Unspeakable | Lydia Trethewey


Unspeakable

Lydia Trethewey

For the Get Out of Jail Free Award


Transcript from a radio interview with Paulina Nowicki, 15/06/2017

Kaden Grant: Alright, listeners, next up we have special guest Paulina Nowicki. Nowicki was fired from Symism Tech a month ago following an inflammatory comment she made about Aboriginal people on social media. How are you, Paulina?

Paulina: Not great, Kade, as you can imagine.

K: Have things been difficult in the fallout from May?

P: Yes, incredibly so.

K: Do you think the reaction against you, and losing your job, was unfair?

P: Incredibly. What I say in my personal time has nothing to do with my employment.

K: And yet, Facebook is not really a personal place, attested to by how many people saw your comment. It’s more like going into the city and shouting through a megaphone.

P: I don’t think that’s a fair comparison. What I said was only supposed to be seen by friends.

K: And you think that makes your comments okay?

P: I’ve been accused of spreading hate-speech. All I did was share my opinion – that’s freedom of speech.

K: True, but freedom of speech doesn’t mean freedom from responsibility, or from the consequences of what you say.

P: Do you think the consequences matched the crime here? I said something people didn’t agree with, and as a result I lost my job, and can no longer provide for my family. Is that reasonable to you?

K: Perhaps not. Do you regret what you said?

P: No. I’m not going to be bullied by mob-mentality, by the outrage-machine, into saying I did something wrong.

K: So you see the response to your comment as a kind of bullying?

P: It’s like living in a police state. If you think outside of what the social justice warriors want, they destroy you. I don’t think half of them even thought of me as a real human, with a family, a life – they just see me as a racist. It’s like 1984, with the thought-police. You have to think and talk correctly, and if you share your own opinion, that’s it. It’s a self-imposed police state, run by political-correctness.

K: To my mind, political correctness is just about trying to be sensitive to other people – an extension of basic human decency.

P: That’s just it though, what I said wasn’t harmful. Have you heard of concept creep?

K: No.

P: It’s when a concept starts to be stretched, to include broader definitions. Like abuse – it used to be something horrific, something ongoing and traumatic. Today, saying a mean thing about someone is abuse. I said something that might have been insensitive, and people are calling it abuse.

K: So you don’t think what you wrote was wrong?

P: I’m not a racist. I said that Aborigines are more likely to be alcoholics, and that’s a fact.

K: But when you say that, you’re reducing an entire group of people to a stereotype.

P: It’s just a statistical fact, and it’s my right to say so.

K: What about when your right to speak impinges upon other people’s rights not to be harmed by what you say?

P: That’s concept creep. Words aren’t abusive. If I told you I’d been harassed by a drunk Aboriginal man on the train, you’d take that statement to be an abuse against the entire Aboriginal race.

K: Is it important though, in that anecdote, to say that the man is Aboriginal? In doing so, aren’t you implying that his blackness has something to do with his drunkenness?

P: No, I’m just stating a thing that happened. See, this is the problem with political correctness, you insinuate that I’m the bad guy for saying the word ‘Aboriginal’ and you ignore the incident of harassment. To you, policing peoples words is more important than observing reality. You’re your own thought-police and you don’t even know it.

K: Unfortunately that’s all we have time for. Thanks for coming in, Paulina.

P: Your welcome, Kade.

End Transcript.