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  • Writer's pictureMike Brandly, Auctioneer

Auctioneers’ speech restricted?

I noted some outrage from some auctioneers claiming their speech would not be restricted … in that they would not be conforming to an association’s stance on equal treatment, discrimination, and hate speech. For those auctioneers maintaining their membership, I’m supposing they don’t have a problem treating people equally without discrimination and avoiding hate speech.

I’ve paraphrased this association’s stance below:

Members shall not in regard to dispensing professional services, nor be parties to any plan or agreement in an attempt to, nor in their employment practices, discriminate against any person for reasons of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Further, members must not use harassing speech, hate speech, epithets, or slurs based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

This “speech” issue could be what you say, write as well as anything you post on social media. Again, we wonder how (or why) this could be a problem in that … why is it necessary to discriminate or use harassing or hate speech, slurs, and the like? Aren’t we better than that?

Importantly, the First Amendment does not guarantee anyone unlimited free speech. As you can see here, it concerns the Government’s (Congress’s) inability to create a law abridging the freedom of speech. Private entities (and clubs) can indeed control and/or restrict your speech.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

I have told countless people for years that “you’re always on stage” and what you say matters no matter the hour of the day or where you are at the moment. Clearly, other people judge you by what you say, write, and/or post so it’s definitely worth your consideration.

We’re written about the systemic discrimination in the United States and how it, unfortunately, continues: Any language — no matter the method of delivery — can be used to help to either further this discrimination or work to lessen this senseless unequal treatment.

Some auctioneers claim that by treating others (Blacks, Hispanics, women, for example) equally they then take away from the auctioneer’s status as the superior person. I’m not convinced just because we give others an equal opportunity, your power is unjustly diminished.

Our history is abundantly clear the white male [auctioneer] has been given the benefit of the doubt since our country’s founding. Only more recently have some of those non-white-males been given the opportunity to prosper as we discussed here: .

This seems to be the central fear. If we give others opportunities to prosper like we’ve been given, it somehow takes away from us. Further, the so-called majority frequently notes that the minority “misbehaves” and as such must be treated differently — because they deserve it.

As one who’s studied civil rights and related for decades, it’s somewhat academic to see that we don’t discriminate against other people because they “misbehave” and rather other people misbehave because we discriminate against them. Here, we previously noted this apparently subtle issue:

As Jane Elliott — the pioneer in diversity education — so notes, “Prejudice is an emotional commitment to ignorance.” It appears to me that all this aforementioned association asks (demands) is that its members not be ignorant. Why would anyone be in favor of ignorance?

Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, CAI, CAS, AARE has been an auctioneer and certified appraiser for over 30 years. His company’s auctions are located at: Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, RES Auction Services, and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction. He serves as Distinguished Faculty at Hondros College, Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School, and an Instructor at the National Auctioneers Association’s Designation Academy and Western College of Auctioneering. He is faculty at the Certified Auctioneers Institute held at Indiana University and is approved by The Supreme Court of Ohio for attorney education.

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