Signs bring debate: Free speech or hate speech?

Published 11:00 pm Monday, August 4, 2008

Judy Cohen doesn’t understand what all the fuss is about.

Monday, she put up signs in front of her West Jackson Ave. home that read “white people are bad. Slavary (sic) Wars,” she didn’t think much of it until people who drove by began to ask her about the signs — sometimes aggressively.

“They drive up and ask me about it,” Cohen said. “I tell you, they are mad.”

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It’s not the first time she’s put signs out in her yard. Cohen said a week ago she placed signs that stated “Black people are good, but lost.”

Public out cry yesterday pointed as to whether the signs were classified as free speech or hate speech. Cohen, 61, maintains she is intent on telling the truth about what she sees as the continued mistreatment of black Americans.

“There is still a form of slavery going on,” she said. “You take cigarettes or alcohol or drugs. Anything that you put in your system like that…it’s just another form of slavery.”.”

Cohen hopes for a day when people understand what she characterizes as their misguided ways.

“Right is going to wear a crown one day,” she said. “This world is going to hell in a handbasket.”

But what upsets Cohen most is that people can’t get along.

“There is not any concern at all for our fellow man,” she said. “Nobody cares about nothing.”