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Bennett's Loose Lips
Former US Secretary of Education William Bennett is in the media hot seat right now. The conservative talk show host made the following statement during a Wednesday broadcast of Morning in America: "[Y]ou could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down." (listen to the clip)
Yesterday White House spokesman Scott McClellan made an official statement on the matter. McClellan said that the President "believes the comments were not appropriate."
LAist would go a step further. The comments were not only inappropriate but racist and unfounded.
According to the New York Times, Mr. Bennett responded to criticism of him as "ridiculous, stupid, totally without merit."
While we support freedom of speech, we also think that public officials, especially former cabinet members, should be held to a higher standard. Bennett knew better.
The ACLU believes the best way to combat racist, sexist and homophobic speech is not by censorship, but with more free speech. It's in that spirit we write this article. LAist (or at least this journalist) hopes that something positive can surface from Bennett's loose lips. At the very least, it will strike up intelligent dialogues about social issues that are otherwise taboo or swept under the rug. All the various -isms and -phobias are very much alive in Washington, Los Angeles and in your home town. The only way to move forward is to acknowledge and discuss them.