Friday, May 5, 2017

Hate Speech

I have seen several instances where people have claimed that the First Amendment does not cover "hate speech", which they seemed to define as any speech they don't like.  So I went looking for the legal definition if there is one.  Below is what I found on a site about legal topics.
Hate speech is a communication that carries no meaning other than the expression of hatred for some group, especially in circumstances in which the communication is likely to provoke violence. It is an incitement to hatred primarily against a group of persons defined in terms of race, ethnicity, national origin, gender, religion, sexual orientation, and the like. Hate speech can be any form of expression regarded as offensive to racial, ethnic and religious groups and other discrete minorities or to women.
The first two sentences are perfectly understandable and make sense to me.  You don't get to promote violence or express simple hatred for any group, you can't say "Jews/Blacks/Muslims/Gays/Atheists/etc are a stain on the earth and must be wiped out".
But the last sentence gets me.  Any form of expression regarded as offensive?  By any discrete minority?  I have news, straight men are a discrete minority, regular churchgoing Christians are a discrete minority, married couples with children under 18 are a discrete minority, and so on.  We are no longer some kind of monolithic society.  "regarded as offensive"???  Wow, that opens it up nicely, if anyone doesn't like it for any reason, that's close enough to make it hate speech?  This is how you torpedo the First Amendment while sounding like you're the Good Guy protecting everyone.
If this is the accepted legal definition, we are all in trouble now.

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