Hate Speech

Discussion in 'Politics' started by dotslashfuture, Apr 10, 2003.

  1. picknclick,

    Shouting down people is free speech? When the intent is to deny others the right to hear what's being said? Sounds more like censorship to me. But then I also have trouble finding much content in people chaining themselves to bridges.
    #11     Apr 10, 2003
  2. pick,

    About hate crimes. I have a problem with them because they tend to criminalize wrong thinking or attitudes. To me that comes too close to thought crimes. It's a very small step from there to just criminalizing wrong thinking itself. Campus speech codes, which penalize the expression of un-PC thoughts, are an example where this leads.

    I think it is always dubious when the law says in effect, this person is more valuable than you are. We are going to give him more protection than we give you for the exact same crime.

    There is also a big problem of selective prosecution. I don't have statistics at hand but I have seen data indicating they are rarely used for example in mixed race crimes unless the perpetrator was white.

    Bottom line, I am all for protecting everybody from violent crime, just let's do it equally.
    #12     Apr 10, 2003
  3. AAA is 95% correct but where he is wrong shows quite an insensitivity.

    Does the burning of crosses as a symbolic gesture have any other association than white supremacist intimidation and threat?

    Public acts are subject to legislation, and public institutions have more restrictions on what they must and what they cannot allow. You can go on the street corner and say any number of disgusting things, so long as that speech does unduly burden the rights and/or threaten the interest of the welfare of the individual and the community.

    Private clubs have a little more leeway in what they can allow and cannot. That's why the Klansmen can get together in their clubhouses and discuss their philosophy without governmental interference. And another club cwith differ ideas could throw a Klansman out of their clubhouse.

    But the Klan can't march down the streets of black neighborhoods burning crosses because it creates a reasonable threat in the minds of the residents whether or not those klansmen voice a specific intention to do harm while marching with their burning crosses.
    #13     Apr 10, 2003
  4. If you mean that a black person can use derogatory and racist terms while mugging and beating a white person and not be subject to hate crime legislation but if the roles were reversed a hate crime would exist, I agree with you 100%.

    There is a strange view that a minority cannot be racist because racism is about power. I am sure that a member of the majority singled out for abuse or as a victim of crime perpetrated by a minority would have a distinctly different experience about who is empowered and who is not.
    #14     Apr 10, 2003
  5. rs7


    No, this is not how it works!

    Hate crimes legislation is something I know a little bit about since my wife was somewhat involved in writing the Florida hate crimes statutes.

    What seems to be ignored here is that "hate crimes" are not limited by definition, at least in Florida to any specific group.
    Everyone is a potential beneficiary of hate crimes laws.

    The real purpose of defining and punishing a crime as a "hate crime" is without a doubt a measure of deterence and prevention. How anyone can object to this is beyond my understanding.

    While the Florida hate crimes bill was essentially drafted by the fine thinkers in the Miami office of the Anti Defamation League, contributions were made by politicians and lawyers with virtually all political affiliations. And certainly, the ADL itself has no political affiliation. Last year, the annual dinner's guest speaker was Sam Donaldson, who came across rather left of center. But the previous year's speaker was George Bush (Sr.). So what does that say about where the ADL's political allegiance lies? Two years before that, Colin Powell was the speaker. (In between was Harry Belafonte, who put everyone to sleep, so I have no idea what his views were, or even what he was talking about). Bill Bradley was a few years before. So it seems a pretty balanced show.

    From reading what has been said here, one would infer that hate crimes legislation is written and endorsed by "liberals". Not so.
    Is Jeb Bush a "liberal"? Is Florida a state that is more "liberal" than "conservative"?

    Today, all FBI and CIA agents are now required to attend classes on what constitutes hate crimes, and how best to deal with and prevent them. These courses were originally developed by the ADL, and modified for the CIA and FBI. Now, police departments across the country are also incorporating these courses into their academy training. I went to a seminar on just this subject given by the police commissioner of the Philadelphia Police Department (they have come a long way from Rizzo).

    Anybody can be a victim of a hate crime. Period. It doesn't take a Hitler, or a Klansman to be guilty of a hate crime. It can be anyone who is the perpetrator, and anyone who can be the victim.

    Anyone who disagrees should read the statutes before arguing against them. Because there really is no argument.

    Hate crimes are widely misunderstood to be some sort of protection for minority groups. This is not the case. All kinds of people hate all kinds of other people. And if a group of a minority commits a crime against a group or individual of a majority, that too is a hate crime. It is about bigotry. Not about one way racism, or protecting gays, women, or any other specifically named group. It is about protecting people from other people who, with discrimination commit a crime. Pure and simple.

    #15     Apr 10, 2003
  6. I am pretty sure that AAA referred to an uneven application of hate crime laws.

    If you agree with the content and purpose of the laws then you have to be color blind in its application. Pure and simple in theory.

    Being White, Christian, and rich in itself does not exempt you from the possibility of being a victim of a hate crime. Just like you said, anyone can be a victim of a hate crime. But many will disagree on what constitutes a hate crime when they take into account the races of the parties. Pure and simple in practice.

    #16     Apr 11, 2003
  7. they criminalize opinion.
    #17     Apr 11, 2003
  8. dgabriel is right. I was referring to the fact that these laws are applied in an uneven manner. That's really not too surprising since they are very political. Ambitious DA's seeking headlines are looking for the stereotypical KKK type case. They don't want the grief from black activists if they start applying the laws the way rs7 naively assumes they work.

    But that is really only a detail. The main reason to oppose these laws is that they grant people special legal rights by virtue of membership in a favored group that has been able to exert enough political power to get this protection. If rs7 and I live side by side and someone burns his house down because they don't like him and burns mine down because they don't like my skin color, why should the penalties be different?

    There is a kind of hidden assumption in the arguments for these laws that they are needed because otherwise these crimes won't be punished. That is clearly untrue, as the underlying act, whether it is assault or whatever, is already a crime. Why isn't that enough?
    #18     Apr 11, 2003
  9. Yes. If someone has a view that you don't appreciate you are allowed to speak against that viewpoint. Why would that be censorship? People have an equal right to free speech, and unless they are in a structured debate with rules, I don't see why one person has to speak in turn.
    Also, one of the main tools of protestors is chanting, and when there are two opposing groups chanting, is this censorship?
    #19     Apr 11, 2003
  10. Everyone should be protected. Judging from the main arguments of both sides, everyone agrees on this point. Hate crime legislation protects "marginalized" citizens from actions resulting from points of view that are "un-PC". I think that there is a nobility in these laws, and as long as nobody is robbed of their liberty in any way, they're acceptable.
    The question is what in the law robs citizens of liberty... in thought or speech? Nothing. You are still able to believe whatever you want, say whatever you want. The problem is when this translates into action. I think the main goal in this type of legislation is to protect society by providing a further deterrent to violent crime.
    As for the application of the law, that's always a problem that needs addressing. But I don't think that a law should be repealed because it's applied wrong... unless it's the death penalty (since we can't bring back people if we get it wrong). We should fix the problem, hold hearings, have debate, etc. until we refine the application so that it works for all involved.
    #20     Apr 11, 2003