Archive for category Freedom of expression

Win against Cancel Culture!

Score – Venky:1, Woke Mob:0

Attack on free speech by Cancel Culture

After over a year when I did not have the time or inclination to write in my blog, finally I have an issue which has provided me the motivation.  So here it goes…

I moved to the City of Coppell from Fremont, California in July 2002 to take up a job in this area and then bought a house in this City later that year.

After living in this lovely City for a few years, I thought I should volunteer my time and give back to this City in some manner.

Around the year 2005 (if memory serves me right), I came to know about several Boards in the City where one could serve as a volunteer.  One of the Boards that sounded interesting was the Conduct Review Board as it was supposed to look into any malfeasance by City personnel from the Mayor downwards.  So I applied to be on this Board, got appointed and was then sworn-in at a public function at City Hall.

At the time I joined this Board, I thought the Board would meet every few months to deal with any issues that were brought to the attention of this Board.

This Board position expires every 2 years and one needs to reapply to be reappointed.  I did that every 2 years since I first joined and got routinely reappointed and sworn-in each time except for one 2 year period many years ago where I forgot to apply and so I was not on the Board during that period.

In effect, I have been a member of this Board for some 14 years.

During this period this Board NEVER met even once presumably because not a SINGLE City personnel had ever engaged in any misconduct or malfeasance.  The only thing I had to do was to reapply and attend a function to get sworn-in every couple of years to continue to be on this Board.

After about a decade, I found the fact that no issue ever coming before this Board so astonishing that I recall remarking once at a function to the then Mayor Karen Hunt: “Either Coppell City personnel are so clean that they never do anything wrong – or they are so clever that they never get caught when they do anything wrong!”. 

As usual, I re-applied this year to continue on this Board and got reappointed without any interview.  Unfortunately, I missed attending the swearing-in ceremony (which I had never missed in the past) due to some last-minute conflict and was sworn-in a few days later in a private ceremony (pictured above).

I was expecting that this will be another uneventful 2 years of do-nothing time vis-à-vis this Board till, to my great surprise, I learned a few days ago that my membership of this Board became the subject of a controversy.

To provide the context to this controversy, I have to refer to another aspect of my life.

Sometime in 2010-11, I was contacted by the then President of the Coppell Republican Club, David Bittermann.  He was apparently impressed with a presentation I had made to the Coppell City Council sometime earlier and invited to join the Board of this organization as the VP of Programs.  I accepted the invitation and then over the years conducted forums for candidates running for the Dallas Fifth Court of Appeals, Coppell City Council, Texas House of Representatives and US Congress (among other things).  I was even invited to attend the State Republican Party Convention which I did and, in the process, met some of the bigwigs in the Republican party, both State and National level leaders.  Later I became President of the same club but sometime in 2013-14, I resigned due to both a difference of opinion with other Board members as well as lack of time as I had to deal with some personal matters due to which I decided to attend law school.  During my tenure at the Coppell Republican Club, I used to manage their Facebook group.  On my departure from this club, I started my own Facebook group in September 2014 which I initially called Coppell Opinions and later renamed it to Coppell Global Public Square (CGPS).

Most of the people who came to know me during my tenure at the Coppell Republican Club joined this new group at my invitation.  This included Mayors (including the current Mayor, Wes Mays, who was a member right from the outset some 7 years ago, who I endorsed in this group after he visited me in my home when he was running for election this year, but recently left the group possibly due to the current controversy, a spineless, CYA, action in my opinion), City Council members, judges, lawyers and many other highly reputable individuals. 

I was clear from the outset that this would be a non-partisan group and all viewpoints stated intelligently, however controversial, would be entertained.  There would be no room for political correctness.  Further, this group would definitely not be everyone’s cup of tea and if someone who joined did not like reading the posts, he/she could easily leave.

Most importantly, this was a PRIVATE group, meaning no one outside of the group could read any of the posts and anyone doing so by joining this group was doing so by his or her own CHOICE.  The best analogy I could use to describe this group – it is like someone choosing to come into my house because they believed I had something worthwhile to say and then either staying (if they liked what they heard) or leaving (if they did not like what they heard).  IN NO EVENT WOULD I ALLOW ANYONE TO COME INTO MY HOUSE/GROUP AND TELL ME WHAT I COULD OR COULD NOT SAY AND IF YOU DID SO YOU WOULD BE SUMMARILY EJECTED FROM MY HOUSE/GROUP.

Having said that, the only entity that had any say on what I could or could not post was Facebook itself.  So none of the 10,000 odd posts that can be currently found in the group are in in violation of any Facebook guideline.

See this link for a more detailed description of this group:

Now we come to the controversy.

A woman by the name of Amelia Anderson (see: has recently filed a Code of Conduct complaint against me stating there in essence “Mr. Venkatraman has a public record of making racist, homophobic and misogynistic statements in writing” and attaching to her complaint some 15 screenshots from the CGPS group (which would constitute around 0.15% of the 10,000 odd posts I have made in this group since its inception).

On doing some investigation, I learned that she was the wife of Robert Anderson (see: who recently ran to become Mayor of Coppell and was soundly defeated.

Finally, my response to this complaint.

In the over 7 years that this PRIVATE group has been in existence, I have made around 10,000 posts (as stated above) on pretty much every topic under the sun.  Friends have communicated to me that they enjoyed reading my posts since they found my posts to be refreshing, fearless, unfiltered, politically incorrect, telling it like it is, not holding back on anything, etc. More importantly, they told me that they agreed with most of my posts and that I was saying things in writing that they were too afraid to say in the current environment where everyone has to watch what they say due to the fear of being CANCELLED. So much so they were too nervous even to “like” anything I posted in the group leave alone comment or post themselves in the group.  In recent months they warned me that one day the “woke mob” (which has nowadays taken upon itself to decide what one can or cannot say) will come after me and try to CANCEL me as well.  I had told them that I would not be intimidated by anyone and I did not come to this country, which prides itself on allowing everyone FREE SPEECH, over 37 years ago only to allow some crazy nutjobs to cow me down and tell me what I can or cannot say in my own PRIVATE group.

Now it appears that the woke mob is targeting me and the spearhead of this woke mob is this woman who is either clueless and does not know that I am on a Board that has never met in 16 years, I have not been paid a penny to be on this Board and so it makes little difference to me whether I am on this Board or not and hence she is engaging in a futile exercise in trying to get me removed from this Board – or she is shilling for her husband  who may continue to harbor some political ambitions and this complaint could be part of some grand strategy by him.

In any event, whatever, the motivation of this nitwit might be, she is clearly an embodiment of the CANCEL CULTURE of this time and so, as a matter of principle and with the support of friends who want me to take on this CANCEL CULTURE, I am NOT going to step aside even from this inconsequential role as a member of the Conduct Review Board without a fight.

So gird your loins and be prepared for combat, you woke folks…

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Land of the free and the home of the brave?


Growing up in India when we had one radio station (All India Radio) and one TV station (Doordarshan) both of which mostly served up government propaganda, we used to listen to the BBC to get the “real” news (and I must confess I tried to model my English on some of those great newsreaders!).

During those days we marveled at the freedom that Americans seemed to have to say whatever they pleased without any fear or favor.  We saw them even toppling a president (Nixon) whose Watergate cover-up was worse than the crime.  Truly the land of the free and the home of the brave, we thought.

A couple of recent incidents made me wonder whether America today was that much different from India of the past when it came to freedom of speech and expression (guaranteed by the First Amendment to the US Constitution).  And following are those episodes.

My multi-talented daughter, Sakshi, even when only 12 years old, combined her skill using technology and her flair for drama to make and post on YouTube several short, entertaining videos on various topics – you can see one of them at: ).

Then in December 2012 she made a fateful video that brought her video producing “career” to an abrupt end.  Below is the video she posted on Youtube:

But oops – there is no video – because it got “censored”.  And why did that happen?  In that video (posted in a Youtube account controlled by her mother), Sakshi had depicted one of her elementary school teachers (without naming either school or teachers) as crazy enough to have mood swings and verbally abuse the children and another teacher putting her feet on the children and twisting their arms during PE class.

When the video was first posted, I was in India along with my mother and she and I had a good laugh at the video which we thought was clearly a parody (like a Saturday Night Live skit).  But what followed was unbelievable.  An EMail from the principal, Pam Mitchell, asking that the video be immediately removed and hinting at dire consequences if that was not done.  And in the course of arguing that the school could not demand removal of a video that did not mention the name of the school nor the teachers and was not made during school hours nor using school equipment, I filed an Open Records Request and found a whole army of school officials (including Assistant Superintendent, Brad Hunt), seemingly alarmed by the video, were writing conspiratorial EMails to each other about how to deal with the “situation”.  Clearly this video was not being treated as a childish parody – which suggested to me that something more serious was going on.  Or possibly the cover-up was just worse than the crime – shades of Watergate!

Cutting to the chase, Sakshi caved in to the pressure (despite my total support, telling her to stand her ground) and wrote a letter of apology to all and sundry and the video was taken down.  And, as I feared, Sakshi did not make another video in this series – and her budding video “career” came to an abrupt end.

Fast forward to several years later.  Sakshi, now several years older, is in Newspaper class where she is a “reporter” writing articles online on various topics.  One of them is titled “Kids in Asian families forced on to unwanted career paths” which as the title suggests is not flattering towards “Asian parents” in general and me (as her father) in particular.  In her bid to make a point and add some drama, she had crossed over from reporting/opining  on facts to writing fiction – and here is the link to that article posted on the school’s website:

But oops again – there is nothing there!  So what happened this time?

This is the sequence of events.  I posted a comment disagreeing with Sakshi’s contentions.  Sakshi promptly deleted my comment.  I took this up with her teacher suggesting that if any of his student “reporters” wrote and posted online anything controversial, then readers should be given an opportunity to respond on the same page and disagree.  However, rather than allowing that, the teacher promptly had the article itself deleted.  And that, in my opinion, was a pity because what could have been teaching moment was lost and Sakshi suffered the ignominy of one more her products (resulting from some hard and dedicated work) being “censored”.

And the irony of all this is when I brought this article to the attention to Brad Hunt (the Assistant Superintendent, who behind the scenes was doing his best to get Sakshi’s video deleted because “it would upset the teachers who are sensitive people”), his comment surprisingly was “Sakshi is a strong writer.  I think given that this article is in the “opinions” section that it should be treated as such, her opinion.  “.

Apparently what is not good for the geese is good for the gander!

And the unfortunate lesson Sakshi probably learnt from all this is that she lives in the land of the (not so) free and the home of the (not that) brave!!

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