SR_thePangloss – Fightin' Words: Defining Hate Speech
Most people would assume that the concept of "hate speech" is pretty clear cut, and dealing with it is fairly straightforward. However, this is something that the founders of the U.S. Constitution debated extensively and the contemporary Supreme Courts have continually tweaked. So, yes, I think we should seriously decide what it is and how to deal with it.
"Problem" of Free Speech
This is an issue of protecting community interests (i.e. solidarity, respect, mutual collaboration, etc.) vs. protecting the right to free expression of the individual. While I believe that protecting free expression of the individual is absolutely imperative, it should go without saying that if an individual expresses their self in a manner that necessarily limits the expression of others, then this is NOT "free expression". EXAMPLE:
Person A: I think GKMC is one of the best Rap albums in decades because...
Person B: OP is #1 phaggit Kendrick stan
By actively promoting a culture where rational discussion is attacked on the basis of irrational observations, thus discouraging rational discussion, Person B has infringed on the right of Person A to freely express themselves. Essentially, *them's fightin' words*...
- - They have no social value
- They are directed at the individual, rather than the pertinent points of disagreement
- They provoke any reasonable person to then lash out in defense, creating an endless circle of conflict.
Hate Speech vs. Hate Action
The Supreme Court has, at times, made the distinction between "hate acts" and "hate speech" (see: R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul, 505 U.S. 377 ). In summary:
- - Some kid decided to burn a cross in the yard of the only black family in town.
- As per Minnesota criminal law, it was illegal to place, on public or private property, a burning cross, swastika, or other symbol likely to arouse “anger, alarm, or resentment in others on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, or gender.”
- The Supreme Court struck down this law, on the basis that it infringed upon free speech. HOWEVER, they did not rule on whether the act itself was legal (which, is not the Supreme Court's business anyway)
- In other words, this legislation against free speech was unnecessary to begin with, as the boy had already broken several laws in trespassing and destroying private property.
While I'd argue that the principle of protecting free speech only applies to democratically-elected governing bodies (I mean, duh..), I also believe in protecting the Internet as a tool for free speech. This is something that should be especially important to RG, and why I assume they have been slow to set any specific guidelines in stone (see Facebook & Twitter's free speech problems to understand why this makes sense). For this reason, if we are going to tighten up on the way users interact within the forum, we absolutely have to open up a (less visible) space where users have more freedom in expressing themselves. Sure, respect of free expression is hugely important, but that doesn't mean that RG must give you a highly visible platform in which to express. If you want that platform, you need to go ahead and build it yourself (i.e. through lyric pages..s/o Tunes lol).
- 1. This principle of unconditional free speech (right to use the words "faggot, cunt, etc." in direct reference to individual users) that I'm seeing from some mods has no precedent in the history of Human society.
2. We should look at ways to punish specific, discrete hate actions, rather than beliefs we don't agree with.
3. At the same time, we HAVE to promote a culture of healthy debate and disagreement. Which means, no..your opinion does not inherently deserve respect, but you as a person deserve respect.
4. As such, attacking a system of beliefs (e.g. people should be allowed to have sex with any consenting adult they want) should be deemed perfectly acceptable (contingent on intellectual rigor of the attack). However, attacking an individual based on nothing more than your dislike of their opinion/action, should be penalized.
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