A uniformed police officer told members of the University of Delaware’s chapter of Young Americans for Liberty not to allow classmates to draw phallic symbols on its “free-speech ball” because drawings of penises are “meant to provoke” “hate” much like “a swastika’ or “the n-word.”
“Drawing a penis, or a swastika, or the n-word on there — what is that?” the officer asks in a video of the confrontation, posted by YAl. “All it does is open up . . . you know, hate . . . I think it’s just meant to provoke.”
The entire point of the “free speech ball,” of course, was to open discussions about free speech and its limits. When a student in the video pointed this out, the officer insisted that he was only interfering for their own benefit:
“There’s some groups on campus where if they see something that they don’t like, they’re going to, you know, be upset and there’s not really going to be a discussion,” he said. “It’s just gonna be they’re hurt, they’re offended, and they want something done about it.”
#share#Well, the officer certainly has a point with his second clause. “Offended” students these days do seem to always “want something done about” whatever it is that’s offended them — whether that speech is protected or not.
Thankfully, however, the officer did clarify that the students were not formally in trouble for being seen with a beach ball with a penis drawn on it — but the fact that he’d found this worthy of his intervention in the first place really does speak volumes about the state of speech on campuses.
#related#Now, you may not like penises, but I think we can at least all agree that they’re not as bad as swastikas. What’s more, making such a ridiculous comparison is not only stupid, but also harmful. After all, if everything is “offensive,” then nothing is. Complaints about actually offensive things — like, you know, that “n-word” the cop talked about — will certainly lose their gravity if we start placing them on the same level of evil as a picture of an organ.