Archive for the ‘Hate Speech’ Category

Facebook explains why it’s bad at catching hate speech – The Verge – The Verge

As part of Facebooks promise to answer hard questions, the company has published a long explanation of how it finds and removes hate speech or at least, why its often not very good at it. The post runs through the difficulties of defining hate speech across different countries, teaching AI to handle its nuances, and separating intentionally hateful posts from ones that describe hate speech to critique it.

Facebook lays out ambiguous scenarios that could flummox automated tools, including insulting terms that communities have reclaimed. It also describes some cases where it clearly got things wrong: it removed a piece of hate mail that activist Shaun King had posted in order to condemn, for example, a mistake Facebook acknowledges can be deeply upsetting. (It later restored the post.) It also lists occasions where it thinks it made the right call on a difficult issue. But it doesnt delve into some of the thorniest hate speech questions, like semantic tweaks that turn ugly sentiments into acceptable opinions migrants are dirt versus migrants are dirty, to cite one example from last year.

This is a problem that goes beyond hate speech; as leaked moderation guidelines showed, theres a frustratingly fine line versus serious and non-serious threats. And it requires responding to several different sets of legal requirements, because a hateful post could be acceptable in one country and banned in another.

Theres one major, unstated background question: can Facebook ever come up with a system that can handle its nearly 2 billion users? The company says it removes around 66,000 hate mail posts per week, and it relies heavily on user flagging to catch them. Facebook is committing to adding 3,000 more members to its 4,500-strong moderation team, but thats still minuscule for a platform so big. And if Facebook ever wants to really solve its moderation problems, it will have to find its purpose first.

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Facebook explains why it’s bad at catching hate speech – The Verge – The Verge

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Lowry: Yes, hate speech is also free speech – hngnews.com

With the left feverishly attempting to squash unwelcome speech on college campuses, with the president of the United States musing about tightening libel laws, with prominent liberals asserting that so-called hate speech is not protected by the First Amendment, free speech in America at least has one reliable friend — the Supreme Court of the United States.

In a firm 8-0 decision, the court slapped down the Patent and Trademark Office for denying federal trademark registration to a band named The Slants, a derogatory term for Asian-Americans.

As it happens, The Slants is an Asian-American band that seeks to reclaim and take ownership of anti-Asian stereotypes (it has released albums called The Yellow Album and Slanted Eyes, Slanted Hearts). This didnt matter to the trademark office any more than it presumably would to the dean of students at the average liberal-arts college.

The litigation hinged on a provision of federal trademark law referred to as the disparagement clause. This clause forbids registration for any trademark which may disparage … persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols, or bring them into contempt or disrepute. Taken literally, this provision would forbid the disparagement of the KKK, an institution; or Benito Mussolini, a person who is dead; or Vladimir Putin, a person who is living.

The trademark office interprets the clause with all the wisdom youd expect of a federal bureaucracy. As its manual puts it, an examiner determines whether or not the mark would be found disparaging by a substantial composite, although not necessarily a majority, of the referenced group. So, merely a plurality of the offended will do, and common sense is no defense.

This is classic safe-space reasoning — the harm that would allegedly befall some portion of a group from encountering an offending trademark should trump the free-speech rights of the likes of The Slants. The court utterly rejected this posture, deeming it inimical to a free society and untenable under the U.S. Constitution.

In a passage that should be pasted into the student handbook of every college and read aloud by progressives who have convinced themselves that hate speech is not free speech, the court held, Speech that demeans on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, disability, or any other similar ground is hateful; but the proudest boast of our free speech jurisprudence is that we protect the freedom to express the thought that we hate.

As the courts concurring opinion noted, basing the trademark prohibition on the presumed reactions of an offended group doesnt help — a speech burden based on audience reactions is simply government hostility and intervention in a different guise.

The disparagement clause was the wedge that activists were trying to use to force the Washington Redskins to change the NFL teams name (the team has been fighting the cancellation of its trademark in court). And every effort by the speech police to spread their operations from college campuses to the wider society must be resisted.

In this case, they came for a self-described Chinatown Dance Rock band with a cheeky name, and the Supreme Court said, Sorry, not in America.

Rich Lowry is editor of the National Review; opinions are his own.

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Lowry: Yes, hate speech is also free speech – hngnews.com

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Bokhari: The Left Has Embraced Hate Speech but Won’t Admit It – Breitbart News

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Nikki Haley faces ‘hate speech’ at LGBT pride parade in NY – The Jerusalem Post

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Alternative Chicago Pride event ‘inclusive’ to all, except Jews

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Nikki Haley faces ‘hate speech’ at LGBT pride parade in NY – The Jerusalem Post

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We regulate slander. Why not hate speech? | Public … – Frederick News Post (subscription)

As a sociologist and legal scholar, I struggle to explain the boundaries of free speech to undergraduates. Despite the First 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 cant grasp why, if we restrict so many forms of speech, we dont 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 its nonsense to characterize the nature of the harm as nothing more than an emotional scratch; thats 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 cant 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 elses) freedom.

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 churchs right to stage offensive protests at veterans funerals, Congress passed the Honoring Americas 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 is already 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.

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We regulate slander. Why not hate speech? | Public … – Frederick News Post (subscription)

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We regulate slander. Why not hate speech? – The Missoulian

As a sociologist and legal scholar, I struggle to explain the boundaries of free speech to undergraduates. Despite the First 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 cant grasp why, if we restrict so many forms of speech, we dont 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 its nonsense to characterize the nature of the harm as nothing more than an emotional scratch; thats 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 cant 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 elses) freedom.

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 churchs right to stage offensive protests at veterans funerals, Congress passed the Honoring Americas 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. She wrote this for the Los Angeles Times.

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We regulate slander. Why not hate speech? – The Missoulian

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Rich Lowry: Yes, hate speech is free speech | National Editorials … – Daily Herald

With the left feverishly attempting to squash unwelcome speech on college campuses, with the president of the United States musing about tightening libel laws, with prominent liberals asserting that so-called hate speech is not protected by the First Amendment, free speech in America at least has one reliable friend the Supreme Court of the United States.

In a firm 8-0 decision, the court slapped down the Patent and Trademark Office for denying a band federal trademark registration for the name The Slants, a derogatory term for Asian-Americans. The case involves a very small corner of federal law, but implicates the broader logic of political correctness, which is that speech should be silenced for the greater good if there is a chance that someone, somewhere might be offended by it.

As it happens, The Slants is an Asian-American band that seeks to reclaim and take ownership of anti-Asian stereotypes (it has released albums called The Yellow Album and Slanted Eyes, Slanted Hearts). This didnt matter to the trademark office any more than it presumably would to the dean of students at the average liberal-arts college. The Slants appealed the initial rejection to the trademark office, got rebuffed again and then rightly made a federal case of it.

The litigation hinged on a provision of federal trademark law referred to as the disparagement clause. This clause forbids registration for any trademark which may disparage … persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols, or bring them into contempt or disrepute. Taken literally, this provision would forbid the disparagement of the KKK, an institution; or Benito Mussolini, a person who is dead; or Vladimir Putin, a person who is living.

The trademark office interprets the clause with all the wisdom youd expect of a federal bureaucracy. As the trademark offices manual puts it, an examiner determines whether or not the mark would be found disparaging by a substantial composite, although not necessarily a majority, of the referenced group. So, merely a plurality of the offended will do, and common sense is no defense: The fact that an applicant may be a member of that group or has good intentions underlying its use of a term does not obviate the fact that a substantial composite of the referenced group would find the term objectionable.

This is classic safe-space reasoning the harm that would allegedly befall some portion of a group from encountering an offending trademark should trump the free-speech rights of the likes of The Slants. The court utterly rejected this posture, deeming it inimical to a free society and untenable under the U.S. Constitution.

In a passage that should be pasted into the student handbook of every college and read aloud by progressives who have convinced themselves that hate speech is not free speech, the court held, Speech that demeans on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, disability, or any other similar ground is hateful; but the proudest boast of our free speech jurisprudence is that we protect the freedom to express the thought that we hate.

As the courts concurring opinion noted, basing the trademark prohibition on the presumed reactions of an offended group doesnt help a speech burden based on audience reactions is simply government hostility and intervention in a different guise.

The practices of the Patent and Trademark Office obviously arent the most significant grounds for contention over speech. But the disparagement clause was the wedge that activists were trying to use to force the Washington Redskins to change the NFL teams name (the team has been fighting the cancellation of its trademark in court). And every effort by the speech police to spread their operations from college campuses to the wider society must be resisted.

In this case, they came for a self-described Chinatown Dance Rock band with a cheeky name, and the Supreme Court said, sorry, not in America.

More here:

Rich Lowry: Yes, hate speech is free speech | National Editorials … – Daily Herald

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Tackling hate speech on social media – The Hindu


The Hindu
Tackling hate speech on social media
The Hindu
He lost the case, but the trial led to heated discussions on tackling online hate speech in Germany, a country that has some of the toughest laws on the subject. German Justice Minister Heiko Maas has proposed legislation that, if passed in Parliament

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Tackling hate speech on social media – The Hindu

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The Supreme Court protected free speech with their decision in Matal v. Tam – National Review

With the Left feverishly attempting to squash unwelcome speech on college campuses, with the president of the United States musing about tightening libel laws, with prominent liberals asserting that so-called hate speech is not protected by the First Amendment, free speech in America at least has one reliable friend the Supreme Court of the United States.

In a firm 8-0 decision, the court slapped down the Patent and Trademark Office for denying a band federal trademark registration for the name The Slants, a derogatory term for Asian-Americans. The case involves a very small corner of federal law, but implicates the broader logic of political correctness, which is that speech should be silenced for the greater good if there is a chance that someone, somewhere might be offended by it.

As it happens, The Slants is an Asian-American band that seeks to reclaim and take ownership of anti-Asian stereotypes (it has released albums called The Yellow Albumand Slanted Eyes, Slanted Hearts). This didnt matter to the trademark office any more than it presumably would to the dean of students at the average liberal-arts college. The Slantsappealed the initial rejection to the trademark office, got rebuffed again and then rightly made a federal case of it.

The litigation hinged on a provision of federal trademark law referred to as the disparagement clause. This clause forbids registration for any trademark which may disparage persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols, or bring them into contempt or disrepute. Taken literally, this provision would forbid the disparagement of the KKK, an institution; or Benito Mussolini, a person who is dead; or Vladimir Putin, a person who is living.

The trademark office interprets the clause with all the wisdom youd expect of a federal bureaucracy. As the trademark offices manual puts it, an examiner determines whether or not the mark would be found disparaging by a substantial composite, although not necessarily a majority, of the referenced group. So, merely a plurality of the offended will do, and common sense is no defense: The fact that an applicant may be a member of that group or has good intentions underlying its use of a term does not obviate the fact that a substantial composite of the referenced group would find the term objectionable.

This is classic safe-space reasoning the harm that would allegedly befall some portion of a group from encountering an offending trademark should trump the free-speech rights of the likes of The Slants.The court utterly rejected this posture, deeming it inimical to a free society and untenable under the U.S. Constitution.

In a passage that should be pasted into the student handbook of every college and read aloud by progressives who have convinced themselves that hate speech is not free speech, the court held, Speech that demeans on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, disability, or any other similar ground is hateful; but the proudest boast of our free speech jurisprudence is that we protect the freedom to express the thought that we hate.

As the courts concurring opinion noted, basing the trademark prohibition on the presumed reactions of an offended group doesnt help a speech burden based on audience reactions is simply government hostility and intervention in a different guise.

The practices of the Patent and Trademark Office obviously arent the most significant grounds for contention over speech. But the disparagement clause was the wedge that activists were trying to use to force the Washington Redskins to change the NFL teams name (the team has been fighting the cancellation of its trademark in court). And every effort by the speech police to spread their operations from college campuses to the wider society must be resisted.

In this case, they came for a self-described Chinatown Dance Rock band with a cheeky name, and the Supreme Court said, Sorry, not in America.

READ MORE: In Congress, a Move to Affirm Free Speech on Campus To Both Sides in Americas Dialogue Wars: Disarm Year of the Shout-Down: It Was Worse Than You Think

Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review. He can be reached via e-mail: [emailprotected]. 2017 King Features Syndicate

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The Supreme Court protected free speech with their decision in Matal v. Tam – National Review

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Facebook explains why it’s bad at catching hate speech – The Verge – The Verge

As part of Facebooks promise to answer hard questions, the company has published a long explanation of how it finds and removes hate speech or at least, why its often not very good at it. The post runs through the difficulties of defining hate speech across different countries, teaching AI to handle its nuances, and separating intentionally hateful posts from ones that describe hate speech to critique it. Facebook lays out ambiguous scenarios that could flummox automated tools, including insulting terms that communities have reclaimed. It also describes some cases where it clearly got things wrong: it removed a piece of hate mail that activist Shaun King had posted in order to condemn, for example, a mistake Facebook acknowledges can be deeply upsetting. (It later restored the post.) It also lists occasions where it thinks it made the right call on a difficult issue. But it doesnt delve into some of the thorniest hate speech questions, like semantic tweaks that turn ugly sentiments into acceptable opinions migrants are dirt versus migrants are dirty, to cite one example from last year. This is a problem that goes beyond hate speech; as leaked moderation guidelines showed, theres a frustratingly fine line versus serious and non-serious threats. And it requires responding to several different sets of legal requirements, because a hateful post could be acceptable in one country and banned in another. Theres one major, unstated background question: can Facebook ever come up with a system that can handle its nearly 2 billion users? The company says it removes around 66,000 hate mail posts per week, and it relies heavily on user flagging to catch them. Facebook is committing to adding 3,000 more members to its 4,500-strong moderation team, but thats still minuscule for a platform so big. And if Facebook ever wants to really solve its moderation problems, it will have to find its purpose first.

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Lowry: Yes, hate speech is also free speech – hngnews.com

With the left feverishly attempting to squash unwelcome speech on college campuses, with the president of the United States musing about tightening libel laws, with prominent liberals asserting that so-called hate speech is not protected by the First Amendment, free speech in America at least has one reliable friend — the Supreme Court of the United States. In a firm 8-0 decision, the court slapped down the Patent and Trademark Office for denying federal trademark registration to a band named The Slants, a derogatory term for Asian-Americans. As it happens, The Slants is an Asian-American band that seeks to reclaim and take ownership of anti-Asian stereotypes (it has released albums called The Yellow Album and Slanted Eyes, Slanted Hearts). This didnt matter to the trademark office any more than it presumably would to the dean of students at the average liberal-arts college. The litigation hinged on a provision of federal trademark law referred to as the disparagement clause. This clause forbids registration for any trademark which may disparage … persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols, or bring them into contempt or disrepute. Taken literally, this provision would forbid the disparagement of the KKK, an institution; or Benito Mussolini, a person who is dead; or Vladimir Putin, a person who is living. The trademark office interprets the clause with all the wisdom youd expect of a federal bureaucracy. As its manual puts it, an examiner determines whether or not the mark would be found disparaging by a substantial composite, although not necessarily a majority, of the referenced group. So, merely a plurality of the offended will do, and common sense is no defense. This is classic safe-space reasoning — the harm that would allegedly befall some portion of a group from encountering an offending trademark should trump the free-speech rights of the likes of The Slants. The court utterly rejected this posture, deeming it inimical to a free society and untenable under the U.S. Constitution. In a passage that should be pasted into the student handbook of every college and read aloud by progressives who have convinced themselves that hate speech is not free speech, the court held, Speech that demeans on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, disability, or any other similar ground is hateful; but the proudest boast of our free speech jurisprudence is that we protect the freedom to express the thought that we hate. As the courts concurring opinion noted, basing the trademark prohibition on the presumed reactions of an offended group doesnt help — a speech burden based on audience reactions is simply government hostility and intervention in a different guise. The disparagement clause was the wedge that activists were trying to use to force the Washington Redskins to change the NFL teams name (the team has been fighting the cancellation of its trademark in court). And every effort by the speech police to spread their operations from college campuses to the wider society must be resisted. In this case, they came for a self-described Chinatown Dance Rock band with a cheeky name, and the Supreme Court said, Sorry, not in America. Rich Lowry is editor of the National Review; opinions are his own.

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Bokhari: The Left Has Embraced Hate Speech but Won’t Admit It – Breitbart News

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Nikki Haley faces ‘hate speech’ at LGBT pride parade in NY – The Jerusalem Post

OUR FREE DAILY NEWS BLAST Eric R. Mandel A rare consensus Ruthie Blum Ehud Baraks slippery slope Yaakov Katz Four ways to still advance Western Wall plan after the blow Caroline B. Glick Our World: The PLOs IDF lobbyists Tillerson: Break with Qatar by KSA, others won’t affect counter-terrorism Israel expects change in UN voting patterns, Netanyahu says after Africa trip ISIS claims responsibility for London attack REAL ESTATE CLASSIFIEDS Most Read Liberman: Syria wont be another Hezbollah front against Israel Jewish Agency cancels Netanyahu dinner after Western Wall decision Reports that Trump considering pulling out of peace efforts ‘nonsense,’ US official says Alternative Chicago Pride event ‘inclusive’ to all, except Jews

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We regulate slander. Why not hate speech? | Public … – Frederick News Post (subscription)

As a sociologist and legal scholar, I struggle to explain the boundaries of free speech to undergraduates. Despite the First 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 cant grasp why, if we restrict so many forms of speech, we dont 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 its nonsense to characterize the nature of the harm as nothing more than an emotional scratch; thats 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 cant 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 elses) freedom. 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 churchs right to stage offensive protests at veterans funerals, Congress passed the Honoring Americas 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 is already 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.

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June 27, 2017   Posted in: Hate Speech  Comments Closed

We regulate slander. Why not hate speech? – The Missoulian

As a sociologist and legal scholar, I struggle to explain the boundaries of free speech to undergraduates. Despite the First 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 cant grasp why, if we restrict so many forms of speech, we dont 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 its nonsense to characterize the nature of the harm as nothing more than an emotional scratch; thats 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 cant 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 elses) freedom. 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 churchs right to stage offensive protests at veterans funerals, Congress passed the Honoring Americas 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. She wrote this for the Los Angeles Times.

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June 25, 2017   Posted in: Hate Speech  Comments Closed

Rich Lowry: Yes, hate speech is free speech | National Editorials … – Daily Herald

With the left feverishly attempting to squash unwelcome speech on college campuses, with the president of the United States musing about tightening libel laws, with prominent liberals asserting that so-called hate speech is not protected by the First Amendment, free speech in America at least has one reliable friend the Supreme Court of the United States. In a firm 8-0 decision, the court slapped down the Patent and Trademark Office for denying a band federal trademark registration for the name The Slants, a derogatory term for Asian-Americans. The case involves a very small corner of federal law, but implicates the broader logic of political correctness, which is that speech should be silenced for the greater good if there is a chance that someone, somewhere might be offended by it. As it happens, The Slants is an Asian-American band that seeks to reclaim and take ownership of anti-Asian stereotypes (it has released albums called The Yellow Album and Slanted Eyes, Slanted Hearts). This didnt matter to the trademark office any more than it presumably would to the dean of students at the average liberal-arts college. The Slants appealed the initial rejection to the trademark office, got rebuffed again and then rightly made a federal case of it. The litigation hinged on a provision of federal trademark law referred to as the disparagement clause. This clause forbids registration for any trademark which may disparage … persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols, or bring them into contempt or disrepute. Taken literally, this provision would forbid the disparagement of the KKK, an institution; or Benito Mussolini, a person who is dead; or Vladimir Putin, a person who is living. The trademark office interprets the clause with all the wisdom youd expect of a federal bureaucracy. As the trademark offices manual puts it, an examiner determines whether or not the mark would be found disparaging by a substantial composite, although not necessarily a majority, of the referenced group. So, merely a plurality of the offended will do, and common sense is no defense: The fact that an applicant may be a member of that group or has good intentions underlying its use of a term does not obviate the fact that a substantial composite of the referenced group would find the term objectionable. This is classic safe-space reasoning the harm that would allegedly befall some portion of a group from encountering an offending trademark should trump the free-speech rights of the likes of The Slants. The court utterly rejected this posture, deeming it inimical to a free society and untenable under the U.S. Constitution. In a passage that should be pasted into the student handbook of every college and read aloud by progressives who have convinced themselves that hate speech is not free speech, the court held, Speech that demeans on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, disability, or any other similar ground is hateful; but the proudest boast of our free speech jurisprudence is that we protect the freedom to express the thought that we hate. As the courts concurring opinion noted, basing the trademark prohibition on the presumed reactions of an offended group doesnt help a speech burden based on audience reactions is simply government hostility and intervention in a different guise. The practices of the Patent and Trademark Office obviously arent the most significant grounds for contention over speech. But the disparagement clause was the wedge that activists were trying to use to force the Washington Redskins to change the NFL teams name (the team has been fighting the cancellation of its trademark in court). And every effort by the speech police to spread their operations from college campuses to the wider society must be resisted. In this case, they came for a self-described Chinatown Dance Rock band with a cheeky name, and the Supreme Court said, sorry, not in America.

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June 25, 2017   Posted in: Hate Speech  Comments Closed

Tackling hate speech on social media – The Hindu

The Hindu Tackling hate speech on social media The Hindu He lost the case, but the trial led to heated discussions on tackling online hate speech in Germany, a country that has some of the toughest laws on the subject. German Justice Minister Heiko Maas has proposed legislation that, if passed in Parliament …

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June 25, 2017   Posted in: Hate Speech  Comments Closed

The Supreme Court protected free speech with their decision in Matal v. Tam – National Review

With the Left feverishly attempting to squash unwelcome speech on college campuses, with the president of the United States musing about tightening libel laws, with prominent liberals asserting that so-called hate speech is not protected by the First Amendment, free speech in America at least has one reliable friend the Supreme Court of the United States. In a firm 8-0 decision, the court slapped down the Patent and Trademark Office for denying a band federal trademark registration for the name The Slants, a derogatory term for Asian-Americans. The case involves a very small corner of federal law, but implicates the broader logic of political correctness, which is that speech should be silenced for the greater good if there is a chance that someone, somewhere might be offended by it. As it happens, The Slants is an Asian-American band that seeks to reclaim and take ownership of anti-Asian stereotypes (it has released albums called The Yellow Albumand Slanted Eyes, Slanted Hearts). This didnt matter to the trademark office any more than it presumably would to the dean of students at the average liberal-arts college. The Slantsappealed the initial rejection to the trademark office, got rebuffed again and then rightly made a federal case of it. The litigation hinged on a provision of federal trademark law referred to as the disparagement clause. This clause forbids registration for any trademark which may disparage persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols, or bring them into contempt or disrepute. Taken literally, this provision would forbid the disparagement of the KKK, an institution; or Benito Mussolini, a person who is dead; or Vladimir Putin, a person who is living. The trademark office interprets the clause with all the wisdom youd expect of a federal bureaucracy. As the trademark offices manual puts it, an examiner determines whether or not the mark would be found disparaging by a substantial composite, although not necessarily a majority, of the referenced group. So, merely a plurality of the offended will do, and common sense is no defense: The fact that an applicant may be a member of that group or has good intentions underlying its use of a term does not obviate the fact that a substantial composite of the referenced group would find the term objectionable. This is classic safe-space reasoning the harm that would allegedly befall some portion of a group from encountering an offending trademark should trump the free-speech rights of the likes of The Slants.The court utterly rejected this posture, deeming it inimical to a free society and untenable under the U.S. Constitution. In a passage that should be pasted into the student handbook of every college and read aloud by progressives who have convinced themselves that hate speech is not free speech, the court held, Speech that demeans on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, disability, or any other similar ground is hateful; but the proudest boast of our free speech jurisprudence is that we protect the freedom to express the thought that we hate. As the courts concurring opinion noted, basing the trademark prohibition on the presumed reactions of an offended group doesnt help a speech burden based on audience reactions is simply government hostility and intervention in a different guise. The practices of the Patent and Trademark Office obviously arent the most significant grounds for contention over speech. But the disparagement clause was the wedge that activists were trying to use to force the Washington Redskins to change the NFL teams name (the team has been fighting the cancellation of its trademark in court). And every effort by the speech police to spread their operations from college campuses to the wider society must be resisted. In this case, they came for a self-described Chinatown Dance Rock band with a cheeky name, and the Supreme Court said, Sorry, not in America. READ MORE: In Congress, a Move to Affirm Free Speech on Campus To Both Sides in Americas Dialogue Wars: Disarm Year of the Shout-Down: It Was Worse Than You Think Rich Lowry is the editor of National Review. He can be reached via e-mail: [emailprotected]. 2017 King Features Syndicate

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June 25, 2017   Posted in: Hate Speech  Comments Closed


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