Was the Compton Cookout an Expression of Free Speech?

by on February 22, 2010 · 48 comments

in Civil Rights, Media, Popular, San Diego

graphWe just watched a 10News broadcast that showed the results of poll they did regarding the “Compton Cookout” and whether folks thought the people throwing this party were exercising their right to free speech. The question was “Do you think the party was? Or was not? An expression of free speech? “I was pretty astounded to see the 56% answered “WAS”. My first thought was that anyone who said “WAS” didn’t actually read the invitation, didn’t hear the actual words used to describe this event.

The following was supposedly posted as a Facebook event invitation, read it and tell us whether you think it’s an expression of free speech, or not.

February marks a very important month in American society. No, i’m not referring to Valentines day or Presidents day. I’m talking about Black History month. As a time to celebrate and in hopes of showing respect, the Regents community cordially invites you to its very first Compton Cookout.

For guys: I expect all males to be rockin Jersey’s, stuntin’ up in ya White T (XXXL smallest size acceptable), anything FUBU, Ecko, Rockawear, High/low top Jordans or Dunks, Chains, Jorts, stunner shades, 59 50 hats, Tats, etc.

For girls: For those of you who are unfamiliar with ghetto chicks-Ghetto chicks usually have gold teeth, start fights and drama, and wear cheap clothes – they consider Baby Phat to be high class and expensive couture. They also have short, nappy hair, and usually wear cheap weave, usually in bad colors, such as purple or bright red.

They look and act similar to Shenaynay, and speak very loudly, while rolling their neck, and waving their finger in your face. Ghetto chicks have a very limited vocabulary, and attempt to make up for it, by forming new words, such as “constipulated”, or simply cursing persistently, or using other types of vulgarities, and making noises, such as “hmmg!”, or smacking their lips, and making other angry noises,grunts, and faces.

Several of the regents condos will be teaming up to house this monstrosity, so travel house to house and experience the various elements of life in the ghetto.

The objective is for all you lovely ladies to look, act, and essentially take on these “respectable” qualities throughout the day.

We will be serving 40’s, Kegs of Natty, dat Purple Drank- which consists of sugar, water, and the color purple , chicken, coolade, and of course Watermelon. So come one and come all, make ya self before we break ya self, keep strapped, get yo shine on, and join us for a day party to be remembered- or not.

An exercise of free speech? I think not.

{ 48 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar jettyboy February 22, 2010 at 8:04 pm

While it is extremely offensive, disgusting, and racist, what exactly disqualifies it as free speech?
I find the “Teabaggers” shit as offensive, but who decides if it qualifies as free speech or not?

If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all. ~Noam Chomsky

Reply

avatar Abby February 23, 2010 at 8:49 am

You are right. Freedom of speech isn’t just for speech we like. And no one has the right to never be offended.

Reply

avatar Peyton Farquhar February 22, 2010 at 8:30 pm

Ditto jettyboy. Also, how exactly is something that was organized by a BLACK person for the promotion of his album considered racist? This fact seems to be lost on the people whining about a dopey CD promo party and excuse to drink.

Reply

avatar PSD February 22, 2010 at 9:11 pm

So far as I can tell this party has nothing to do with that Jiggaboo something-or-other character…maybe he jumped on the bandwagon after it happened, but he has no CDs to promote or release, at least from what I could find during the five minutes or so I forced myself to look at his website…

Reply

avatar PSD February 22, 2010 at 9:10 pm

Damn, I had a post all whipped up when my daughter happened by and dumped a liter of cola on my computer…now hoping the computer isn’t as fubar as my train of thought was at the moment…

Anyway, is ‘hate speech’ legally defined, and is it a crime if it’s not accompanied by actual violence? While I’m leaning toward siding with jettyboy and Peyton in considering this a disgusting example of ‘free speech,’ I’m also thinking that the denigrating remarks about intelligence, eloquence, financial status, and proclivities for violence would push this into the realm of hateful. I don’t think it passes the line of actually inciting violence, which so far as I know is the only limitation on ‘free’ speech (yelling “Fire!” in a theater, so to speak).

Reply

avatar Ernie McCray February 22, 2010 at 9:15 pm

Disgusting stuff, but it’s in your face, now. We’re talking the Hip-Hop Culture, big time, although there are elements of it that’s absolutely divine. And it crosses all the lines; it doesn’t really mean much if it’s white people who are doing the depreciating of a people, because it’s World Wide. People calling each other bitches and ho’s world wide. “Niggaz,” is a term used World Wide. People walking with their britches below their knees. World Wide. Looking down your glasses and saying “unnerstan what ah’m saying” after every sentence World Wide.
People capitalizing on it to the tune of trillions of dollars. You got it: World Wide.
So, I guess I’m saying that the students at UCSD need to have serious talks about a world culture, primarily theirs, that desensitizes human beings to other human beings – people running around communicating with their thumbs with their faces towards the floor when all the action is basically at or above eye level. They need to explore what they, as kind of the brightest of the bright, can do to make their campus how they would like it to be. That’s what learning is all about; they’re getting a deeper understanding about what “Keepin’ it real” is really all about.
If people approach it as “heads must roll” then it’s going to be the same old BS, somebody being officially dealt with in a system (talking about all the players) that allowed the problem to happen in the first place. Students need to take responsibility for their campus, make it shine, make it reflect more of who we are as a society in its diversity (by some name other than affirmative action which makes people pee on themselves); and there’s a ton of people out here ready to help with that.
If people run screaming “The campus is not safe,” then it’s

Reply

avatar Nate Hipple February 23, 2010 at 11:59 am

What’s disgusting about hip-hop? I think it’s great. This is THE music I grew up with! From middle-school dances to high-school graduation parties and college sporting events, they’re all punctuated by the thump of a hip-hop beat and wonderfully offensive lyrics. Is country music representative of all southerners? What about Miley Cyrus, blending hip-hop with country styles? What about a duet with Willy Nelson and Snoop Dogg?

Reply

avatar Ernie McCray February 22, 2010 at 9:18 pm

…the same old same old with no one working from the heart and soul to “make it safe.”

Reply

avatar Sarah February 22, 2010 at 11:21 pm

Ernie, you’re my newest hero.

Reply

avatar lane tobias February 22, 2010 at 11:28 pm

Its weird, Ernie…as I read your comment, I drew a parallel to a discussion I took part in earlier tonight where we drew the same conclusions on the issue of the houseless in OB….you are certainly right on. If people run away from this, offended, then the issue won’t get dealt with.

I do think its extremely offensive, however. Not necessarily because of who put it on (I think its ALMOST irrelevant whether it was frat boys, mr. jones, or a combo of the two) but rather the environment where it took place. UCSD seems to be flush with students from all over the world, from varying backgrounds and locales….except for intelligent black students. On this campus, black students are outnumbered to the point where it is understandable to be defensive. I think it speaks to the climate more than whether or not this was free speech or not.

Reply

avatar BillRayDrums February 22, 2010 at 11:23 pm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tMwhl4IrPNc#t=20s

This guy is the messiah of the 2010’s.

Reply

avatar BillRayDrums February 22, 2010 at 11:25 pm

Wait…here’s the OB version….

Reply

avatar Rob February 23, 2010 at 6:26 am

Freedom of speech. Nobody has to like/agree/not be offended by it. This issue has gotten old and stale. I wish this was one of the biggest problems facing our society.

Reply

avatar Frank Gormlie February 23, 2010 at 9:15 am

Here is “hate speech” defined by wikipedia for the US (links and footnotes omitted):

The United States federal government and state governments are broadly forbidden by the First Amendment of the Constitution from restricting speech. See, e.g., Gitlow v. New York (1925), incorporating the free speech clause. Generally speaking, the First Amendment prohibits governments from regulating the content of speech, subject to a few recognized exceptions such as defamation[33] and incitement to riot.[34] Even in cases where speech encourages illegal violence, instances of incitement qualify as criminal only if the threat of violence is imminent.[35] This strict standard prevents prosecution of many cases of incitement, including prosecution of those advocating violent opposition to the government, and those exhorting violence against racial, ethnic, or gender minorities. See, e.g., Yates v. United States (1957), Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969).

Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, employers may sometimes be prosecuted for tolerating “hate speech” by their employees, if that speech contributes to a broader pattern of harassment resulting in a “hostile or offensive working environment” for other employees.[36] See, e.g., Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson (1986), Patterson v. McLean Credit Union (1989).

In the 1980s and 1990s, more than 350 public universities adopted “speech codes” regulating discriminatory speech by faculty and students.[37] These codes have not fared well in the courts, where they are frequently overturned as violations of the First Amendment. See, e.g., Doe v. Michigan (1989), UWM Post v. Board of Regents of University of Wisconsin (1991), Dambrot v. Central Michigan University (1995), Corry v. Stanford (1995). Debate over restriction of “hate speech” in public universities has resurfaced with the adoption of anti-harassment codes covering discriminatory speech.[38]

Reply

avatar PSD February 23, 2010 at 10:25 am

Well I think that pretty much establishes what went down as despicable but permissible…

Reply

avatar CR February 23, 2010 at 4:49 pm

it may be their right to free speech, but its also the right of the university to determine the code of conduct for students. just as any business can discipline an employee for unbecoming conduct or contributing to a hostile work environment, educational institutions can do the same. You can speak freely, but when you do so as a representative of an institution, that entity is also free to exercise its rights. No work place should be a hostile environment…why should schools be allowed to be?

Reply

avatar Jay February 26, 2010 at 2:29 pm

I’d agree with CR if the event was on campus, except the event was off-campus and the students weren’t representing the university. I find the speech to be despicable but I do think that the first amendment protects this and the university doesn’t have jurisdiction to an off-campus party.

Reply

avatar Mike August 4, 2010 at 9:52 am

Yes, but technically students of any institution are always a representative of said school, whether it be on grounds or not. If schools have jurisdiction over facebook, whats stopping them from having jurisdiction over a party? I dont agree with it but it still happens.

Reply

avatar Montana February 23, 2010 at 9:32 am

You real can’t take these uneducated UCSD white trailer trash anywhere. This is what happens when more than one of these guys puts their minds together.

Oh, where exactly was a speech going on? Thats right, no where, but keep plucking that chicken.

Reply

avatar Mark Rafferty February 23, 2010 at 12:47 pm

Half the students at UCSD are Asian. Caucasians only account for 25% of the population at UCSD; minorities account for roughly 65% (50% Asian, 13% Hispanic, 2% Black). Since this makes Caucasians the minority, shouldn’t they be afforded their own student organization?

Reply

avatar Frank Gormlie February 23, 2010 at 1:19 pm

Mark, me thinks you need a quick re-cap of American history: white colonists arrive, try to exterminate the Indians – and do a damn good job of it too. White colonists set up the first racially-based system of slavery in the world’s history with Africans stolen from their continent, and do a damn good job of it too, and it’s only destroyed after a devastating civil war. White Americans import Chinese and Mexican laborers to build infrastructure (mines, railroads,dams) and in meanwhile, maintain a system of white supremacy that debases all non-whites. White Americans maintain system of Jim Crow where Blacks must only use inferior drinking fountains, not served at restaurants, sit in back of the bus, etc., which is ONLY changed in last 40 to 50 years. Whites maintain whites-only system of universities including UCSD up until late 1960s.

Reply

avatar Mark Rafferty February 24, 2010 at 12:15 pm

My point being: UCSD is not a white university by any means. The poster above referred to them as “uneducated UCSD white trailer trash”, will you please show proof of your accusations, and post photos of these UCSD students you insulted?

Reply

avatar Frank Gormlie February 24, 2010 at 12:20 pm

That’s true, Mark, UCSD is no longer a white university. When I went there, it pretty much was.

BTW, I didn’t mean earlier to say white people are never oppressed. White Irish, white Italians, white poles, etc were discriminated against by other whites, the anglo-saxons. Plus whites are oppressed by the rich, the upper class, the ruling elites.

Reply

avatar Mark Rafferty February 24, 2010 at 12:23 pm

Frank: I’m not talking about the past, I’m talking about the present day climate at UCSD. Since UCSD does not have a white majority, one cannot put the majority of the blame on them. While partially to blame for the way blacks feel on campus, the majority of the blame should be on the Asian population, because they account for over 50%. It’s not a black and white issue–there’s plenty of blame to go around.

Reply

avatar Chris Moore February 23, 2010 at 10:02 am

Just because you CAN say something doesn’t mean you SHOULD.

People do have the right to be jerks, and other people equally have the right to call them out on it.

“Free speech” does not mean nobody else has the right to be offended, criticize, or even hate you for saying something idiotic or insulting. It just means you can’t be thrown in jail for it.

I really wouldn’t care if the students responsible got expelled, just desserts IMO, however charging them with a crime would be absurd.

Reply

avatar Nate Hipple February 23, 2010 at 11:10 am

Whoever wrote this invitation is impressively well-versed in the language of hip-hop, i.e the purple drank and the 40’s, stuntin’ in white T’s. “Shananay” was a female character created by a cross-dressed Martin Lawrence, a comedian capable of inducing laughter forceful enough to shoot milk through your nostrils (even if you was only drinking lemonade!). Daaaaammmnnn, Gina!

History remembers actress Lucille Ball for advancing the women’s movement with her quirky, speaks-her-own-mind portrayal of “Lucy”. Not every woman is like Lucy, mind you. And accordingly, most women probably wouldn’t be offended by an “I love Lucy” party, complete with red wigs and grape stomping. Hip-hop and ghetto parties ought to be treated to the same logic.

Nobody can deny the powerful influence of African-Americans in the music, film, and television industry of the late 20th century. We’re not talking about themes of oppression anymore, this is an era marked by a stratospheric rise to popularity, sensational record sales, Academy Awards, etc… etc… Maybe we SHOULD be recognizing Martin Lawrence and Three 6 Mafia during Black History Month. And maybe we SHOULD come to grips with the fact that hip-hop culture plays a significant role in forming our contemporary national identity. The National Museum of Hip Hop is a bit more high-brow than the Compton Cookout (http://www.hiphopmuseum.org) but c’mon people, don’t hate:
It ain’t nuthin’ but a lil gangsta party.

Reply

avatar lane tobias February 23, 2010 at 11:43 am

nonetheless, students at universities have been expelled for less, even when events took place off campus. the school should take action – remember, free speech is a right, but there is a code of conduct and you would think that alienating a minority group on campus through forceful and offensive speech would be against the code.

Reply

avatar PSD February 23, 2010 at 12:05 pm

Cut & paste from Frank’s cut & paste:

“In the 1980s and 1990s, more than 350 public universities adopted “speech codes” regulating discriminatory speech by faculty and students.[37] These codes have not fared well in the courts, where they are frequently overturned as violations of the First Amendment. See, e.g., Doe v. Michigan (1989), UWM Post v. Board of Regents of University of Wisconsin (1991), Dambrot v. Central Michigan University (1995), Corry v. Stanford (1995). Debate over restriction of “hate speech” in public universities has resurfaced with the adoption of anti-harassment codes covering discriminatory speech.[38]”

I’m thinking that maybe the university is scared to take a stand based on the current judicial environment having a tendency to lean toward the people making the offensive speech. No money in the budget to pursue it, and if they spend the money they don’t have and lose they’re even worse off.

Reply

avatar lane tobias February 23, 2010 at 12:44 pm

I would gather you’re right. Maybe they dont feel that the discrimination or harassment in this issue is strong enough to hold up in court.

Reply

avatar Rob February 23, 2010 at 11:54 am

The only people that should take action on this issue are the kids parents.

Reply

avatar Frank Gormlie February 23, 2010 at 11:59 am

Why do you say that? Many of these “kids” are 20, 21 or older.

Reply

avatar Rob February 24, 2010 at 10:36 am

Cause they’re the ones that raised them Frank. I have no kids. If I did, and they participated in something like this, they would find out real quick that they F’d up. I don’t think any legal or academic, punishment or retribution need be taken. Remember, “sticks and stones”………

Reply

avatar Mark Rafferty February 23, 2010 at 12:35 pm

While offensive, I don’t see how this could qualify as “hate speech”. While blatant stereotypes are thrown around, the “n”-word isn’t used, no threats are made, nor are any attacks of violence mentioned along with the black race. Had they wanted to be hateful, they would have mentioned certain other stereotypes about African Americans, such as carrying guns and being in gangs–but they didn’t. They drew the line at making fun of a specific sub-section of the black population (using their word, “ghetto”) by mocking the way they dress, how they talk, how they react, what they eat, what they drink–but these are all superficial characteristics that have been caricatured for years. If someone were to do the same thing with rednecks, it would not be seen as insulting to ALL white people, just rednecks. As such, this party was not mocking African Americans as a race, but rather the small population that follows the stereotypes depicted here. Insulting yes, but not hateful.

Reply

avatar Larry OB February 23, 2010 at 1:15 pm

Guns were mentioned…”keep strapped”

But I have focus on the motives…sex speech, not hate speech:

“The objective is for all you lovely ladies to look, act, and essentially take on these “respectable” qualities throughout the day.”

The poll showed that more women than men found the party offensive, But the poll doesn’t tell us what really offended them.

Reply

avatar Nate Hipple February 23, 2010 at 1:47 pm

F.Y.I. There is a reference to carrying guns: “keep strapped” according to urbandictionary.com “strapped” means ‘to keep a gun on oneself’.

Similarly, there’s no mention of
Mocking: To treat with ridicule or contempt; deride

Rather, the intentions of this Facebook flyer are to
Celebrate: to observe (a day) or commemorate (an event) with ceremonies or festivities

“Compton Cookout” is no different than In Cahoots in terms of stereotypes. Have a look at the dress code. (Warning: it’s very discriminatory against ghetto guys AND ghetto chicks)

http://www.incahoots.com/about.html

“We offer a huge outdoor deck, and plenty of FREE parking…enough for every Cowboy North of the Rio Grande ‘n West of the Pecos. Sorry, horses must be tethered outside!”

GASP!!!!!

How dare they make me tether my horse outside!

Reply

avatar Mark Rafferty February 24, 2010 at 12:26 pm

I apologize–I didn’t know what “keep strapped” meant. I assumed it had something to do with jock-straps… Thanks for bringing it to my attention–Mark.

Reply

avatar OBTinyHouse February 23, 2010 at 2:05 pm

While this was in very poor taste, I think it was more a result of ignorance then hate or racism. I’ve been to White Trash themed parties, just saying.

Reply

avatar Won't Get Fooled Again February 23, 2010 at 8:17 pm

DADA.

Reply

avatar jon February 23, 2010 at 9:30 pm
avatar obsteven February 24, 2010 at 8:05 am

I found this very racist and ignorant. It bothers me that there are people in the world that would go to such an event. I also believe that even the ignorant words of some should not be censored. These kids are saying what a lot of ignorant people just think. Even though I do not like what they say I have more respect for a man who tells you where he stands on racist thoughts than a man who claims not to be racist but can’t wait to tell a joke with the N-word in it.

They should be able to have their party. In order to make it as realistic as possible we should put them all on a bus and take them to Compton. The locals will let them know if they are truly authentic or not.

Reply

avatar Rob February 24, 2010 at 10:43 am

Remember folks, there is no law which states that people cannot be racist. It’s the double-edged sword of freedom. I’ll take that double-edged sword any day over the alternative.

Reply

avatar obsteven February 24, 2010 at 10:50 am

I’m with Rob.

Reply

avatar Chris Moore February 24, 2010 at 9:33 pm

I agree, you can’t pass a law against believing stupid things, or saying stupid things.

I’ve seen people carrying “Ban Racism” signs – how is that to be accomplished, exactly?

Fortunately, there are other means of social sanctioning against this kind of thing besides those involving the force of law.

Telling them off is a good start, in my experience.

Reply

avatar Benito Juarez February 25, 2010 at 9:22 am

I will tell you what I have seen these last few days, I saw people from different backgrounds, my children, my brothers and sisters come together in solidarity, and got the message heard.

This reminds me of a parable from the good book where a Levite and Priest come upon a man who fell among thieves and they both individually passed by and didn’t stop to help him. Finally a man of another race came by, he got down from his beast, decided not to be compassionate by proxy and got down with the injured man, administered first aid, and helped the man in need. Jesus ended up saying, this was the good man, this was the great man, because he had the capacity to project the “I” into the “thou,” and to be concerned about his brother.

You see, the Levite and the Priest were afraid, they asked themselves, “If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?”

But then the Good Samaritan came by. And he reversed the question: “If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?”

That’s the question before us. The question is not, “If I stop to help my brother in need, what will happen to me?” The question is, “If I do not stop to help my brother, what will happen to him or her?” That’s the question.

God bless all my brothers and sister that stood side by side with our brothers and sisters in need, when you saw a wrong you tried to correct it, you can argue the methods but not the reasons. I know God will not discriminate by country of origin, our sex, our orientation, color of our skin, or our religion as men do.

Reply

avatar Jorge Sanchez February 25, 2010 at 9:27 am

Framing it as a ‘Free Speech’ issue is simply a distraction from addressing the deeper issues at play here. Does the KuKluxKlan have a right to assemble and speak freely on their racist beliefs? Yes. Do I still find it offensive and a threat to the very fabric of Democracy this country supposedly strives to uphold? Yes. Did a group of low-minded fratboys and fratgirls have the right to organize a party that was overtly racially motivated and offensive? Yes. They did it. And there are consequences and fallout that are justified and need to be addressed. Hiding behind Free Speech as a rationalization for taking conscious actions to offend and inflict pain is simply cowardly and adds insult to injury.

Reply

avatar Nate Hipple February 25, 2010 at 10:41 am

Jorge-

How is the Compton Party any different than these costumes for sale at Partycity.com?

Tequila Pop Dude Costume Adult (Search: Mexican)
Irish Afro Wig (Search: Irish)
Mid West Momma Wig (Search: Trash)
Lil’ Hobo Costume Toddler Boy (Search: Hobo)
Rasta Tam Dreadlocks Wig Adult (Search: Rasta)
Rapper Costume Kit (Search: Rapper)

Why does this REALLY bother people? Should African-Americans feel more offended by silly stereotypes than the Irish or Mid Westerners? It’s true that the U.S. has a history of institutionalized discrimination, but that’s not today’s world.

Do you honestly believe that a group of UCSD students were maliciously TRYING to offend people? It doesn’t seem like these guys had anticipated this backlash.

And if I know one thing about college students, it’s that some of them like to stand up for causes–which is admirable, but c’mon they’re students with little real-world experience.

If you really see the Compton Cookout as pure, evil racism then by the same logic PartyCity.com is paving the way for the next holocaust! Of course I’m being silly. Try to understand the context, Jorge.

Reply

avatar Jay February 26, 2010 at 2:32 pm

The thought I keep having is twofold: that at least this incident did bring the campus racism issues to the forefront, and secondly that the kids who had this party probably are mighty pleased with the uproar it caused and it’s often best to not give them their platform.

Reply

avatar Joey Wilson February 27, 2010 at 4:20 pm

Yeah, Boyz.
Bitches be bitin it now
My pimp is betta dan yo pimp

These are actual lines from a Spike Lee flick.

What are white folks supposed to think?????????

Reply

Leave a Comment

Before clicking Submit, please complete this simple statement to help us weed out the bots... Thank you! *

Older Article:

Newer Article: