If Palin was Black would a ‘Hanging Palin’ for Halloween be called free speech?

It has been reported by the AFP and other news outlets that a resident in California is displaying a Governor Sarah Palin hanging by a Noose in from of their home.  Folks in the area, especially those supporting Democratic candidate Barack Obama, say the display is protected free speech. 

I have seen displays like this at other times in my life of a Black man being hung from a tree.  The outrage was clear, Free speech goes only so far and calls that a hanging black man, even during Halloween, is beyond what the founders meant by free speech.  Any figure that has a hanging person, is saying that the figure should be dead. 

For Black Americans, especially in the south, certinally have an issue with hanging as it was one of the preferred methods to incite terror among southern blacks during the racist south noosing of African-American’s.  Even though they have a history that brings back memories of a racist environment, isn’t in inappropriate for anyone to display a known person hanging? 

Free speech has it’s limits, Shouting fire in a crowded movie theator is not protected. (See Schenck v. United States)  Nor is  some student speech (see Bong hits for Jesus)  Limits to speech have also been put into law as in campaign finace resorm and University Students finance of elections (See Flint vs. UMT)  While there is no case about this specfic situation, there has been public outrage in other noose related events. 

Is hanging a noosed Sarah Palin Protected?  What if it were Obama?


LOS ANGELES (AFP) — A Halloween display showing a figure resembling Republican vice presidential pick Sarah Palin hanging by a noose has caused uproar in the Californian city of West Hollywood, leading to condemnation Monday from the local mayor.

Chad Michael Morrisette has the effigy, wearing Palin’s trademark red jacket, glasses, high heels and a wig, hanging from the roof of his house in the city to the west of Los Angeles.

“It should be seen as art and it should be seen within the month of October. It is Halloween. It’s time to be scary. It’s time to be spooky,” he told local television channel KCAL9.

Mayor Jeffrey Prang issued a statement condemning the display, in which a disfigured model of presidential candidate John McCain can also be seen surrounded by flames.

“While these residents have the legal right to the display of Senator McCain and Governor Palin, I strong oppose political speech that references violence — real or perceived,” he said.

“I urge these residents to take down their display and find more constructive ways to express their opinion,” he continued.

West Hollywood is one of the main gay areas of the United States. About 500,000 people are expected there Friday for one of the biggest Halloween carnivals in the country.

Halloween is rooted in pagan Celtic and Christian feasts and sees Americans decorate their homes with ghoulish displays of ghosts, witches and other monsters.

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If Palin was Black would a 'Hanging Palin' for Halloween be called free speech? Racism in Ohio - Obama Effigy Racist Ohioan Mike Lunsford Hangs Obama Effigy from Noose in Tree(2) 26 AM Obama mob lynches 'Sarah Palin' -- 10_27_08 If Palin was Black would a 'Hanging Palin' for Halloween be called free speech? If Palin was Black would a 'Hanging Palin' for Halloween be called free speech? If Palin was Black would a 'Hanging Palin' for Halloween be called free speech?

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