Ann Coulter is known for being offensive, adversarial and controversial, but this latest commentary was more along the lines of confused, bizarre and just plain dead wrong. The definition of civil rights is not one of those things about which reasonable (or even unreasonable) people can disagree, but good luck telling the conservative pundit that.
On ABC’s This Week, host George Stephanopoulos asked her to discuss a claim made in her new book that “various groups [including] gay rights groups, those defending immigrants, and feminists have commandeered the black civil rights experience.”
Why? Coulter said “civil rights are for blacks” because the U.S. has a “legacy of slavery and Jim Crow laws.” From the Huffington Post:
She added, “We don’t owe the homeless. We don’t owe feminists. We don’t owe women who are desirous of having abortions, or gays who want to get married to one another.” She said that “much of the left … dropped the blacks after five minutes” to argue for “civil rights” for other groups of people.
Stephanopoulos interrupted Coulter asking, “Immigrant rights are not civil rights?” Coulter confirmed that she only thinks “civil rights are for blacks.”
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A civil right is an enforceable right or privilege, which if interfered with by another gives rise to an action for injury. Examples of civil rights are freedom of speech, press, and assembly; the right to vote; freedom from involuntary servitude; and the right to equality in public places. Discrimination occurs when the civil rights of an individual are denied or interfered with because of their membership in a particular group or class. Various jurisdictions have enacted statutes to prevent discrimination based on a person’s race, sex, religion, age, previous condition of servitude, physical limitation, national origin, and in some instances sexual orientation.
Ironically, Coulter, who is not black as far as we know, was taking advantage of one of her own civil rights — the freedom of speech — when she made the erroneous comment. But moving forward, if she wants to give up that privilege to back up her misguided legal theory, you won’t hear us complain.
Read more at the Huffington Post.