Ann Coulter is a racist, a bully and a fame whore. She makes inappropriate comments which are ignorant and intolerant.
After 9/11 she said Islamic countries should be invaded, their leaders should be killed and all Muslims should convert to Christianity. She has, in the past, made sexist political comments such as, “If we took away women’s right to vote, we’d never have to worry about another Democrat president.” She also said once that Canada is lucky the United States allows them to “exist on the same continent.”
Hopefully most people can see that this woman lacks the ability to provide anything close to realistic political insight. A bunch of University of Ottawa students definitely got that memo.
During a recent lecture at the University of Western Ontario, Coulter said Arabs should ride around on “flying carpets” rather than take planes and then suggested taking a camel as another alternative. She said this to a 17-year-old student.
Coulter was scheduled to speak at the U of O Tuesday March 23, but she cancelled her speech because organizers allegedly feared protesters would get out of hand and become violent. Video of the protesting students show them yelling and waving placards; they seem very angry and indignant. The university sent Coulter an email before the speech reminding her to use “restrain, respect and consideration” and pointing out that the promotion of hate could result in criminal charges. Now she says she’s the victim of a “hate crime” and is filing a complaint; she wants the Human Rights Commission of Canada to take care of things for her.
All right. Freedom of speech is protected in Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It is also a human right as stated in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers.
Both Coulter and her protesters have the right to say what they think. But Coulter’s comments are so offensive they could be crossing the line. In Canada, hate propaganda is the “willful promotion of hatred against an identifiable group” and inciting hate in public forum is illegal. However it is difficult to distinguish between the promotion of hate and the promotion of ideas. What’s more, the law provides ways for people to remain innocent. For example if comments were made “in good faith” or if the person actually believed what they were saying to be true. Very amibiguous. It would be difficult to challenge Coulter in court.
And on the other side of the debate, when a bunch of rowdy kids become a possible threat to an individual’s personal safety something has gone awry.
Instead of a grassroots protest of students screaming and waving sings decorated with markers, maybe a more academic, professional approach could present the sane side of this mess more clearly. Instead of yelling why not use hard facts to prove the insanity of Coulter’s theories? If protesters had been less angry and more prepared they would have been represented in a much more respectable light in the media, which would have done more for their cause.
What we really need to do is just take a step back – keep our composure instead of overreacting. Blasting Coulter’s hateful stupidities all over the media allows her to get what she wants. A loud reaction is worth more to to her than silence, literally worth more money. Take a look at what happened this time. She got paid without having to speak, got a new reason to make obnoxious public statements and was splattered all over media across the continent. Sadly enough she may have gained some supporters, although she also earned herself a whole new whack of angry opposition.
All this free publicity has booked her some interviews and will help sell her books full of racist, unreasonable ideas. Which is the opposite of what should happen. Sometimes if you ignore a problem with enough vigour it does disappear.