Hated Speech

Last week at the World Economic Forum, the vice president for Values and Transparency for the European Commission, Věra Jourová predicted that hate speech laws that are now in place in Europe will soon be imposed upon the American public, in spite of the Supreme Court’s precedent of protecting such speech under the First Amendment. FBI Director Christopher Wray supported her prediction when he discussed the “significant strides” that have been made in “the level of collaboration between the private sector and the government, especially the FBI” in controlling speech on the internet.

Banning “hate speech” sounds good on the surface. The less hate in the world, the better. So, banning hateful things, should make the world a better place, right? The problem is that how do we define hate speech? Representative Sheila Jackson-Lee tried to do just that when she introduced an anti-hate bill in Congress last week, designed “to prevent and prosecute white supremacy inspired hate crime.” Interestingly, the bill only focuses on hate crime motivated by white supremacy. Apparently, she doesn’t care about stopping hate crimes committed by people of color against white people or other minorities.  

The legislation outlaws “material advancing white supremacy, white supremacist ideology, antagonism based on ‘replacement theory,’ or hate speech that vilifies or is otherwise directed against any non-white person or group.”  Once again, it only prohibits hate speech directed at non-white people. So, it’s legal for her to spew vile, hate-filled racist speech as long as it vilifies white people, which she does on a regular basis.

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