Auctioneers and protesting

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Several months ago, some “minority” auctioneers (members) reached out to an auctioneer association by email and phone regarding discrimination, equal treatment, and equal representation. There was no violence nor property damage whatsoever, but nonetheless, many other auctioneers (members) didn’t like it.

Many recall some football and basketball (and other) players have protested — making an open visible statement about discrimination in the United States. Nobody has been physically hurt or killed in these displays and there has been no tangible property damage. Yet, many auctioneers said they didn’t like this.

There have been countless protests in the streets involving this same issue these professional sports players were protesting against with some injuries and even some substantial property damage and many auctioneers said they didn’t like this protesting either.

If there’s a pattern here, apparently it’s not that someone is protesting in whatever form, but the fact that such protesting is threatening the status-quo … and possibly more-so “who” is protesting, rather than “how” or “why?” Interestingly, there are sometimes people protesting others protesting …

In other words, it seems some “protesting” is horrible behavior, and some “protesting” is to be admired — encouraged? That’s exactly it for lots of people including auctioneers. Kneeling, marching, yelling, destroying property is all terrible behavior if it is from those folks, and all fine behavior if it is from your folks?

Joshua J. Kassner (Associate Professor of Philosophy, University of Baltimore) recently suggested that protesting shouldn’t be graded by what you like or don’t like, and rather by what circumstance is causing people to protest — and in particular whether it is based upon the truth or a lie:

When auctioneers said they would no longer be using Google, we noted this company’s stance in regard to worthy protesting: https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2020/06/28/auctioneers-discrimination-google/. When certain auctioneers said anyone who drinks Starbucks is a terrible person … we wrote about that: https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2019/12/23/can-auctioneers-be-presumed-guilty/.

We’ve even seen more recently auctioneers say they will be boycotting Facebook given the social media platform exercises its right to limit speech: https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2021/01/11/youre-not-advertising-my-auction-on-facebook/.

Here’s what I’m suggesting for auctioneers — and anyone else willing to consider — look at “why” someone is protesting instead of “who” is protesting, and ask yourself if less vocal, less violent methods have worked prior to bring this hopefully worthy issue to the public’s attention?

Of course, if less expression works, that’s likely better, and if the protesting is not worthy — based upon a lie, for example — no protesting is prudent. Importantly, either untempered or unhinged protesting suggests to others that such protesting is sagacious and thus perpetuates this misjudgment.

The First Amendment is normally referenced regarding “free speech” but it also largely protects “free expression” and “free association” from government restriction. Relatedly, private entities can restrict speech, expression, and association suggesting an Indiana baker can indeed refuse to bake a cake for a gay couple.

Finally, many have documented that the admired and often-quoted “Founding Fathers” protested — in that, they complained, marched, yelled, destroyed property … all for the right reasons. Thomas Jefferson was known to have said “a little rebellion now and then is a good thing” for America.

As a result of this violent protesting in the late 1700s which formed our country, we have a country to protest in. Thus, without violent protesting, there would be no United States which allows for a great deal of free speech, free association, and free expression.

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.