It’s Not About Free Speech
To the Editor:
In his LTE, “Tattoo Letter Needs More Discussion,” Steve Fortin sarcastically wondered why Mr Stoddard felt threatened by a tattoo. He asked, “Will it jump up and hurt him?” Of course not, Steve. Swastikas didn’t jump up and kill millions of Jews and others deemed “inferiors” by the Nazis. Burning crosses did not walk to the lawns of African-Americans for the sole purpose of intimidating them. Ropes didn’t jump into trees and lynch thousands of African-Americans. These atrocities were committed by men, women and children wearing swastikas, KKK hoods and various other symbols of white supremacist hatred.
Steve goes on to decry “how far our country has gone to try and take away our right of freedom of speech.” This is not about freedom of speech! Americans are free to get swastika tattoos, dye their hair purple, have ten nose piercings or have Trump’s face tattooed on their foreheads. However, they should understand that federal laws do not protect them from discrimination based on tattoos or nose piercings.
The federally protected classes are: Race; Religion; National origin; Age (40 and over); Sex; Pregnancy; Familial status; Disability status; Veteran status and Genetic information. That’s it!
A Manhattan Supreme Court Judge ruled in 2018 that bar owners, managers and bartenders are legally allowed to refuse service to people wearing MAGA hats.
I have nothing but respect and praise for Mr Stoddard who stood up against a symbol of white supremacist hatred.