In Defense of Prejudice: Why Incendiary Speech Must Be Protected

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In Defense of Prejudice: Why incendiary Speech Must Be Protected Jonathan Rauch By Glenn Langohr- In this article we look at hate speech. Opposition to “hate speech” formerly identified with the liberal left, has become a bipartisan piety. An Example of how serious an issue “hate speech” is becoming is the forced resignation of Francis Lawrence, the president of Rutgers University for describing blacks as “Colored monkeys”. The issue of defining “hate speech” and the context the speech is used gets unclear in the example of a student saying and thinking that homosexuality can be treated like a disease. “God hates homosexuals” is a statement of fact, not bias to those who believe it, and “American criminals are disproportionately black” is a statement of bias, not of fact, to those who disbelieve it is another example of different belief systems. These different values and beliefs make it impossible to define hate speech and bigotry. This new crusade against prejudice is a purist stance and is often used for points in politics or coverage for celebrities.

The problem with this direction is eventually a criticism of any group will be “prejudice”. The irony of the new purism: words, which pluralists hope can be substituted for violence, are redefined by purists as violence. They are calling it “psychic injury”, “assaultive speech”, “words that wound”, and “oppressive language does more than represent violence; it is violence.” The article ends with a gripping example of the fear of violence a gay man is subjected to on a subway by a bunch of unknown youth. My opinion on if incendiary speech should be protected is in line with the first amendment and Supreme Court rulings. “Fighting words” is a good way to look at if the verbal assault is past the point of provoking. But even these kinds of epithets can be very hard to define when considering context. It could be innocent without ill intention based on education, culture, where you are located, or a friendly joke to others of the same ilk. For example, I use the word nigger in the way the dictionary defines it, to put people including myself down for being a miser.

There is no defense for prejudice when it comes to hate speech. Psychic injury and fighting words are oppressive and cause deep mental pain and lead to violence. One thing the U.S. War on Drugs has done positive: shown us that addiction and poverty effects every race and creed. If we all come together for the common good of the children we have to leave prejudice behind.

Source by Glenn T Langohr

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