Hate speech may be the thorniest point of contention between diversity advocates and free speech absolutists.Of course most people oppose hate and detest hate speech.But what should we do about it?That’s where disagreements begin.
Let’s look at hate speech from four perspectives.Legal: what does the U.S. Constitution say about hate speech?Behavioral: is hate speech merely speech?Aspirational: ideally, what would we want when it comes to hate speech?Operational: how might government hate speech restraints work in practice?
This is my final (for now) of three columns offering fifty-year projections concerning the following question: as a nation, where will we stand in 2070 when it comes to the contested interplay of diversity and speech?These three columns are based on a December, 2019, public presentation on diversity and speech that I gave at the Speculative Futures in Education Conference at the University of California, Riverside.In my previous two columns I argued that, during the next fifty years, there are likely to be significant changes in the legal framework for dealing with Hate speech and Harmful speech.
First, Hate.In the past decade the internet has dramatically altered the hate speech conversation.As an easily-accessible mechanism for spreading hate and precipitating action, the internet has developed into a true weapon of terror.First Amendment absolutists repeatedly proclaim that the best way to fight hate is simply through “more speech.” However, “more speech” has proven to be decidedly ineffective in combating the internet hate speech avalanche, including troll storms and doxing.For that reason, I predict that the necessity of curbing hate-speech-fueled violence, particularly against marginalized people, will ultimately drive government to restricting at least some forms of hate speech by 2070.
This is the second of three columns in which I make fifty-year projections concerning the following question: as a nation, where will we stand in 2070 when it comes to the contested interplay of diversity and speech?These three columns are based on a public presentation on diversity and speech that I gave at the December, 2019, Speculative Futures in Education Conference at the University of California, Riverside.
In my previous column I argued that the internet has dramatically altered the diversity-speech discussion, particularly when it comes to hate speech.As an easily-accessible mechanism for spreading hate, including through troll storms and doxing, the internet has developed into a true weapon of terror.
Never heard of UHBIOC? Think again. The initials stand for Uncivil, Hate and Bias Incidents on Campus (UHBIOC) and rarely a week goes by without an incident on campuses. CNN reported 5 incidents in just one week with swastikas and nooses on campuses in Georgia, Wisconsin, Alabama, New York, and Iowa. Now the big question for colleges is whether swastikas and nooses legally represents hate speech or free speech.
During my tenure as a fellow of the University of California National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement, I examined how the diversity movement of the past half century has influenced our nation’s conversation concerning speech. Then, in October, I ran across a call for proposals to present at a December 2019, symposium on Speculative Futures of Education.
This seemed right down my alley.For the past forty years I have been dabbling in futurism, including giving a popular public lecture, The Future Basics in Education. Why not apply this projective thinking to diversity and speech?So I submitted a proposal, which was accepted.
No PR firm could have rocketed the new Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar onto the national scene as quickly as her comments on Israel, Jews, and pay-offs. Congress’ debate on how to censure her use of centuries old stereotypes ended with a general denouncement of hate groups, but she remained front and center. I saw Congress’ official response to Omar’s words as a wishy-washy, no-brainer attempt to avoid a statement regarding Israelis and Palestinians. They should be able to do more than echo the Month Python joke, “Run Away! Run Away!”