front of the teachers or if he was displaying his artwork that depicted realistic grizzly scenes of dismembered bodies. Those would be first amendment protected speech, but it would also be a damn obvious reason why you wouldn’t bring school groups to his farm anymore.

It’s not just racism that’s protected by the first amendment.

But that’s how it looks to an outsider. Honestly, whenever people bring up the first amendment it is pretty much guaranteed we are talking about racist speech. It’s getting to be a dog whistle.

You already know that there are things that a person could say - things that are not illegal and that could not be made illegal because of the first amendment - that would be completely justifiable reasons for the school to stop going to their business. The only confusion comes from the belief that racism is a special protected category of speech. That’s malware the racists have implanted in your head. Delete it.



Thanks for engaging constructively, I appreciate it.

Let’s say his side hobby was in fact producing artwork that was depicting realistic grisly scenes of dismembered bodies. He then convincingly makes the case that this was a compartmentalized and separate part of his life – not something shown on the field trips! – and it doesn’t affect the way that he runs his farm or his ability to docent field trips whatever educational purposes. Well, then I’d say the school should be okay with this.

It’s basically impossible, in contrast, to make the case that being visibly racist does not affect his ability to be a fair educator.

Or if he is regaling the teachers with tales of his sexual escapades, that makes continued field trips to his farm equally impossible. At first blush, I’d say this misbehavior is an even clearer firing offense than online broadsides about “feminazis” and “black supremacy” and whatnot. But on reflection really they’re equally bad.

Another thought experiment – let’s say that we weren’t talking about a racist field-trip-docent, but a racist teacher. That teacher would be out on his or her ass immediately. Even a tenured teacher would and should be – the tenure system is designed to protect unpopular opinion, not repugnant opnion.

Okay. So the government observing your first-amendment privileges does not mean that the government has to hire you for an ongoing or episodic government job. This may mean that in periods where standards are out-of-whack – try getting a job with the FBI as a “known communist” during the height of McCarthy’s Red Scare – there will be people unfairly victimized by this principle. But if we work constructively to refine and correct and scrub out past prejudices – to continuing bending the moral arc of the world towards justice – that heals things.



As we’ve explained to you, Mr. Riley is free to speak and act as he wishes, and he’s doing so. Accordingly, neither the CUSD nor any other government agency, nor the general public is obligated to patronize Mr. Riley’s business.

No one is being victimized, and no one is having his or her rights curtailed.


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