Brash backs Mutu’s right to speak

Maori Studies professor Margaret Mutu’s call to limit white immigrants because they bring white  supremacist attitudes has understandably raised the ire of many people.

Some of them have called for her to be silenced.

Act leader Don Brash is not one of those. He does not in anyway support what she says but has spoken out in support of her  right to say it.

Can you imagine him getting support like that from her, or anyone else on the other side of the race debate,  if he made what they deemed to be grossly offensive statements?

13 Responses to Brash backs Mutu’s right to speak

  1. Andrei says:

    Some of them have called for her to be silenced.

    Is this true?

    People have wondered whether it is appropriate for a person who holds her views to be holding the position she does as an authoritative voice in education. And a position paid for by the long suffering taxpayer.

    As a gedankenexperiment imagine what might happen if a leading academic publicly stated that homosexuality was a mental illness and that homosexuals should not have a voice in public discourse.

    Such a one would be gone by lunchtime I’d posit.

  2. homepaddock says:

    “Some of them have called for her to be silenced.

    Is this true? ”

    Some have called for her to be sacked, some have said she should stop saying these things.

  3. Redbaiter says:

    I do not think so. I think the outrage is that an academic in a position to influence the young and impressionable holds such racist views, and is employed by an institution that has regulations that clearly prohibit such speech.

    I do not recall one comment saying she should be silenced.

  4. homepaddock says:

    Isn’t saying she shouldn’t say these things the same as saying she should be silenced?

  5. Andrei says:

    Isn’t saying she shouldn’t say these things the same as saying she should be silenced?

    Nope – she’s free to say what she wants. she isn’t free from the consequences though.

    There are huge double standards here and hypocrisy.

    We all keep our mouths shut from time to time for reasons of polity and politeness. To preserve harmony.

    Academia is a really sheltered world – tenure is a wonderful thing. nice salary, job security that most people can only dream of.

    But it is as rigid or more rigid in its speech codes as anywhere else

  6. homepaddock says:

    Nope – she’s free to say what she wants. she isn’t free from the consequences though.”

    But some people are saying she shouldn’t be saying what she wants.

    I think she is wrong but freedom of speech isn’t restricted only to those who are right.

  7. Andrei says:

    I don’t think anybody is saying she can’t say what she wants (freedom of speech) but what they are saying is that she is bringing Auckland University into disrepute.

    If she were working for a corporate, say, and ignited the controversy she has she would be gone burger – fact

  8. Andrei says:

    Real world example

    A few months ago two girls beat up a transvestite in a MacDonalds in the USA.

    An employee filmed this on his cell phone and posted it on YOUTUBE (Freedom of Speech)

    What do you suppose MacDonalds did with this employee?

    And did they violate his freedom of speech by so doing?

  9. homepaddock says:

    Closer to home, Andrei, Alastair Thompson, lost his job after bringing his employer into disrepute.

  10. Andrei says:

    Mais oui! I should have thought of that example and of course in his case his crime was to utter an unpalatable truth in an unmentionable way.

    Oh the perils and pitfalls of modern life outside academia

  11. David Winter says:

    We don’t have tenure in NZ. (I think Professors actually get less notice than other permanent staff). But academic freedom is written into the law and applies to staff and students.

    What Mutu said was stupid and wrong, but the idea that we should fire academics because they say something unpopular or offensive to some people is a bit chilling.

  12. David Winter says:

    or anyone else on the other side of the race debate, if he made what they deemed to be grossly offensive statements?

    Well.. yeah. I’m on the other side of the ‘race debate’ that Don Brash thinks we need to have and he can say what he wants. As long as others can point out how idiotic his statements are without being accused of trampling on his free speech.

  13. Andrei says:

    What Mutu said was stupid and wrong, but the idea that we should fire academics because they say something unpopular or offensive to some people is a bit chilling.

    I know where you are coming from David – we do need to avoid the Trofim Lysenkos and this in theory provides protection from that.

    The trouble is modern Universities (and not only in NZ) have become degree mills inhabited by Trofim Lysenkos.

    I value scholarship more than most my friend but we are passing off double talk as scholarship in this modern age and it needs to be called for what it is that is BS

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