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Squires: America's (free) speech impediment is being caused by a bad case of 'oppression obsession'
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Squires: America's (free) speech impediment is being caused by a bad case of 'oppression obsession'

What do a group of teenage girls in Derry, New Hampshire, have to do with professional athletes and the sports journalists who cover them? All of these groups embody a concerning trend related to political rhetoric in America today.

The girls in Derry were contestants in the Miss Greater Derry Scholarship Pageant, and they became a national news story this week because the winner is a biological male who “identifies” as a woman and goes by the name Brían Nguyen. The story went viral because of a picture of the girls smiling as they surrounded Nguyen as he stood with the winner’s bouquet in hand.

The girls looked genuinely happy that a man won a scholarship that should have gone to one of them. The reason is simple: they have either been fully indoctrinated into radical gender ideology or they are too scared to speak up for themselves because they don’t want to offend someone from a “marginalized” group.

These girls silence themselves because of a cultural condition I call “oppression obsession.”

One symptom of oppression obsession is linking the threat of violence against members of “marginalized” groups to comments made about individuals in that group or the entire group itself. People outside the group recognize this connection and adjust their speech and behavior accordingly.

The result of our culture’s battle with oppression obsession is a (free) speech impediment that makes teenage girls terrified to publicly question why boys are beating them in sports, winning pageants, and collecting scholarships meant for females. They believe people who “identify” as the opposite sex when they claim that failure to affirm their delusion puts them at higher risk of suicide.

Oppression obsession is also how a voting law Democrats don’t like turns into “Jim Crow 2.0” or how “misgendering” a man dressed as a woman becomes a crime that carries a fine up to $250,000 in New York City.

This condition is why people covering the Kyrie Irving saga over the last week have tried to connect his words to actual violence, whether in the distant past or in the future. One ESPN contributor tied Irving’s tweet, which included the link to "Hebrew to Negroes: Wake Up Black America," to the 2018 mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.

He is not the only one.

The managing editor here at TheBlaze wrote a response to a recent column in which Jason Whitlock was critical of Ben Shapiro’s responses to Ye, Kyrie, and Candace Owens. His perspective on Kyrie should look familiar by now:

“We are not talking about being overly sensitive about hurt feelings here: Real, actual Jewish people have been killed en masse, displaced from their homes, and removed from their jobs on the basis of this rhetoric.”

The only thing oppression obsession kills is the opportunity for constructive dialogue on difficult topics. We are a multi-ethnic and multi-religious nation. Everyone acknowledges that violence is wrong, especially violence committed to further a political cause, but words people don’t like are not violence. Trying to link every distasteful opinion to slavery, Jim Crow, the Holocaust, mass trans suicide, or the women who died having back-alley abortions is not conducive to healthy political discourse.

Overusing terms like “racist,” “sexist,” “transphobic,” “homophobic,” and “anti-Semitic” drains the terms of their power, but emotional extortion works because one of the quickest ways to accrue political capital in America today is to claim to be the victim of oppression. Even Irving’s early response to the controversy was based on this premise.

“I oppose all forms of hatred and oppression and stand strong with communities that are marginalized and impacted every day. I am aware of the negative impact of my post towards the Jewish community and I take responsibility.”

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver recently met with Kyrie Irving and said he doesn’t believe he is anti-Semitic. This revelation may ease some of the tensions surrounding this incident, which could quickly turn into a public relations nightmare now that Min. Louis Farrakhan has voiced his support for Irving. This is in addition to LeBron James, the NBA Players Association, and Stephen A. Smith expressing concerns about the six-step process Irving must complete to be reinstated by the Nets.

Somehow the same NBA teams, executives, and players who claim to hate “harmful” words and images have no problem playing rap songs from artists who rhyme about doing bodily harm to black men or revel in their disregard for black women.

We live in a country where headlines like “There’s nothing more frightening in America today than an angry White man” and “You Damn Karens Are Killing America” run in major publications on a regular basis. MSNBC’s Joy Reid once stated that conservative states like Texas wanted to get black and Hispanic workers back to work during COVID so they could make steaks for the wealthy and privileged. She also claimed that white people would trade tax cuts for the ability to say the “N-word.”

The ruling class doesn’t have an equitable aversion to ethnic stereotypes or religious generalizations. It just wants to be able to control which groups are in the crosshairs. Holding to such an arbitrary standard is a guarantee that this won’t be the last time we’re faced with this type of controversy.

As a Christian, I detest every form of hatred because I believe every single human being is made in the image of God. Hating fellow image-bearers because of their skin color or beliefs shows contempt for their Maker. I also believe attributing the behavior of individuals to something inherent about the nature of their tribe is a misunderstanding of human nature.

None of us are righteous, and there is no type or category of sin that is unique to any specific group. The Bible makes that crystal clear in Romans 1:28-31:

And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless.

The inability to “save” ourselves is one of the things that unites us as humans. Thankfully, the same Savior who can free mankind from the bondage of sin can also free us from our oppression obsession.

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Delano Squires

Delano Squires


Delano Squires is a contributor for Blaze News.
@DelanoSquires →