The PJ Tatler

Speech Totalitarian: Professor Craig Santos Perez at U of Hawaii

Yesterday, I had this post announcing a lawsuit filed in Guam on behalf of a white retired Air Force officer who was not allowed to register to vote in a certain Guam election because of his race.  Major Dave Davis (Ret.) regularly writes articles for the Marianas Variety which oppose the racially discriminatory election law.  The election law limits participation in the election to “native inhabitants” or descendants thereof.  It is similar to the unconstitutional grandfather clauses of the old south. 

It has been rather amazing watching some on Guam respond to the lawsuit in ways wholly unfamiliar with this history, or even the results prong of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.  Simply put, Section 2 makes illegal any laws which might not racially discriminate on their face (eg. “Native Inhabitants”) but have the statistical effect of racial discrimination (few if any “native inhabitants” happen to be white, or even black).   Some advocates of the racial discrimination on Guam seem to have no comprehension of the results test of the Voting Rights Act.  Fine.

But what has been especially surprising is the emergence of Speech Totalitarians the likes of which we rarely encounter on the mainland.  Consider Taxpayer Supported University of Hawaii Professor Craig Santos Perez.  (Biography and contact information here.)  Santos responds to a column by Dave Davis which criticizes the Guam law barring him from registering to vote in a fashion that would make Che proud:

People who support colonization are as dangerous to humanity as people who support racism, slavery, poverty, genocide, gender discrimination, homophobia, and other hatreds. Writing which supports colonization is “colonial speech.” Colonial speech is hate speech.

The editors actually believe hate speech is good for us: “Each of our columnists has their opinions on a wide spectrum of issues, and the more viewpoints we receive, the better it is for our readers.”

How is reading a column that opposes decolonization better for readers, especially when many of your readers are the people being colonized? When I read the colonial speech in your newspaper, I don’t feel better for it; in fact, I feel disempowered, demeaned, and disrespected.

“Dangerous to humanity.”  We’ve seen this sort of stuff before.  Professor Perez doesn’t want the newspaper to publish any opposition to the racially discriminatory election law, and his warning that the plaintiff is “dangerous to humanity” sounds ominously familiar.  Humanity has rarely suffered from people who seek the law to apply equally to everyone, as Davis has done by filing the lawsuit in Guam.  To the contrary, history reveals the true dangers to humanity come in a quite distinct form, and wiping out speech some find disagreeable ranks high on the actual list of “dangers to humanity.”  That Professor Craig Santos Perez, zealous opponent of free speech, teaches in a taxpayer funded American university should concern us far more than the editorial advocating for equal rights published by a retired Air Force officer.

Not surprisingly, his biography indicates Santos is a Ford Foundation fellow.