Despite what many people are saying about student protests at universities across the nation, as Kat Blaque points out below: "freedom of speech is not freedom from the repercussions of your speech...Unless the government is knocking on your door, dragging you from your computer, and tossing you into a prison cell, your freedom of speech is not being violated."
|Nicholas Christakis being held accountable by Yale students.|
So when Erica Christakis inserted herself into a campus-wide conversation about whether students should wear black/red face as Halloween costumes—subject matter that she admitted and demonstrated that she was ignorant about—she was illustrating how free speech works: she was free to make her ignorant, ungraceful comments. When she received pushback and criticism for making said comments, her freedom to say offensive stuff was still not in jeopardy. Hell, she was free to set up a blog and call it "In defense of blackface" if she wanted to. However, if people subsequently questioned her ability to do her job as someone securing the wellbeing of Yale students, that is not a violation of her rights. It's simply valid, logical criticism.
|Block'd! No explanation required. No|
rights infringed upon.
After all, a Yale house "master" "is responsible for the physical well being and safety of students in the residential college, as well as for fostering and shaping the social, cultural, and educational life and character of the college." Acting as an apologist for students promoting white supremacy through their Halloween costumes does not seem to mesh well with this job description, especially given that some of her students are not white. Demonstrating ignorance about the historical context of black/red face cannot be helpful in shaping social, cultural and education life in her house. Would an American Indian student feel comfortable about bringing her/his concerns about racism to someone who wrote what she wrote? /rhetorical
If you'd like to ally-as-a-verb, please point this out to your fellow white person the next time they complain about the student protests infringing on rights (as my razor-sharp wife did at the Harvard Faculty Club the other night!); or pull a soccer flop about being blocked on Twitter, or otherwise forget that just because they have something to say, doesn't mean that people have to listen to it or accept it without criticism. This is (should be) especially clear for academics, who (supposedly) hold themselves to a higher standard of logic and discourse than the average person on social media.
Here's a brief history of the freedom of speech in the US, along with a ton of insightful commentary by Kat Blaque, via Everyday Feminism: