The First Amendment Applies to Paula Deen, Too

The recent controversy that has erupted surrounding a racial slur Paula Deen is claimed to have made before her professional career began has far-reaching implications in regard to the dangers of political correctness.

The jawboning on both sides of this issue is deafening, but since Paula Deen officially made a public apology on Wednesday, her case still begs the question, what happened to the First Amendment and to whom does it apply? If certain comedians, talk show hosts, and even news anchors can freely use derogatory or offensive language in the public domain, why should any celebrity — whether it be a politician or a chef, be chastised for a comment made in the private domain many years ago?

The problem is thus: the first amendment guarantees the right to free speech for all, not just some, Americans. That doesn’t mean that all speech has equal merit, of course — if Deen did say what she is rumored to have said, that racism should unquestionably be condemned in the free market of ideas. 

However, the bottom line is that free speech can’t only apply to a specific demographic group or portion of the population. As Ron Paul has said, “We don’t have freedom of speech to talk about the weather. We have the First Amendment so we can say very controversial things.”

If we are to remain a country devoted to freedom, then we must learn to respect that individual rights and liberties apply to all Americans, starting with the First Amendment. 

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