The lawsuit reflects a lack of respect for the political right to speak freely. But the accusation may be one hundred percent accurate; Dylan made racist remarks unless he was being sarcastic.
Here is what the singer said in an interview with the Rolling Stone magazine:
Mmm, I don’t know how to put it. It’s like . . . the United States burned and destroyed itself for the sake of slavery. The USA wouldn’t give it up. It had to be grinded out. The whole system had to be ripped out with force. A lot of killing. What, like, 500,000 people? A lot of destruction to end slavery. And that’s what it really was all about.
This country is just too f***** up about color. It’s a distraction. People at each other’s throats just because they are of a different color. It’s the height of insanity, and it will hold any nation back – or any neighborhood back. Or any anything back. Blacks know that some whites didn’t want to give up slavery – that if they had their way, they would still be under the yoke, and they can’t pretend they don’t know that. If you got a slave master or Klan in your blood, blacks can sense that. That stuff lingers to this day. Just like Jews can sense Nazi blood and the Serbs can sense Croatian blood.
That last sentence is what has him in legal trouble in France, which (if you didn’t know or hadn’t guessed by now) has nothing as strong as our own First Amendment in its legal heritage. A group of Croats is suing him and the magazine for making racist remarks.
I think it is appalling that so-called Western “democracies” will take people to court for expressing opinions they don’t like.
But was Dylan making racist remarks? I originally saw a smaller quotation that only repeated the last part. I would say that claiming blacks or Jews or Serbs can “sense” blood from the past or the crimes of one’s ancestors (or merely crimes from the past committed by members of one’s race) is a deeply racist comment. At least it seems a lot closer to racism than many accusations we hear about.
I have no idea why the Croats are suing. It should be the Serbs.
Furthermore, Dylan’s earlier comments make me wonder if he is being sarcastic. He calls racial animosity a “distraction,” “the height of insanity,” and something that holds us “back.” That makes me wonder if he is claiming that this “sense” that some have is delusional and wrong.
But isn’t it the premise for much of the racial “justice” we hear discussed by our elites in the United States? If Dylan meant those statements seriously, then it seems that the groups should be suing the entire US government and MSNBC.