Discussion:
The case for restricting hate speech
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Ubiquitous
2017-06-24 01:05:03 UTC
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As a sociologist and legal scholar, I struggle to explain the
boundaries of free speech to undergraduates. Despite the 1st
Amendment—I tell my students—local, state, and federal laws limit
all kinds of speech. We regulate advertising, obscenity, slander,
libel, and inciting lawless action to name just a few. My students
nod along until we get to racist and sexist speech. Some can’t grasp
why, if we restrict so many forms of speech, we don’t also restrict
hate speech. Why, for example, did the Supreme Court on Monday rule
that the trademark office cannot reject “disparaging” applications—
like a request from an Oregon band to trademark “the Slants” as in
Asian “slant eyes.”

The typical answer is that judges must balance benefits and harms.
If judges are asked to compare the harm of restricting speech – a
cherished core constitutional value – to the harm of hurt feelings,
judges will rightly choose to protect free expression. But perhaps
it’s nonsense to characterize the nature of the harm as nothing more
than an emotional scratch; that’s a reflection of the deep
inequalities in our society, and one that demonstrates a profound
misunderstanding of how hate speech affects its targets.

Legally, we tell members of traditionally disadvantaged groups that
they must live with hate speech except under very limited
circumstances. The KKK can parade down Main Street. People can’t
falsely yell fire in a theater but can yell the N-word at a person
of color. College women are told that a crowd of frat boys chanting
“no means yes and yes means anal” is something they must tolerate in
the name of (someone else’s) freedom.

“Because we are 'free' to be hateful, members of
traditionally marginalized groups suffer.

At the same time, our regime of free speech protects the powerful
and popular. Many city governments, for instance, have banned
panhandling at the behest of their business communities. The legal
justification is that the targets of begging (commuters, tourists,
and consumers) have important and legitimate purposes for being in
public: to get to work or to go shopping. The law therefore protects
them from aggressive requests for money.

Consider also the protections afforded to soldiers’ families in the
case of Westboro Baptist anti-gay demonstrations. When the Supreme
Court in 2011 upheld that church’s right to stage offensive
protetsts at veterans’ funerals, Congress passed the Honoring
America’s Veterans’ Act, which prohibits any protests 300 to 500
feet around such funerals. (The statute made no mention of
protecting LGBTQ funeral attendees from hate speech, just soldiers’
families).

So soldiers’ families, shoppers and workers are protected from
troubling speech. People of color, women walking down public streets
or just living in their dorm on a college campus are not. The only
way to justify this disparity is to argue that commuters asked for
money on the way to work experience a tangible harm, while women
catcalled and worse on the way to work do not — as if being the
target of a request for change is worse than being racially
disparaged by a stranger.

In fact, empirical data suggest that frequent verbal harassment can
lead to various negative consequences. Racist hate speech has been
linked to cigarette smoking, high blood pressure, anxiety,
depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, and requires complex
coping strategies. Exposure to racial slurs also diminishes academic
performance. Women subjected to sexualized speech may develop a
phenomenon of “self-objectification,” which is associated with
eating disorders.

These negative physical and mental health outcomes — which embody
the historical roots of race and gender oppression — mean that hate
speech is not “just speech.” Hate speech is doing something. It
results in tangible harms that are serious in and of themselves and
that collectively amount to the harm of subordination. The harm of
perpetuating discrimination. The harm of creating inequality.

Instead of characterizing racist and sexist hate speech as “just
speech,” courts and legislatures need to account for this research
and, perhaps, allow the restriction of hate speech as do all of the
other economically advanced democracies in the world.

Many readers will find this line of thinking repellent. They will
insist that protecting hate speech is consistent with and even
central to our founding principles. They will argue that regulating
hate speech would amount to a serious break from our tradition. They
will trivialize the harms that social science research undeniably
associates with being the target of hate speech, and call people
seeking recognition of these affronts “snowflakes.”

But these free-speech absolutists must at least acknowledge two
facts. First, the right to speak already is far from absolute.
Second, they are asking disadvantaged members of our society to
shoulder a heavy burden with serious consequences. Because we are
“free” to be hateful, members of traditionally marginalized groups
suffer.

:Laura Beth Nielsen is director of the legal studies program and
:professor of sociology at Northwestern University and research
:professor at the American Bar Foundation. She is the author of
:“License to Harass: Law, Hierarchy, and Offensive Public Speech.”
--
Dems & the media want Trump to be more like Obama, but then he'd
have to audit liberals & wire tap reporters' phones.
Wayne
2017-06-27 17:12:13 UTC
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Post by Ubiquitous
As a sociologist and legal scholar, I struggle to explain the
boundaries of free speech to undergraduates. Despite the 1st
Amendment—I tell my students—local, state, and federal laws limit
all kinds of speech. We regulate advertising, obscenity, slander,
libel, and inciting lawless action to name just a few. My students
nod along until we get to racist and sexist speech. Some can’t grasp
why, if we restrict so many forms of speech, we don’t also restrict
hate speech. Why, for example, did the Supreme Court on Monday rule
that the trademark office cannot reject “disparaging” applications—
like a request from an Oregon band to trademark “the Slants” as in
Asian “slant eyes.”
The typical answer is that judges must balance benefits and harms.
If judges are asked to compare the harm of restricting speech – a
cherished core constitutional value – to the harm of hurt feelings,
judges will rightly choose to protect free expression. But perhaps
it’s nonsense to characterize the nature of the harm as nothing more
than an emotional scratch; that’s a reflection of the deep
inequalities in our society, and one that demonstrates a profound
misunderstanding of how hate speech affects its targets.
Legally, we tell members of traditionally disadvantaged groups that
they must live with hate speech except under very limited
circumstances. The KKK can parade down Main Street. People can’t
falsely yell fire in a theater but can yell the N-word at a person
of color. College women are told that a crowd of frat boys chanting
“no means yes and yes means anal” is something they must tolerate in
the name of (someone else’s) freedom.
“Because we are 'free' to be hateful, members of
traditionally marginalized groups suffer.
At the same time, our regime of free speech protects the powerful
and popular. Many city governments, for instance, have banned
panhandling at the behest of their business communities. The legal
justification is that the targets of begging (commuters, tourists,
and consumers) have important and legitimate purposes for being in
public: to get to work or to go shopping. The law therefore protects
them from aggressive requests for money.
Consider also the protections afforded to soldiers’ families in the
case of Westboro Baptist anti-gay demonstrations. When the Supreme
Court in 2011 upheld that church’s right to stage offensive
protetsts at veterans’ funerals, Congress passed the Honoring
America’s Veterans’ Act, which prohibits any protests 300 to 500
feet around such funerals. (The statute made no mention of
protecting LGBTQ funeral attendees from hate speech, just soldiers’
families).
So soldiers’ families, shoppers and workers are protected from
troubling speech. People of color, women walking down public streets
or just living in their dorm on a college campus are not. The only
way to justify this disparity is to argue that commuters asked for
money on the way to work experience a tangible harm, while women
catcalled and worse on the way to work do not — as if being the
target of a request for change is worse than being racially
disparaged by a stranger.
In fact, empirical data suggest that frequent verbal harassment can
lead to various negative consequences. Racist hate speech has been
linked to cigarette smoking, high blood pressure, anxiety,
depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, and requires complex
coping strategies. Exposure to racial slurs also diminishes academic
performance. Women subjected to sexualized speech may develop a
phenomenon of “self-objectification,” which is associated with
eating disorders.
These negative physical and mental health outcomes — which embody
the historical roots of race and gender oppression — mean that hate
speech is not “just speech.” Hate speech is doing something. It
results in tangible harms that are serious in and of themselves and
that collectively amount to the harm of subordination. The harm of
perpetuating discrimination. The harm of creating inequality.
Instead of characterizing racist and sexist hate speech as “just
speech,” courts and legislatures need to account for this research
and, perhaps, allow the restriction of hate speech as do all of the
other economically advanced democracies in the world.
Many readers will find this line of thinking repellent. They will
insist that protecting hate speech is consistent with and even
central to our founding principles. They will argue that regulating
hate speech would amount to a serious break from our tradition. They
will trivialize the harms that social science research undeniably
associates with being the target of hate speech, and call people
seeking recognition of these affronts “snowflakes.”
But these free-speech absolutists must at least acknowledge two
facts. First, the right to speak already is far from absolute.
Second, they are asking disadvantaged members of our society to
shoulder a heavy burden with serious consequences. Because we are
“free” to be hateful, members of traditionally marginalized groups
suffer.
:Laura Beth Nielsen is director of the legal studies program and
:professor of sociology at Northwestern University and research
:professor at the American Bar Foundation. She is the author of
:“License to Harass: Law, Hierarchy, and Offensive Public Speech.”
This was written by a typical liberal fucking nutjob.
The trick here is to examine a subject in finer and finer detail until
you can conclude the wrong answer.

Free speech is not complicated.
#BeamMeUpScotty
2017-06-28 23:34:06 UTC
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Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Ubiquitous
As a sociologist and legal scholar, I struggle to explain the
boundaries of free speech to undergraduates. Despite the 1st
Amendment—I tell my students—local, state, and federal laws limit
all kinds of speech. We regulate advertising, obscenity, slander,
libel, and inciting lawless action to name just a few. My students
nod along until we get to racist and sexist speech. Some can’t grasp
why, if we restrict so many forms of speech, we don’t also restrict
hate speech. Why, for example, did the Supreme Court on Monday rule
that the trademark office cannot reject “disparaging” applications—
like a request from an Oregon band to trademark “the Slants” as in
Asian “slant eyes.”
The typical answer is that judges must balance benefits and harms.
If judges are asked to compare the harm of restricting speech – a
cherished core constitutional value – to the harm of hurt feelings,
judges will rightly choose to protect free expression. But perhaps
it’s nonsense to characterize the nature of the harm as nothing more
than an emotional scratch; that’s a reflection of the deep
inequalities in our society, and one that demonstrates a profound
misunderstanding of how hate speech affects its targets.
Legally, we tell members of traditionally disadvantaged groups that
they must live with hate speech except under very limited
circumstances. The KKK can parade down Main Street.
But so can the BLACK PANTHERS.... or #BLM.

Being offensive isn't a crime. And seeing an offensive flag isn't a crime.

Public nudity can be offensive depending on who it is that's nude. Yet
we don't allow good looking people to go around naked. Why would you
allow nice things to be said but NOT the offensive things, you either
allow them all or none to be voiced just as you allow all or none to
walk around naked.

Free speech is like nudity, you can't ban just the ugly offensive part
of society that you don't want to see. You ban all or none.
--
That's Karma
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