Say No to Kangaroo Courts

UO professor Michael Hames-Garcia is against official censure of unpopular speech and actions, solely because such censure has historically fallen disproportionately on “women, people of color and queer people.” In his mind, there is nothing intrinsically “chilling” about censuring controversial speech. Rather, he’s concerned that censure in the hands of an institution, like the University, will tend to impact those people he deems worthy, in a historical sense, of protected expression.

In place of official action, Hames-Garcia advocates shaming those who have sinned against unwritten laws into committing professional suicide, after a knee-jerk trial in a court of public opinion, where any exculpatory evidence or context is likely to be held a further insult against the aggrieved. To suggest that offense taken at some event is disproportionate or misplaced is, in this view, to diminish the validity of a litany of real historical abuses.

He is, in short, advocating for mob rule over judicial process, while being contemptuous of the possibility of nuance. Apparently, he believes he can control this form of justice so that it only removes the right people from the public sphere.

This is not only in itself profoundly dangerous, but insofar as it is cultivated, certain to engender an equally, or even more, dangerous backlash.

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