Archive for the ‘Hate Speech’ Category

Did Anyone See This Coming?: New Poll Finds NFL Favorability Rating Sliced in Half


In news that will shock only those who have spent the last week living in caves, the NFL’s favorability has taken a massive nosedive.

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Did Anyone See This Coming?: New Poll Finds NFL Favorability Rating Sliced in Half

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September 30, 2017   Posted in: Hate Speech  Comments Closed

Can We Trust Dating Apps And Music Services To Police Hate Speech? – Fast Company

In the aftermath of last weekends neo-Nazi violence in Charlottesville, weve watched tech companies scramble to quash hate speech online. And its not just infrastructure-level providers like GoDaddy, Cloudflare, and Google. Media services and social apps are declaring their own war on offensive sentiments within their respective platforms as well.

Spotify, Deezer, Google, DistroKid, and CD Baby all releasedstatements last week vowing to pull hateful music from their services. So did dating apps like OKCupid and Bumble, each of which announced anapproach to dealing with hate speech on their platforms.

While few people can muster up legitimate gripes with pulling down content laced with violently racist and otherwise hateful rhetoric, some are sounding the alarm about the long-term implications of handing this kind of authority over to tech companies whose standards and methods for policing hate speech are not always fully disclosed to the public. Whether theyre using algorithms, human moderators, or some combination of the two, the inner workings of these systems are often shrouded in mystery. How is offensive speech defined? Who makes the call to pull content and on what criteria do they base these decisions? Are they humans or machines? If human, what do those teams look like and how are they trained? What guidelines are used in the process?

Fast Company asked several companies about their internal processes for policing hate speech and got a few variations of the same answer: We cant tell you.

Unlike First Amendment issues in the public square or in the traditional media, hate speech and censorship online are not governed by legal precedents or a set of centralized rules. Rather, each platform and service provider sets its own policy and establishes its own system for dealing with hate speech. This, digital free speech advocates warn, could become a problem in the future.

Related: Could The Tech Purge Of Hate Speech Backfire And Harden The Views Of Extremists?

Maybe there is room to develop more granular guidelines about types of content and where platforms should have a responsibility, if anywhere, to deal with content of these kinds, says Jeremy Malcolm, a senior global policy analyst at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Right now, its all very ad hoc. It often depends on whos at the desk that day. Its not a conducive environment to free speech, at the end of the day.

In a recent blog post co-authored by Malcolm, the EFF criticized moves by Cloudflare, Google, and GoDaddy to shut down white supremacists onlinenot out of deference for the viewpoints of sites like The Daily Stormer, but rather because of the dangerous precedent set by companies quashing unpopular speech at the infrastructure level of the internet. The same mechanics used to wipe neo-Nazis from the web, EFF reminds us, could just as easily be used tostifle nonviolent speech in the future.

Drilling down further from the internets infrastructure intosocial networks, music services, and dating apps, the potential for heavy-handedness or blowback is no less serious, according to the EFF.

Weve already seen the sometimes blurry lines between hate speech and legitimate expression confuse the algorithms and human moderators tasked with keeping apps and networks free of hate. Facebook famously blocked the historical photo a Vietnamese child running from a napalm attack and the video of Philando Castille being killed by a police officer. It has also mistakenly shuttered accounts by LBGTQ members (for using words like dyke to describe themselves, for example) and women of color who shared screenshots of racist harassment. On YouTube, videos of the U.S. military destroying Nazi monuments during World War II were taken down for violating hate speech policy. And in its quest to eliminate ISIS recruiting videos and other extremist propaganda, YouTube has given the ax to content with historical and legal value, like videos that document war crimes in the Middle East.

Related: What Facebook Considers Hate Speech Depends On Who Is Posting It

With so many examples like theseand so little information about how these companies systems for dealing with hate speech actually workcan the public really trust tech companies to effectively police the sentiments found in art and written posts online?

Hate speech can take many forms, from antisemitic slogans shouted in the streets of Charlottesville to Islamophobic epithets tweeted by people with frog avatars to Hitler-worshipping, violence-inciting lyrics shouted by an underground hardcore band. But not every example is quite as straightforward as these, especially in a medium as nuanced and artistically open-ended as music.

Last week, Spotify pulled down music by white power and neo-Nazi bands identified in a post published on Digital Music News (with some help from the Southern Poverty Law Center) and pushed out its own playlist called Patriotic Passion in response to events in Charlottesville. Before long, Deezer, Google, and CD Baby followed suit and zapped white supremacist music from their catalogs. Bandcamp, the artist-uploaded DIY music storefront, told Fast Company that it saw a small lift in reported accounts that were dealt with in accordance with Bandcamps longstanding policy against hateful content, which the company says it has always enforced.

Bigger, subscription-based platforms like Spotify and Googles music servicesseemed to engage in a game of white supremacist whack-a-molewhat appeared to be a sudden, knee-jerk response to the fallout from Charlottesville. While most of these companies have long had policies against hate speech in place, they werent aggressively enforcing them. In 2014, Apple removed from iTunes artists whose music spreadwhite power messages, followingpressure from the SPLC. At the time, Vices Noisey wondered why Spotify, Google, and Amazon werent doing the same.

But how do we know the content-quashing processes being used arent sweeping up non-hateful music? Are the guidelines applied broadly and fairly? How do these companies preempt accusations of double standardsor worse, avoid having a chilling effect on freedom of expression?

Art is very different than other types of speech, Malcolm says. The courts will treat art differently. For example, pornography is treated with a bit more latitude when its in an artistic context. You can say the same for music. Music that expresses violent thoughts in lyrics doesnt mean it should be treated like a blog post declaring you want to kill.

When askedhow it evaluates hate speech in music, a Bandcamp rep saysthat it relies on its community to flag hateful content for internal review and that its usually pretty obvious when songs violate its policies. For an online community as close-knit and progressive as Bandcamps, that approachmay be enough.

Reps from Spotify and Deezer were equally vague in their descriptions of how content is evaluated. Spotify forbids content that favors hatred or incites violence against race, religion, sexuality, or the like, a company spokesperson saysover email. Spotifys internal review process, therep explains, relies on public lists of forbidden content like Germanys Federal Review Board For Media Harmful to Minors (or BPjM, an acronym of the German translation). The BPjM, a controversial index of digital content deemed harmful toyoung people in Germany, is not published, so theres no way to know exactly whats on it. Last year, the German industrial metal band Rammstein sued the countrys government after being included on the BPjM. While its primary objective is to blacklist violent, racist, and other inappropriate media, the BPjM has been criticized for de facto censorship and the stifling of free speech. Spotify says it also uses datafrom the Southern Poverty Law Center to identify hate music, ultimately relying on human moderators to judge and take down songs.

Spotify explicitly bans any music that is in clear violation of our internal guidelines, which includes content that incites hatred or violence. We asked the company for details on these guidelines, as well as information about who determines which music is in violation of them. They declined to clarify.

How are these questionable tunes identified in the first place? In the case of last weeks white supremacist music takedown, Spotify was tipped off by a blog post on Digital Music News. But there does not appear to be an easy way for the general public to flag hateful music for review. When asked how users can flag objectionable music, a Spotify rep declined to comment.

So, other than an overarching prohibition on music that incites hatred or violence and that draws guidance at least in part from Germanys BPjM media index, we know next to nothing about how Spotify finds, evaluates, and removes music that is purported to encourage hatred and violence.

The policy raises bigger questions about the parameters and limitations of Spotifys music-zapping machinery. Perhaps most obviously, theres a lack of detail about whatever line may exist between inciting hatred and violence and simply referencing those things.

Some genres of music have inherently violent lyrics, Malcolm says. They tend to be thematically about that darker side of life. That doesnt mean that theyre violent people.

There are various sub-genres of heavy metal and hip-hop, for instance, laden withlyrics that most of us would agree are violent and even potentially hateful. Would some of the more graphic, potentially threatening verses from popular metal bands like Cannibal Corpse, Slipknot, and Slayer run afoul of Spotifys restrictions and risk getting pulled? What about violent rap lyrics by Eminem or N.W.A.? Or verses by militant leftist rap duo Dead Prez that call for white politicians to be assassinated?

Each of these examples (not to mention countless others) may well fall under some exception to Spotifys content guidelines, but at the moment its broadly-worded policy and lack of public details offer no indication one way or the other.

At Deezer, a content team reviews our catalog deeply and listens to the music to make sure there is no direct hateful speech within the flagged content, David Atkinson, head of label relations at Deezer, told us via email. We do not condone any type of discrimination or form of hate against individuals or groups because of their race, religion, gender, or sexuality, especially any material that is in any way connected to any white supremacist movement or belief system.

Again, in most cases this policy couldoffer a clear roadmapDeezer at least calls out white supremacist ideologies specificallybut details about the parameters and how theyreenforced are just as elusive asother examples. And as the EFF is keen to point out, these solutions may satisfy us amidst the anti-Nazi fervor, but we have no way of knowing how theyll be implemented in the future.

Things can get even murkier when it comes to dating apps. Services like Tinder, OKCupid, and Bumble have plenty of experience dealing with harassment and hate speech (indeed, Bumble itself was born out of a desire to make dating apps less hostile to women). Most of these apps already have strict policies against violent or hateful language. So it didnt come as much of a surprise when the gun-wielding white supremacist featured in Vices gripping mini-documentary about Charlottesville was banned for life from OKCupid last week. Earlier this year, Tinder banned a user for disparaginga woman with racist and misogynist epithets.

Bumble seemed to take things one step further when it announced a partnership with the Anti-Defamation League designed to ban all forms of hate on the dating app. Through a combination of human moderators and algorithms, Bumble says it will flag profiles (and presumably messages) containing known hate symbols and words associated with racism and hate.

The ADLs database of hate symbols is publicly available, but the glossary of hateful words that Bumble says it will use to flag offensive content is not public. This is notablebecause while the ADL does extensive work combating bigotry and monitoring hate groups, the organization is also heavily involved in political advocacy in defense of Israeli policy.

For Malcolm, that presents a problem. There are other groups that you could go to that dont have that political agenda that would be a far better partner, he says. It seems reckless to hand that power over to an organization like that.The ADL did not respond to a request for comment.

The ADL has been accused in the past of working to silence and delegitimize political opponents like thephilosopher Noam Chomsky and the latehistorian Tony Judt, bothharsh critics of Israels policies toward the Palestinians (andboth Jewish). The grouphas also been accused ofblurring theline between criticism of Israel and anti-Semitism, withcritics of Israeli policyand advocates ofPalestinian sovereigntymost recently Black Lives Matter activists and Pink Floyds Roger Watershaving to defendthemselves against claims ofengaging in hate speech.

When asked what terms are included in its ADL-inspired glossary of hate words, Bumble declined to specify, citing the iterative, ever-changing nature of this list. When asked specifically about whether any terms related to Palestinian rights or related activism were included on the list, Bumble declined to comment.

If the ADLs position on the Middle East carries over into Bumbles hate speech policy, could that result in free speech being quashed? The odds of this happening are unknown, since Bumblelike the rest of the companies we talked todeclined to go into specifics about howits policies are defined and enforced.

While the EFFhas concerns about the swiftness and blunt nature of the past several days speech-policing, Malcolm admits theres no easy answer.

Certainly, some kind of universal tech-industry guidelines of the sort Malcolm alluded to earlier could help, but even then theres no guarantee that such principles would be adopted by everyone. In general, he says, it might be best for companies to leave content decisions alone until compelled to by a court. But such a hands-off approach likely wouldnt sit well with many users of these same services, who are anxious about the volatile political climate and dont want to feel threatened while browsing a playlist or dating pool.

As a society, weve shifted some of the responsibility for defining and policing unsavory speech from courts and media organizations that are beholden to the First Amendment to technology companies. And while most people seem comfortableerring on the side of stomping out hate speech and removing avowed racists from social platforms, organizations like the EFF task themselves with asking the bigger, sometimes more discomfitingquestionslike, what precedent are we setting?

Maybe itll have an impact on Nazis using the internet, but what other impacts is it going to have? Malcolm says. Rarely do we find that censoring the internet is a good solution for any kind of problem.

John Paul Titlow is a writer at Fast Company focused on music and technology, among other things.

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Can We Trust Dating Apps And Music Services To Police Hate Speech? – Fast Company

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August 23, 2017   Posted in: Hate Speech  Comments Closed

Hate speech stickers found at Piedmont synagogue, police say – East Bay Times

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PIEDMONT A rash of hate incidents, some directed at the Jewish community in Alameda and now at Kehilla Community Synagogue in Piedmont have police investigating the incidents in both cities.

The stickers said: Marxism is murder; Black lives matter except for the 6,000 blacks killed by other blacks each year and the 1,000 black babies aborted each day. A thick glue on the stickers made them difficult to remove, Bowers said.

When you start damaging peoples property its going beyond political or sociological debates, Bowers said. This is an open place of worship with folks expressing who they are.

Being targeted like that goes beyond a debate, Bowers continued. This is a direct action that can be perceived as intimidation. We will not tolerate it. We treat it very seriously. Affixing hate messages under the guise of free speech damaging peoples property is a crime.

Michael Saxe-Taller, executive director at Kehilla saidWednesday, I think there are some people who are very confused and hurting themselves who somehow think that lashing out at other people is doing something productive.

It is not a time to be despairing, to not feel vulnerable. We have interfaith coalitions and have great support from our partners. We have a sense of being a part of something way stronger than the confusion and distress of a smaller group, he continued.We have been having important discussions about our reaction to what happened in Charlottesville, and issues of anti-Semitism. We are not treating these stickers as a big deal. We are continuing to organize for racial and social justice, taking action and taking care of ourselves.

Bowers said police are checking with nearby residents who may have surveillance cameras and looking for possible witnesses to the incident. Anyone with information can call Piedmont police at510-420-3000.

Alameda experienced two vandalism incidents directed at the Jewish community this past week as well. On or about Aug. 16, classroom windows at Temple Israel on Bay Farm Island were smashed. On Aug. 20, fliers featuring a swastika and a hate message were discovered on the sidewalk on Sherman Street. A resident on Sherman reported to police after he found a second flier on the sidewalk. An officer dispatched to the scene found a third flier with the same hate messages.

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Hate speech stickers found at Piedmont synagogue, police say – East Bay Times

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UN Panel Urges US to Reject Racist Hate Speech, Crimes – Bloomberg

Geneva (AP) — A top U.N. body on racial discrimination has taken the unusual step of urging the United States to “unequivocally and unconditionally” reject racist hate speech and crimes after a far-right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Its chairwoman called for President Donald Trump to take the lead.

The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination pointed Wednesday in a statement that didn’t explicitly mention Trump to “the failure at the highest political level to unequivocally reject racist violent events” in the United States.

But in an interview, committee chairwoman Anastasia Crickley said Trump should take the lead in speaking out.

“In the statement, we say ‘high-level politicians’,” she said. “But I have no hesitation in saying that yes, we do indeed think it is important for the leader, for the president, of any country including in this instance the United States where these things happened that they take the leadership role of unequivocally condemning them.”

Trump on Tuesday blamed the media for the widespread condemnation of his response to violence linked to the Aug. 12 protest in Charlottesville organized by white supremacists, which included an observation that “many sides” were to blame. He told supporters in Phoenix that he had “openly called for healing, unity and love” in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy, and had simply been misrepresented in news coverage.

The U.N. committee acted under its “early warning and urgent action” procedures that have been applied only 20 times since 2003 against countries including Iraq, Burundi, Guyana and Israel. The U.S. was previously called to respond in 2006 over treatment of a group of Native Americans, the Shoshone.

The U.N. says such procedures are directed at “preventing existing problems from escalating into conflicts.”

In its statement , the panel pointed to its decision on Friday that calls on the U.S. government to investigate any human rights violations during the protest in Charlottesville, and make sure that freedom of expression does not promote racist speech or crimes.

Crickley acknowledged the committee was not a “court of justice” and had little authority to compel the United States to respond, but said the panel believed its decisions had “moral authority.” The U.S. has ratified a convention that underpins the committee, and in theory is required to respond as part of its own commitments.

The decision by the 18-member panel of independent experts, which is linked to the U.N.’s human rights office, comes after Crickley and other U.N. experts last week said they were “outraged” over the Charlottesville events that included the death of a counter-protester.

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Reed: Opposing Hate Speech – Vermont Public Radio

Most of my Vermont neighbors are concerned and well-meaning. And most cant imagine that what happened in Charlottesville could ever happen here. But white supremacists have been in the Green Mountains for a very long time.

And just lately theres been an anecdotal spike in Confederate battle flags, swastikas, and other hate symbols on display here, not to mention a disheartening increase in racially and religiously inspired harassment and bigotry in our schools.

Whats more, not every white supremacist displays hate symbols publicly – so for every white supremacist that puts his or her hate symbols out there for all to see, others may be sitting inconspicuously next to you at work or church, giving you a nod on the street, serving as your elected officials or public servants, or even preparing your pizza.

And it doesnt take much for white supremacy views to spread if everyone else is politically unengaged, merely wringing their hands after each new racially inspired crisis and seeking what amounts to civil rights merit badges by trying to convince the few people of color they know, that they, the well-intentioned, are among the good white people.

Now, Ill admit that combating white supremacy can feel daunting. But here are three, concrete, immediate steps we can all take.

First: we can encourage area schools to teach students how to recognize white supremacy and hate symbols. We can explore how our schools teach topics like the westward expansion, the Civil War, slavery, Jim Crow, eugenics, the holocaust, Japanese internment, and 911. We can insist that our schools deconstruct racial stereotypes by seamlessly weaving the contributions of explorers, inventors, politicians, visual artists, scientists, and entrepreneurs of color throughout the curriculum. The better educated our children become the more resistant they will be to white supremacy ideology.

Then too, we can pay attention to our public spaces. We can require our towns, chambers of commerce, business and civic organizations to enact policies that no vendor shall display or sell hate symbols on public property or at any sponsored event open to the public.

But in the end, each of us must find the courage to address hate speech, whether verbal or displayed, whenever and wherever we find it. Because failure to do so puts at risk all other efforts to build diverse, inclusive, equitable and economically sustainable communities in Vermont.

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EDITORIAL: Handle hate speech with social accountability – Indiana Daily Student

Since weve all clearly decided not to abide by the trite little guideline, If you dont have anything nice to say, dont say anything at all, were going to need another way to filter our speech.

Certainly the filter should not come from our government, especially not under the current administration. Besides, restricting the use of certain terms or symbols will only result in the creation of replacements that serve the same purpose.

But should neo-Nazis and white supremacists really be allowed to spew whatever hatred and bigotry they please without any consequences?

Quite frankly, no. And since it would be dangerous to give the state the power to restrict speech, the responsibility of managing acceptable rhetoric falls to the public.

For example, companies who feel that such views as those that were displayed in Charlottesville, Virginia, do not align with their values should and do have the right to fire employees who espouse such reprehensible ideologies.

The Editorial Board is, however, not blind to the likelihood that ostracized, newly isolated extremists will likely further radicalize upon their rejection from society. Festering in the annexes and cellars of society, these groups could potentially radicalize and incite violence in the capacity of domestic terrorists.

Despite these dangers, we still believe that an approach to handling hate speech that is grounded on culture, rather than laws, is better than conceding the responsibility to the likes of President Donald Trump and his attorney general Jeff Sessions.

While there are many ugly parts of our countrys past and present, our nation is not devoid of sociopolitical triumphs. Free speech is a pillar of American democracy, the destruction of which we should aim to avoid.

Having clarified this, if a private sector organization wants to fire employees who have, say, wielded Tiki torches while attending a white nationalist rally that led to riots and murder, they should be allowed to do so. In this case, it seems that the participants chants of their irreplaceability should actually lead to their professional replacement.

Of course, theres a right and wrong way to do everything, including the retribution against perpetrators of hate speech. Logan Smith, who runs the @YesYoureRacist Twitter account, recently promised to make famous any Charlottesville rally attendees by finding names to match photographed marchers with the intent being that their communities would punish them.

Be wary of such amateur sleuths, as the New York Times has dubbed them; the lives of misidentified culprits can still unjustly fall in harms way once Tweets have circulated too widely. Kyle Quinn, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Arkansas, was wrongly identified in a photo of the now infamous rally, and he received such instantaneous backlash that he and his family went into hiding for a weekend at the home of a friend.

Ultimately we, the Editorial Board, are not saying that racism qualifies as an opinion. It doesnt. We just dont want the expression of legitimate opinions, political and otherwise, to be impeded in some kind of well-intentioned but poorly executed restriction of hate speech.

We shouldnt let our government tell us what to say, but we should be mindful of those who broadcast hatred and treat them accordingly. That could be through mitigating opportunities for them to do harm or through thoughtful engagement and dialogue.

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EDITORIAL: Handle hate speech with social accountability – Indiana Daily Student

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Our Voice: Stop hate speech by debate, not force – Tri-City Herald


Tri-City Herald
Our Voice: Stop hate speech by debate, not force
Tri-City Herald
It typically is not the popular view that's at risk of being squelched it's the unpopular one. The First Amendment defends the opinion of the minority and the lone voice. It provides a legal shield even for those with beliefs most of us find
Where Do We Draw The Line Between Free Speech And Hate Speech?KJZZ

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The Most Shortsighted Attack on Free Speech in Modern US History – The Atlantic

When free-speech advocates point out that the First Amendment protects even hate speech, as the attorney Ken White recently observed, they are often met with extreme hypotheticals. For example: So, the day that Nazis march in the streets, armed, carrying the swastika flag, Sieg-Heiling, calling out abuse of Jews and blacks, some of their number assaulting and even killing people, you’ll still defend their right to speak?”

In Charlottesville, he declared, something like that scenario came to pass: Literal Nazis marched the streets of an American city, calling out Jews and blacks and gays, wielding everything from torches to clubs and shields to rifles, offering Nazi slogans and Nazi salutes. Some of their number attacked counter-protesters, and one of them murdered a counter-protester and attempted to murder many others. This is the what if and how far that critics of vigorous free speech policies pose to us as a society.

Nevertheless, he wrote, his civil-libertarian views were unchanged, his belief in constitutional protections for hate speech unaffected, because the countervailing hypothetical that free-speech advocates have always raised in reply to dark scenarios about hate speechthat it is shortsighted to give the state the power to choose what speech is acceptable and what speech isn’t, and use its vast power to punish the difference, because that state may one day be controlled by a leader who overtly relishes the power to punish people who think like you do, encouraged by supporters who hate youapplies every bit as much to the present moment.

The Nazis and the KKK marched.

Yet even now, at the bottom of the slippery slope, a broad reading of the First Amendment is still the framework that best protects ethnic and religious minority groups. In fact, marginalized groupsstreet activists, Muslim immigrants, Black Lives Matter protesterswould suffer particularly at this very moment if the faction of progressives who want to limit free speech got their way.

Charles C.W. Cooke captured why in a satirical response to a recent New York Times op-ed in which K-Sue Park called on the ACLU to change its approach to free speech, arguing that it provides help to hateful causes and that the legal gains on which the ACLU rests its colorblind logic have never secured real freedom or even safety for all.

Cooke wrote:

Park is correct.

It is high time that the ACLU moved onto the right side of History and abandoned the narrow reading of the First Amendment that is the result of 50 years of unanimous Supreme Court precedent. In lieu, it must focus on working toward more diverse and productive ends, such as giving Jeff Sessions and Donald Trump the robust censorship powers that they so richly and urgently deserve. The United States federal government is now run at every level by Republicans. So, indeed, are the lions share of the governors mansions, statehouses, and localities. If the ACLU really knuckles down, it can ensure that these figures and not pernicious neutral principle determine the edges and contours of Americas civil society.

He added:

The ACLU insists that preventing the government from controlling speech is absolutely necessary to the promotion of equality. But more sensible thinkers grasp that quite the opposite is true. As Park notes, any defense of the status quo perpetuates a misguided theory that all radical views are equal. Theyre not, and, in consequence, an arbiter is necessary. At first, that should be the ACLU, which should simply let some censorship be or, even better, start endorsing it. And eventually, having been freed up by the ACLUs backing away from what Park notes correctly is only First Amendment case law, the government itself should assume that role. Then, and only then, will some space have been cleared for the wise.

We have an array of differing views in this country, but I think we can all agree that nobody could be better suited to that oversight role than Jeff Sessions, President Donald Trump, and the thousands upon thousands of state-level Republicans who have been recently swept into office by the infallible will of the people. Furthermore, we should all be able to unite around the appealing chance to hand more power over to the police.

Donald Trump is a man marked out for his wisdom, scholarship, and judicious temperament. But, exquisite as his judgment is, he is able to direct prosecutions only on a macro level. To make the scheme work in practice, Americas police officers must enjoy the legal opportunity to determine what and who sits outside of the laws protection. By insisting upon a consistent application of the First Amendment and, most problematically, by defending the legal gains on which [it] rests its colorblind logic the ACLU is depriving our cops of this vital first-line oversight role.

In the wake of Charlottesville, that must change.

The faction Cooke is parodying really is that shortsighted.

If rules forbidding hate speech were passed into law and approved by the Supreme Court, they might well prohibit Nazis and Klansmen from marching to anti-Semitic chants, or waving flags with swastikas, or marching in a torchlit parade through the streets, causing some white supremacists to stay home and others to become more radicalized, as happens when groups are prohibited from seeking political remedies.

Meanwhile, Trump and Sessions, the two most powerful law-enforcement figures in the federal government, already draw equivalences between white supremacists and the counterprotesters who meet them on the streets; and they conflate Antifa, a movement that explicitly condones extralegal violence, with Black Lives Matter, a movement dominated by people who reject violence.

Yes, those equivalences are false. And that wouldnt matter.

Under a legal regime where hate speech was not considered free speech, Trump and Sessions could likely punish words used by members of Antifa and Black Lives Matter. Do you think hed police their speech more or less vigorously than white supremacists?

Under a legal regime that treated more kinds of speech as incitement, on the theory that Nazis and other white supremacists are pushing an inherently violent ideology, Trump would very likely use the same rules and precedents to target, say, imams at whatever mosques Sessions judges to be inciting Islamist violence; or Twitter activists who tell their followers that punching Nazis is woke. Those whom Trump has taken to calling the alt-left would be most at risk.

And the shortsightedness knows no bounds.

As college presidents try to figure out whether the First Amendment protects conservatives right to create political spectacle and instigate violence, Jennifer Delton writes in the Washington Post, it might be useful to recall another time when American liberals were forced to sidestep First Amendment absolutism to combat a political foe: the 1940s, when New Deal liberals purged U.S. communists from American political life. The argument is a perfect illustration of a failure to see what is before ones nose: an alternative theory of the First Amendment is said by the author to have enabled a bygone faction to purge a leftist minority from political life; and this professor suggests reviving that theory while Trump is in the White House and public university systems mostly answer to Republican legislatures.

Its been almost 25 years since Henry Louis Gates wrote,

The critical race theorists must be credited with helping to reinvigorate the debate about freedom of expression; the intelligence, the innovation and the thoughtfulness of their best work deserve a reasoned response, and not, as so often happens, demonization and dismissal. And yet, for all the passion and all the scholarship that the critical race theorists have expended upon the problem of hate speech, I cannot believe that it will capture their attention for very much longer… The advocates of speech restrictions will grow disenchanted not with their failures, but with their victories, and the movement will come to seem yet another curious byway in the long history of our racial desperation.

And yet the movement will not have been without its political costs. I cannot put it better than Charles Lawrence himself, who writes: “I fear that by framing the debate as we haveas one in which the liberty of free speech is in conflict with the elimination of racismwe have advanced the cause of racial oppression and placed the bigot on the moral high ground, fanning the rising flames of racism.” He does not intend it as such, but I read this passage as a harsh rebuke to the movement itself. As the critical race theory manifesto acknowledges, “This debate has deeply divided the liberal civil rights/civil liberties community.” And so it has. It has created hostility between old allies and fractured longtime coalitions. Was it worth it? Justice Black’s words may return, like the sound of an unheeded tocsin, to haunt us: “Another such victory and I am undone.”

With Trump in the White House, that warning is even truer today. A weakened First Amendment in todays climate would be marshaled against Trumps opponents, even as it robbed them of their ability to fight back. It would be a gift to white supremacists, not a blow against them.

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The Most Shortsighted Attack on Free Speech in Modern US History – The Atlantic

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Unfounded Charges Of Racism Are Hate Speech T | The Daily Caller – The Daily Caller

If there is anything that characterizes the rhetoric and the ideology of the far left, it is a pathological obsession with race and racism, and an almost reflexive tendency to accuse people on the right of racist beliefs and motivations. Everything from opposition to Obamacare, to reading Shakespeare, to waving the American flag anything and everything can be, and frequently is, diagnosed as racism by the inventive and cynical minds on the left.

Given the persistent efforts by leftists and the mainstream media to tie conservatives to right-wing fanatics, we who stand for conservative values must be extremely careful in the words we choose. We must also make clear our own contempt for racism, hatred, and discrimination. Of course, since in this day and age it is primarily the left practicing unabashedly racism, hatred, and discrimination, it should not be difficult for conservatives to stand against these evils. It is the left that promotes an agenda of political correctness, that harasses and intimidates dissident voices, that endorses quotas and race preferences, and that pours scorn on white males. And, lest we forget, at the forefront of the so-called progressive movement are American universities, which are sadly being comprehensively resegregated, so as to create safe spaces for minorities. These are all dangerous and divisive trends, and in every case it is conservatives, not liberals, who are advocating non-racialism and equality. To be fair, though, plenty of extremists on both sides want to divide America and set us at each others throats. That is not at all what the Republican Party wants, or what President Trump wants. We want opportunity for all, liberty for all, and respect and dignity for all. We may disagree at the margins, but this broad acceptance of the supreme value of human and civil rights ought to unite the country, not divide it.

Unfortunately, America is anything but united at the present time. Tempers are flaring, and not since the Vietnam War era have people on the right and on the left held each other in such contempt. Anyone who is inclined to discuss politics via social media will know how quickly such conversations turn to personal insults, and invariably to irresponsible charges of bias. That is the sad reality of contemporary American political discourse. It grows more asinine by the day, and the loudest voices seem invariably to be the least responsible.

All too often, our barbs and our broadsides are meant to delegitimize, intimidate, and silence the opposition, and to end conversations before they can even start. A charge of Racism! is ideal for this purpose. The person targeted by the charge is assaulted at the level of his (usually unprovable) motivations, and even his decency and humanity is cast into doubt. Given our long national struggle to overcome a history of racial discrimination and mistreatment, a charge of racism arguably is one of the most toxic that can be launched. As Antifa activists are proving, such an accusation can literally destroy lives and livelihoods. Indeed, to be called a racist is potentially more damaging to a person than to be called, say, by a racial epithet. Both are hurtful and intimidating, but the difference is that modern society despises racists, while it rallies to defend people who are targeted because of their race or ethnicity. Racists are perpetrators, evildoers. Victims of racism are exactly that: victims. I do not wish to minimize the pain and degradation that victims of racism experience, particularly when that racism leads to violence, or to the denial of ones civil rights, but the fact remains that to call someone a racist, even casually and without cause, is potentially to do them, and their reputation, permanent harm. It is, or can be, a withering form of slander.

Leftists have gotten away with making unfounded and irresponsible charges of racism for decades. I say gotten away with, but in truth they have faced a penalty for their illiberal use of racist allegations. Their credibility has taken a nosedive. Donald Trump, when he was running for President, was labeled a racist much more frequently than a typical Republican candidate for high office. Those charges did not prevent him from winning, however, because they were easy for Republicans and conservatives to discount. They were easy to discount, because charges of racism are flung hither and thither in American politics every day. They hurt, and they can dominate the news for days and even weeks, but in the final analysis they carry relatively little weight, when proper damage control is applied, and when the short attention span of the media inevitably dictates a new story line regardless.

Liberals are not fools, of course. They understand that to call someone a racist does not sting as much as it used to. They have a solution to this problem, though: they simply escalate the scale and intensity of their attacks. For instance, why call someone a racist when you can label them a white supremacist or a Nazi instead? Naturally, white supremacists and Nazis do exist. But today, views that are explicitly racist, let alone white supremacist, are confined to fringe elements. How do we know this?

About 90% of white Americans approve of interracial marriage. That number has climbed steadily in recent decades. The percentage of whites who still believe in school segregation is in the single digits, whereas it was close to 75% when the movement to promote integration began in the 1940s and 50s. More than 90% of white Americans express a willingness to vote for a black candidate for President, although that may not bring much encouragement to President Obama. The preponderance of the evidence suggests that overt racism (as opposed to racial bias, which is another matter) is NOT a mainstream phenomenon among whites. Thus, the liberal article of faith that Republicans and conservatives are presumptively racist is based on a falsehood. It is based on the idea that racist and white supremacist beliefs are vastly more common than they truly are.

When confronted with a phony charge of racism, not every American has the financial resources, the institutional and legal support, or the impenetrable hide of a politician. For an ordinary person, such a charge is undeniably hurtful, and in some professional and personal contexts it is devastating. It thus behooves all of us to reserve such claims to instances where real, provable animus exists. Racism! should not be a throwaway line, to lob at anyone who dares to contradict you. It is rather a serious offense against the American values of liberty, equality, and individual dignity. It is often a crime.

I implore all Americans, therefore, to treat one another with civility, and to address the arguments of the other side rationally and without descending to personal attacks, especially when they are based on assumptions rather than evidence. Simply put, a charge of racism is not a weapon to be wielded casually, and neither is hate the answer to hate. Surely as Americans we can do better.

Dr. Nicholas Waddy blogs at www.waddyisright.com.

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Unfounded Charges Of Racism Are Hate Speech T | The Daily Caller – The Daily Caller

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August 22, 2017   Posted in: Hate Speech  Comments Closed

Did Anyone See This Coming?: New Poll Finds NFL Favorability Rating Sliced in Half

In news that will shock only those who have spent the last week living in caves, the NFL’s favorability has taken a massive nosedive.

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September 30, 2017   Posted in: Hate Speech  Comments Closed

Can We Trust Dating Apps And Music Services To Police Hate Speech? – Fast Company

In the aftermath of last weekends neo-Nazi violence in Charlottesville, weve watched tech companies scramble to quash hate speech online. And its not just infrastructure-level providers like GoDaddy, Cloudflare, and Google. Media services and social apps are declaring their own war on offensive sentiments within their respective platforms as well. Spotify, Deezer, Google, DistroKid, and CD Baby all releasedstatements last week vowing to pull hateful music from their services. So did dating apps like OKCupid and Bumble, each of which announced anapproach to dealing with hate speech on their platforms. While few people can muster up legitimate gripes with pulling down content laced with violently racist and otherwise hateful rhetoric, some are sounding the alarm about the long-term implications of handing this kind of authority over to tech companies whose standards and methods for policing hate speech are not always fully disclosed to the public. Whether theyre using algorithms, human moderators, or some combination of the two, the inner workings of these systems are often shrouded in mystery. How is offensive speech defined? Who makes the call to pull content and on what criteria do they base these decisions? Are they humans or machines? If human, what do those teams look like and how are they trained? What guidelines are used in the process? Fast Company asked several companies about their internal processes for policing hate speech and got a few variations of the same answer: We cant tell you. Unlike First Amendment issues in the public square or in the traditional media, hate speech and censorship online are not governed by legal precedents or a set of centralized rules. Rather, each platform and service provider sets its own policy and establishes its own system for dealing with hate speech. This, digital free speech advocates warn, could become a problem in the future. Related: Could The Tech Purge Of Hate Speech Backfire And Harden The Views Of Extremists? Maybe there is room to develop more granular guidelines about types of content and where platforms should have a responsibility, if anywhere, to deal with content of these kinds, says Jeremy Malcolm, a senior global policy analyst at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Right now, its all very ad hoc. It often depends on whos at the desk that day. Its not a conducive environment to free speech, at the end of the day. In a recent blog post co-authored by Malcolm, the EFF criticized moves by Cloudflare, Google, and GoDaddy to shut down white supremacists onlinenot out of deference for the viewpoints of sites like The Daily Stormer, but rather because of the dangerous precedent set by companies quashing unpopular speech at the infrastructure level of the internet. The same mechanics used to wipe neo-Nazis from the web, EFF reminds us, could just as easily be used tostifle nonviolent speech in the future. Drilling down further from the internets infrastructure intosocial networks, music services, and dating apps, the potential for heavy-handedness or blowback is no less serious, according to the EFF. Weve already seen the sometimes blurry lines between hate speech and legitimate expression confuse the algorithms and human moderators tasked with keeping apps and networks free of hate. Facebook famously blocked the historical photo a Vietnamese child running from a napalm attack and the video of Philando Castille being killed by a police officer. It has also mistakenly shuttered accounts by LBGTQ members (for using words like dyke to describe themselves, for example) and women of color who shared screenshots of racist harassment. On YouTube, videos of the U.S. military destroying Nazi monuments during World War II were taken down for violating hate speech policy. And in its quest to eliminate ISIS recruiting videos and other extremist propaganda, YouTube has given the ax to content with historical and legal value, like videos that document war crimes in the Middle East. Related: What Facebook Considers Hate Speech Depends On Who Is Posting It With so many examples like theseand so little information about how these companies systems for dealing with hate speech actually workcan the public really trust tech companies to effectively police the sentiments found in art and written posts online? Hate speech can take many forms, from antisemitic slogans shouted in the streets of Charlottesville to Islamophobic epithets tweeted by people with frog avatars to Hitler-worshipping, violence-inciting lyrics shouted by an underground hardcore band. But not every example is quite as straightforward as these, especially in a medium as nuanced and artistically open-ended as music. Last week, Spotify pulled down music by white power and neo-Nazi bands identified in a post published on Digital Music News (with some help from the Southern Poverty Law Center) and pushed out its own playlist called Patriotic Passion in response to events in Charlottesville. Before long, Deezer, Google, and CD Baby followed suit and zapped white supremacist music from their catalogs. Bandcamp, the artist-uploaded DIY music storefront, told Fast Company that it saw a small lift in reported accounts that were dealt with in accordance with Bandcamps longstanding policy against hateful content, which the company says it has always enforced. Bigger, subscription-based platforms like Spotify and Googles music servicesseemed to engage in a game of white supremacist whack-a-molewhat appeared to be a sudden, knee-jerk response to the fallout from Charlottesville. While most of these companies have long had policies against hate speech in place, they werent aggressively enforcing them. In 2014, Apple removed from iTunes artists whose music spreadwhite power messages, followingpressure from the SPLC. At the time, Vices Noisey wondered why Spotify, Google, and Amazon werent doing the same. But how do we know the content-quashing processes being used arent sweeping up non-hateful music? Are the guidelines applied broadly and fairly? How do these companies preempt accusations of double standardsor worse, avoid having a chilling effect on freedom of expression? Art is very different than other types of speech, Malcolm says. The courts will treat art differently. For example, pornography is treated with a bit more latitude when its in an artistic context. You can say the same for music. Music that expresses violent thoughts in lyrics doesnt mean it should be treated like a blog post declaring you want to kill. When askedhow it evaluates hate speech in music, a Bandcamp rep saysthat it relies on its community to flag hateful content for internal review and that its usually pretty obvious when songs violate its policies. For an online community as close-knit and progressive as Bandcamps, that approachmay be enough. Reps from Spotify and Deezer were equally vague in their descriptions of how content is evaluated. Spotify forbids content that favors hatred or incites violence against race, religion, sexuality, or the like, a company spokesperson saysover email. Spotifys internal review process, therep explains, relies on public lists of forbidden content like Germanys Federal Review Board For Media Harmful to Minors (or BPjM, an acronym of the German translation). The BPjM, a controversial index of digital content deemed harmful toyoung people in Germany, is not published, so theres no way to know exactly whats on it. Last year, the German industrial metal band Rammstein sued the countrys government after being included on the BPjM. While its primary objective is to blacklist violent, racist, and other inappropriate media, the BPjM has been criticized for de facto censorship and the stifling of free speech. Spotify says it also uses datafrom the Southern Poverty Law Center to identify hate music, ultimately relying on human moderators to judge and take down songs. Spotify explicitly bans any music that is in clear violation of our internal guidelines, which includes content that incites hatred or violence. We asked the company for details on these guidelines, as well as information about who determines which music is in violation of them. They declined to clarify. How are these questionable tunes identified in the first place? In the case of last weeks white supremacist music takedown, Spotify was tipped off by a blog post on Digital Music News. But there does not appear to be an easy way for the general public to flag hateful music for review. When asked how users can flag objectionable music, a Spotify rep declined to comment. So, other than an overarching prohibition on music that incites hatred or violence and that draws guidance at least in part from Germanys BPjM media index, we know next to nothing about how Spotify finds, evaluates, and removes music that is purported to encourage hatred and violence. The policy raises bigger questions about the parameters and limitations of Spotifys music-zapping machinery. Perhaps most obviously, theres a lack of detail about whatever line may exist between inciting hatred and violence and simply referencing those things. Some genres of music have inherently violent lyrics, Malcolm says. They tend to be thematically about that darker side of life. That doesnt mean that theyre violent people. There are various sub-genres of heavy metal and hip-hop, for instance, laden withlyrics that most of us would agree are violent and even potentially hateful. Would some of the more graphic, potentially threatening verses from popular metal bands like Cannibal Corpse, Slipknot, and Slayer run afoul of Spotifys restrictions and risk getting pulled? What about violent rap lyrics by Eminem or N.W.A.? Or verses by militant leftist rap duo Dead Prez that call for white politicians to be assassinated? Each of these examples (not to mention countless others) may well fall under some exception to Spotifys content guidelines, but at the moment its broadly-worded policy and lack of public details offer no indication one way or the other. At Deezer, a content team reviews our catalog deeply and listens to the music to make sure there is no direct hateful speech within the flagged content, David Atkinson, head of label relations at Deezer, told us via email. We do not condone any type of discrimination or form of hate against individuals or groups because of their race, religion, gender, or sexuality, especially any material that is in any way connected to any white supremacist movement or belief system. Again, in most cases this policy couldoffer a clear roadmapDeezer at least calls out white supremacist ideologies specificallybut details about the parameters and how theyreenforced are just as elusive asother examples. And as the EFF is keen to point out, these solutions may satisfy us amidst the anti-Nazi fervor, but we have no way of knowing how theyll be implemented in the future. Things can get even murkier when it comes to dating apps. Services like Tinder, OKCupid, and Bumble have plenty of experience dealing with harassment and hate speech (indeed, Bumble itself was born out of a desire to make dating apps less hostile to women). Most of these apps already have strict policies against violent or hateful language. So it didnt come as much of a surprise when the gun-wielding white supremacist featured in Vices gripping mini-documentary about Charlottesville was banned for life from OKCupid last week. Earlier this year, Tinder banned a user for disparaginga woman with racist and misogynist epithets. Bumble seemed to take things one step further when it announced a partnership with the Anti-Defamation League designed to ban all forms of hate on the dating app. Through a combination of human moderators and algorithms, Bumble says it will flag profiles (and presumably messages) containing known hate symbols and words associated with racism and hate. The ADLs database of hate symbols is publicly available, but the glossary of hateful words that Bumble says it will use to flag offensive content is not public. This is notablebecause while the ADL does extensive work combating bigotry and monitoring hate groups, the organization is also heavily involved in political advocacy in defense of Israeli policy. For Malcolm, that presents a problem. There are other groups that you could go to that dont have that political agenda that would be a far better partner, he says. It seems reckless to hand that power over to an organization like that.The ADL did not respond to a request for comment. The ADL has been accused in the past of working to silence and delegitimize political opponents like thephilosopher Noam Chomsky and the latehistorian Tony Judt, bothharsh critics of Israels policies toward the Palestinians (andboth Jewish). The grouphas also been accused ofblurring theline between criticism of Israel and anti-Semitism, withcritics of Israeli policyand advocates ofPalestinian sovereigntymost recently Black Lives Matter activists and Pink Floyds Roger Watershaving to defendthemselves against claims ofengaging in hate speech. When asked what terms are included in its ADL-inspired glossary of hate words, Bumble declined to specify, citing the iterative, ever-changing nature of this list. When asked specifically about whether any terms related to Palestinian rights or related activism were included on the list, Bumble declined to comment. If the ADLs position on the Middle East carries over into Bumbles hate speech policy, could that result in free speech being quashed? The odds of this happening are unknown, since Bumblelike the rest of the companies we talked todeclined to go into specifics about howits policies are defined and enforced. While the EFFhas concerns about the swiftness and blunt nature of the past several days speech-policing, Malcolm admits theres no easy answer. Certainly, some kind of universal tech-industry guidelines of the sort Malcolm alluded to earlier could help, but even then theres no guarantee that such principles would be adopted by everyone. In general, he says, it might be best for companies to leave content decisions alone until compelled to by a court. But such a hands-off approach likely wouldnt sit well with many users of these same services, who are anxious about the volatile political climate and dont want to feel threatened while browsing a playlist or dating pool. As a society, weve shifted some of the responsibility for defining and policing unsavory speech from courts and media organizations that are beholden to the First Amendment to technology companies. And while most people seem comfortableerring on the side of stomping out hate speech and removing avowed racists from social platforms, organizations like the EFF task themselves with asking the bigger, sometimes more discomfitingquestionslike, what precedent are we setting? Maybe itll have an impact on Nazis using the internet, but what other impacts is it going to have? Malcolm says. Rarely do we find that censoring the internet is a good solution for any kind of problem. John Paul Titlow is a writer at Fast Company focused on music and technology, among other things. More

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August 23, 2017   Posted in: Hate Speech  Comments Closed

Hate speech stickers found at Piedmont synagogue, police say – East Bay Times

For breaking news get our mobile app for free from the Apple app store or the Google Play store. PIEDMONT A rash of hate incidents, some directed at the Jewish community in Alameda and now at Kehilla Community Synagogue in Piedmont have police investigating the incidents in both cities. The stickers said: Marxism is murder; Black lives matter except for the 6,000 blacks killed by other blacks each year and the 1,000 black babies aborted each day. A thick glue on the stickers made them difficult to remove, Bowers said. When you start damaging peoples property its going beyond political or sociological debates, Bowers said. This is an open place of worship with folks expressing who they are. Being targeted like that goes beyond a debate, Bowers continued. This is a direct action that can be perceived as intimidation. We will not tolerate it. We treat it very seriously. Affixing hate messages under the guise of free speech damaging peoples property is a crime. Michael Saxe-Taller, executive director at Kehilla saidWednesday, I think there are some people who are very confused and hurting themselves who somehow think that lashing out at other people is doing something productive. It is not a time to be despairing, to not feel vulnerable. We have interfaith coalitions and have great support from our partners. We have a sense of being a part of something way stronger than the confusion and distress of a smaller group, he continued.We have been having important discussions about our reaction to what happened in Charlottesville, and issues of anti-Semitism. We are not treating these stickers as a big deal. We are continuing to organize for racial and social justice, taking action and taking care of ourselves. Bowers said police are checking with nearby residents who may have surveillance cameras and looking for possible witnesses to the incident. Anyone with information can call Piedmont police at510-420-3000. Alameda experienced two vandalism incidents directed at the Jewish community this past week as well. On or about Aug. 16, classroom windows at Temple Israel on Bay Farm Island were smashed. On Aug. 20, fliers featuring a swastika and a hate message were discovered on the sidewalk on Sherman Street. A resident on Sherman reported to police after he found a second flier on the sidewalk. An officer dispatched to the scene found a third flier with the same hate messages.

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UN Panel Urges US to Reject Racist Hate Speech, Crimes – Bloomberg

Geneva (AP) — A top U.N. body on racial discrimination has taken the unusual step of urging the United States to “unequivocally and unconditionally” reject racist hate speech and crimes after a far-right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Its chairwoman called for President Donald Trump to take the lead. The Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination pointed Wednesday in a statement that didn’t explicitly mention Trump to “the failure at the highest political level to unequivocally reject racist violent events” in the United States. But in an interview, committee chairwoman Anastasia Crickley said Trump should take the lead in speaking out. “In the statement, we say ‘high-level politicians’,” she said. “But I have no hesitation in saying that yes, we do indeed think it is important for the leader, for the president, of any country including in this instance the United States where these things happened that they take the leadership role of unequivocally condemning them.” Trump on Tuesday blamed the media for the widespread condemnation of his response to violence linked to the Aug. 12 protest in Charlottesville organized by white supremacists, which included an observation that “many sides” were to blame. He told supporters in Phoenix that he had “openly called for healing, unity and love” in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy, and had simply been misrepresented in news coverage. The U.N. committee acted under its “early warning and urgent action” procedures that have been applied only 20 times since 2003 against countries including Iraq, Burundi, Guyana and Israel. The U.S. was previously called to respond in 2006 over treatment of a group of Native Americans, the Shoshone. The U.N. says such procedures are directed at “preventing existing problems from escalating into conflicts.” In its statement , the panel pointed to its decision on Friday that calls on the U.S. government to investigate any human rights violations during the protest in Charlottesville, and make sure that freedom of expression does not promote racist speech or crimes. Crickley acknowledged the committee was not a “court of justice” and had little authority to compel the United States to respond, but said the panel believed its decisions had “moral authority.” The U.S. has ratified a convention that underpins the committee, and in theory is required to respond as part of its own commitments. The decision by the 18-member panel of independent experts, which is linked to the U.N.’s human rights office, comes after Crickley and other U.N. experts last week said they were “outraged” over the Charlottesville events that included the death of a counter-protester.

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Reed: Opposing Hate Speech – Vermont Public Radio

Most of my Vermont neighbors are concerned and well-meaning. And most cant imagine that what happened in Charlottesville could ever happen here. But white supremacists have been in the Green Mountains for a very long time. And just lately theres been an anecdotal spike in Confederate battle flags, swastikas, and other hate symbols on display here, not to mention a disheartening increase in racially and religiously inspired harassment and bigotry in our schools. Whats more, not every white supremacist displays hate symbols publicly – so for every white supremacist that puts his or her hate symbols out there for all to see, others may be sitting inconspicuously next to you at work or church, giving you a nod on the street, serving as your elected officials or public servants, or even preparing your pizza. And it doesnt take much for white supremacy views to spread if everyone else is politically unengaged, merely wringing their hands after each new racially inspired crisis and seeking what amounts to civil rights merit badges by trying to convince the few people of color they know, that they, the well-intentioned, are among the good white people. Now, Ill admit that combating white supremacy can feel daunting. But here are three, concrete, immediate steps we can all take. First: we can encourage area schools to teach students how to recognize white supremacy and hate symbols. We can explore how our schools teach topics like the westward expansion, the Civil War, slavery, Jim Crow, eugenics, the holocaust, Japanese internment, and 911. We can insist that our schools deconstruct racial stereotypes by seamlessly weaving the contributions of explorers, inventors, politicians, visual artists, scientists, and entrepreneurs of color throughout the curriculum. The better educated our children become the more resistant they will be to white supremacy ideology. Then too, we can pay attention to our public spaces. We can require our towns, chambers of commerce, business and civic organizations to enact policies that no vendor shall display or sell hate symbols on public property or at any sponsored event open to the public. But in the end, each of us must find the courage to address hate speech, whether verbal or displayed, whenever and wherever we find it. Because failure to do so puts at risk all other efforts to build diverse, inclusive, equitable and economically sustainable communities in Vermont.

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August 23, 2017   Posted in: Hate Speech  Comments Closed

EDITORIAL: Handle hate speech with social accountability – Indiana Daily Student

Since weve all clearly decided not to abide by the trite little guideline, If you dont have anything nice to say, dont say anything at all, were going to need another way to filter our speech. Certainly the filter should not come from our government, especially not under the current administration. Besides, restricting the use of certain terms or symbols will only result in the creation of replacements that serve the same purpose. But should neo-Nazis and white supremacists really be allowed to spew whatever hatred and bigotry they please without any consequences? Quite frankly, no. And since it would be dangerous to give the state the power to restrict speech, the responsibility of managing acceptable rhetoric falls to the public. For example, companies who feel that such views as those that were displayed in Charlottesville, Virginia, do not align with their values should and do have the right to fire employees who espouse such reprehensible ideologies. The Editorial Board is, however, not blind to the likelihood that ostracized, newly isolated extremists will likely further radicalize upon their rejection from society. Festering in the annexes and cellars of society, these groups could potentially radicalize and incite violence in the capacity of domestic terrorists. Despite these dangers, we still believe that an approach to handling hate speech that is grounded on culture, rather than laws, is better than conceding the responsibility to the likes of President Donald Trump and his attorney general Jeff Sessions. While there are many ugly parts of our countrys past and present, our nation is not devoid of sociopolitical triumphs. Free speech is a pillar of American democracy, the destruction of which we should aim to avoid. Having clarified this, if a private sector organization wants to fire employees who have, say, wielded Tiki torches while attending a white nationalist rally that led to riots and murder, they should be allowed to do so. In this case, it seems that the participants chants of their irreplaceability should actually lead to their professional replacement. Of course, theres a right and wrong way to do everything, including the retribution against perpetrators of hate speech. Logan Smith, who runs the @YesYoureRacist Twitter account, recently promised to make famous any Charlottesville rally attendees by finding names to match photographed marchers with the intent being that their communities would punish them. Be wary of such amateur sleuths, as the New York Times has dubbed them; the lives of misidentified culprits can still unjustly fall in harms way once Tweets have circulated too widely. Kyle Quinn, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering at the University of Arkansas, was wrongly identified in a photo of the now infamous rally, and he received such instantaneous backlash that he and his family went into hiding for a weekend at the home of a friend. Ultimately we, the Editorial Board, are not saying that racism qualifies as an opinion. It doesnt. We just dont want the expression of legitimate opinions, political and otherwise, to be impeded in some kind of well-intentioned but poorly executed restriction of hate speech. We shouldnt let our government tell us what to say, but we should be mindful of those who broadcast hatred and treat them accordingly. That could be through mitigating opportunities for them to do harm or through thoughtful engagement and dialogue. Like what you are reading? Support independent, award-winning college journalism on this site. Donate here.

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Our Voice: Stop hate speech by debate, not force – Tri-City Herald

Tri-City Herald Our Voice: Stop hate speech by debate, not force Tri-City Herald It typically is not the popular view that's at risk of being squelched it's the unpopular one. The First Amendment defends the opinion of the minority and the lone voice. It provides a legal shield even for those with beliefs most of us find … Where Do We Draw The Line Between Free Speech And Hate Speech ? KJZZ all 3 news articles »

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The Most Shortsighted Attack on Free Speech in Modern US History – The Atlantic

When free-speech advocates point out that the First Amendment protects even hate speech, as the attorney Ken White recently observed, they are often met with extreme hypotheticals. For example: So, the day that Nazis march in the streets, armed, carrying the swastika flag, Sieg-Heiling, calling out abuse of Jews and blacks, some of their number assaulting and even killing people, you’ll still defend their right to speak?” In Charlottesville, he declared, something like that scenario came to pass: Literal Nazis marched the streets of an American city, calling out Jews and blacks and gays, wielding everything from torches to clubs and shields to rifles, offering Nazi slogans and Nazi salutes. Some of their number attacked counter-protesters, and one of them murdered a counter-protester and attempted to murder many others. This is the what if and how far that critics of vigorous free speech policies pose to us as a society. Nevertheless, he wrote, his civil-libertarian views were unchanged, his belief in constitutional protections for hate speech unaffected, because the countervailing hypothetical that free-speech advocates have always raised in reply to dark scenarios about hate speechthat it is shortsighted to give the state the power to choose what speech is acceptable and what speech isn’t, and use its vast power to punish the difference, because that state may one day be controlled by a leader who overtly relishes the power to punish people who think like you do, encouraged by supporters who hate youapplies every bit as much to the present moment. The Nazis and the KKK marched. Yet even now, at the bottom of the slippery slope, a broad reading of the First Amendment is still the framework that best protects ethnic and religious minority groups. In fact, marginalized groupsstreet activists, Muslim immigrants, Black Lives Matter protesterswould suffer particularly at this very moment if the faction of progressives who want to limit free speech got their way. Charles C.W. Cooke captured why in a satirical response to a recent New York Times op-ed in which K-Sue Park called on the ACLU to change its approach to free speech, arguing that it provides help to hateful causes and that the legal gains on which the ACLU rests its colorblind logic have never secured real freedom or even safety for all. Cooke wrote: Park is correct. It is high time that the ACLU moved onto the right side of History and abandoned the narrow reading of the First Amendment that is the result of 50 years of unanimous Supreme Court precedent. In lieu, it must focus on working toward more diverse and productive ends, such as giving Jeff Sessions and Donald Trump the robust censorship powers that they so richly and urgently deserve. The United States federal government is now run at every level by Republicans. So, indeed, are the lions share of the governors mansions, statehouses, and localities. If the ACLU really knuckles down, it can ensure that these figures and not pernicious neutral principle determine the edges and contours of Americas civil society. He added: The ACLU insists that preventing the government from controlling speech is absolutely necessary to the promotion of equality. But more sensible thinkers grasp that quite the opposite is true. As Park notes, any defense of the status quo perpetuates a misguided theory that all radical views are equal. Theyre not, and, in consequence, an arbiter is necessary. At first, that should be the ACLU, which should simply let some censorship be or, even better, start endorsing it. And eventually, having been freed up by the ACLUs backing away from what Park notes correctly is only First Amendment case law, the government itself should assume that role. Then, and only then, will some space have been cleared for the wise. We have an array of differing views in this country, but I think we can all agree that nobody could be better suited to that oversight role than Jeff Sessions, President Donald Trump, and the thousands upon thousands of state-level Republicans who have been recently swept into office by the infallible will of the people. Furthermore, we should all be able to unite around the appealing chance to hand more power over to the police. Donald Trump is a man marked out for his wisdom, scholarship, and judicious temperament. But, exquisite as his judgment is, he is able to direct prosecutions only on a macro level. To make the scheme work in practice, Americas police officers must enjoy the legal opportunity to determine what and who sits outside of the laws protection. By insisting upon a consistent application of the First Amendment and, most problematically, by defending the legal gains on which [it] rests its colorblind logic the ACLU is depriving our cops of this vital first-line oversight role. In the wake of Charlottesville, that must change. The faction Cooke is parodying really is that shortsighted. If rules forbidding hate speech were passed into law and approved by the Supreme Court, they might well prohibit Nazis and Klansmen from marching to anti-Semitic chants, or waving flags with swastikas, or marching in a torchlit parade through the streets, causing some white supremacists to stay home and others to become more radicalized, as happens when groups are prohibited from seeking political remedies. Meanwhile, Trump and Sessions, the two most powerful law-enforcement figures in the federal government, already draw equivalences between white supremacists and the counterprotesters who meet them on the streets; and they conflate Antifa, a movement that explicitly condones extralegal violence, with Black Lives Matter, a movement dominated by people who reject violence. Yes, those equivalences are false. And that wouldnt matter. Under a legal regime where hate speech was not considered free speech, Trump and Sessions could likely punish words used by members of Antifa and Black Lives Matter. Do you think hed police their speech more or less vigorously than white supremacists? Under a legal regime that treated more kinds of speech as incitement, on the theory that Nazis and other white supremacists are pushing an inherently violent ideology, Trump would very likely use the same rules and precedents to target, say, imams at whatever mosques Sessions judges to be inciting Islamist violence; or Twitter activists who tell their followers that punching Nazis is woke. Those whom Trump has taken to calling the alt-left would be most at risk. And the shortsightedness knows no bounds. As college presidents try to figure out whether the First Amendment protects conservatives right to create political spectacle and instigate violence, Jennifer Delton writes in the Washington Post, it might be useful to recall another time when American liberals were forced to sidestep First Amendment absolutism to combat a political foe: the 1940s, when New Deal liberals purged U.S. communists from American political life. The argument is a perfect illustration of a failure to see what is before ones nose: an alternative theory of the First Amendment is said by the author to have enabled a bygone faction to purge a leftist minority from political life; and this professor suggests reviving that theory while Trump is in the White House and public university systems mostly answer to Republican legislatures. Its been almost 25 years since Henry Louis Gates wrote, The critical race theorists must be credited with helping to reinvigorate the debate about freedom of expression; the intelligence, the innovation and the thoughtfulness of their best work deserve a reasoned response, and not, as so often happens, demonization and dismissal. And yet, for all the passion and all the scholarship that the critical race theorists have expended upon the problem of hate speech, I cannot believe that it will capture their attention for very much longer… The advocates of speech restrictions will grow disenchanted not with their failures, but with their victories, and the movement will come to seem yet another curious byway in the long history of our racial desperation. And yet the movement will not have been without its political costs. I cannot put it better than Charles Lawrence himself, who writes: “I fear that by framing the debate as we haveas one in which the liberty of free speech is in conflict with the elimination of racismwe have advanced the cause of racial oppression and placed the bigot on the moral high ground, fanning the rising flames of racism.” He does not intend it as such, but I read this passage as a harsh rebuke to the movement itself. As the critical race theory manifesto acknowledges, “This debate has deeply divided the liberal civil rights/civil liberties community.” And so it has. It has created hostility between old allies and fractured longtime coalitions. Was it worth it? Justice Black’s words may return, like the sound of an unheeded tocsin, to haunt us: “Another such victory and I am undone.” With Trump in the White House, that warning is even truer today. A weakened First Amendment in todays climate would be marshaled against Trumps opponents, even as it robbed them of their ability to fight back. It would be a gift to white supremacists, not a blow against them.

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August 23, 2017   Posted in: Hate Speech  Comments Closed

Unfounded Charges Of Racism Are Hate Speech T | The Daily Caller – The Daily Caller

If there is anything that characterizes the rhetoric and the ideology of the far left, it is a pathological obsession with race and racism, and an almost reflexive tendency to accuse people on the right of racist beliefs and motivations. Everything from opposition to Obamacare, to reading Shakespeare, to waving the American flag anything and everything can be, and frequently is, diagnosed as racism by the inventive and cynical minds on the left. Given the persistent efforts by leftists and the mainstream media to tie conservatives to right-wing fanatics, we who stand for conservative values must be extremely careful in the words we choose. We must also make clear our own contempt for racism, hatred, and discrimination. Of course, since in this day and age it is primarily the left practicing unabashedly racism, hatred, and discrimination, it should not be difficult for conservatives to stand against these evils. It is the left that promotes an agenda of political correctness, that harasses and intimidates dissident voices, that endorses quotas and race preferences, and that pours scorn on white males. And, lest we forget, at the forefront of the so-called progressive movement are American universities, which are sadly being comprehensively resegregated, so as to create safe spaces for minorities. These are all dangerous and divisive trends, and in every case it is conservatives, not liberals, who are advocating non-racialism and equality. To be fair, though, plenty of extremists on both sides want to divide America and set us at each others throats. That is not at all what the Republican Party wants, or what President Trump wants. We want opportunity for all, liberty for all, and respect and dignity for all. We may disagree at the margins, but this broad acceptance of the supreme value of human and civil rights ought to unite the country, not divide it. Unfortunately, America is anything but united at the present time. Tempers are flaring, and not since the Vietnam War era have people on the right and on the left held each other in such contempt. Anyone who is inclined to discuss politics via social media will know how quickly such conversations turn to personal insults, and invariably to irresponsible charges of bias. That is the sad reality of contemporary American political discourse. It grows more asinine by the day, and the loudest voices seem invariably to be the least responsible. All too often, our barbs and our broadsides are meant to delegitimize, intimidate, and silence the opposition, and to end conversations before they can even start. A charge of Racism! is ideal for this purpose. The person targeted by the charge is assaulted at the level of his (usually unprovable) motivations, and even his decency and humanity is cast into doubt. Given our long national struggle to overcome a history of racial discrimination and mistreatment, a charge of racism arguably is one of the most toxic that can be launched. As Antifa activists are proving, such an accusation can literally destroy lives and livelihoods. Indeed, to be called a racist is potentially more damaging to a person than to be called, say, by a racial epithet. Both are hurtful and intimidating, but the difference is that modern society despises racists, while it rallies to defend people who are targeted because of their race or ethnicity. Racists are perpetrators, evildoers. Victims of racism are exactly that: victims. I do not wish to minimize the pain and degradation that victims of racism experience, particularly when that racism leads to violence, or to the denial of ones civil rights, but the fact remains that to call someone a racist, even casually and without cause, is potentially to do them, and their reputation, permanent harm. It is, or can be, a withering form of slander. Leftists have gotten away with making unfounded and irresponsible charges of racism for decades. I say gotten away with, but in truth they have faced a penalty for their illiberal use of racist allegations. Their credibility has taken a nosedive. Donald Trump, when he was running for President, was labeled a racist much more frequently than a typical Republican candidate for high office. Those charges did not prevent him from winning, however, because they were easy for Republicans and conservatives to discount. They were easy to discount, because charges of racism are flung hither and thither in American politics every day. They hurt, and they can dominate the news for days and even weeks, but in the final analysis they carry relatively little weight, when proper damage control is applied, and when the short attention span of the media inevitably dictates a new story line regardless. Liberals are not fools, of course. They understand that to call someone a racist does not sting as much as it used to. They have a solution to this problem, though: they simply escalate the scale and intensity of their attacks. For instance, why call someone a racist when you can label them a white supremacist or a Nazi instead? Naturally, white supremacists and Nazis do exist. But today, views that are explicitly racist, let alone white supremacist, are confined to fringe elements. How do we know this? About 90% of white Americans approve of interracial marriage. That number has climbed steadily in recent decades. The percentage of whites who still believe in school segregation is in the single digits, whereas it was close to 75% when the movement to promote integration began in the 1940s and 50s. More than 90% of white Americans express a willingness to vote for a black candidate for President, although that may not bring much encouragement to President Obama. The preponderance of the evidence suggests that overt racism (as opposed to racial bias, which is another matter) is NOT a mainstream phenomenon among whites. Thus, the liberal article of faith that Republicans and conservatives are presumptively racist is based on a falsehood. It is based on the idea that racist and white supremacist beliefs are vastly more common than they truly are. When confronted with a phony charge of racism, not every American has the financial resources, the institutional and legal support, or the impenetrable hide of a politician. For an ordinary person, such a charge is undeniably hurtful, and in some professional and personal contexts it is devastating. It thus behooves all of us to reserve such claims to instances where real, provable animus exists. Racism! should not be a throwaway line, to lob at anyone who dares to contradict you. It is rather a serious offense against the American values of liberty, equality, and individual dignity. It is often a crime. I implore all Americans, therefore, to treat one another with civility, and to address the arguments of the other side rationally and without descending to personal attacks, especially when they are based on assumptions rather than evidence. Simply put, a charge of racism is not a weapon to be wielded casually, and neither is hate the answer to hate. Surely as Americans we can do better. Dr. Nicholas Waddy blogs at www.waddyisright.com.

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August 22, 2017   Posted in: Hate Speech  Comments Closed


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