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British Men Jailed For Online Hate Crimes 778

Posted by timothy
from the don'tcha-just-hate-online-crime dept.
chrb writes "Two British men have become the first to be jailed for inciting racial hatred online. The men believed that material they published on web servers based in the United States did not fall under the jurisdiction of UK law and was protected under the First Amendment. This argument was rejected by the British trial judge. After being found guilty, the men fled to Los Angeles, where they attempted to claim political asylum, again arguing that they were being persecuted by the British government for speech that was protected under the First Amendment. The asylum bid was rejected and the two were deported back to the UK after spending over a year in a US jail."
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British Men Jailed For Online Hate Crimes

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  • by Aphonia (1315785) on Saturday July 11, 2009 @01:37PM (#28661951)
    It's an internet hate machine, you know. [ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNO6G4ApJQY [youtube.com] ]
  • by biscon (942763) on Saturday July 11, 2009 @01:44PM (#28662009)
    is it the act of hating someone due to their racial background or sexual orientation which is illegal? or just running your mouth about it?. if its the former its thought crime and if its the latter its censorship. I don't believe in hate crime, not because I am a racist or a homofob its just that laws like that tend to be abused. Besides I like living in a free society where the government doesn't get to decide what I can legally think.
  • Being offended. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 11, 2009 @01:46PM (#28662025)

    It should be something that adults can deal with.

  • by Kell Bengal (711123) on Saturday July 11, 2009 @01:47PM (#28662043)
    I never understand what people like this hope to accomplish. Inciting racial hatred... really, it's like internet trolling - it just gets people flustered and angry, and they do it for 'teh lulz'. It's pathetic. Nothing changes; nobody is going to be swayed by their infantile invective, they aren't ever going to have the people they dislike evicted from their country. Even if they did, would it really make their life any better?

    The common thread amongst racists that I've found is that they invariably want someone to blame for the state of their own lives, and they choose someone who is obviously different from them, because it's easy. These guys aren't smart, capable people; they're losers. It takes people with amazing charisma and a climate of social discontent to legitimise racially prejudicial attitudes - insulting cartoons shoved under a synagogue door don't make the grade.

    Should they be imprisoned? Maybe. But I think we'd accomplish just as much by ignoring them and their malcontent existance, as one would an internet troll.

  • Speech. At one time it did, but now there are limits to free speech. Both in the UK and USA now.

    I guess that means we can send the KKK and Nazi groups in the USA to jail then for distributing hate speech materials. Also track down the "Anonymous" group for hate speech against Scientologists, etc.

  • by Bartab (233395) on Saturday July 11, 2009 @01:51PM (#28662085)

    If you can't say something other people don't want to hear, you do not have free speech.

  • by pem (1013437) on Saturday July 11, 2009 @01:56PM (#28662113)
    By your definition, no country has free speech.

    Let's try a little experiment.

    You wear an earpiece and I'll tell you what to say. We'll go all Sash Baron Cohen in Detroit. Then you can get a first-hand taste of exactly what saying things other people don't want to hear can lead to.

  • by EWAdams (953502) on Saturday July 11, 2009 @01:57PM (#28662121) Homepage

    Israelis arrest (and indeed assassinate) enemies of Israel anywhere they like. Ditto the USA. A California couple publishes porn on the Internet in California, and is tried and convicted in Tennessee, which they have never visited. You can do something in a foreign country that's totally legal there, and your own government will still prosecute you for it -- as these guys did. It's only a matter of time before the USA starts prosecuting American citizens for smoking dope and visiting prostitutes in Amsterdam.

    The fact is, if you publish it on the web, you're liable for it worldwide, regardless of where you are or where the server is. Better get used to it.

  • No Asylum? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Bellegante (1519683) on Saturday July 11, 2009 @01:59PM (#28662139)
    No free speech in the UK, I get that (though I strongly disagree with it!), but why not offer asylum? Don't we believe in the right to free speech ourselves? Isn't this a perfect example of a situation in which we should, when someone comes to us who is being prosecuted for a crime that we do not consider to be a crime?
  • by clarkkent09 (1104833) * on Saturday July 11, 2009 @02:05PM (#28662205)
    I don't believe in hate crime, not because I am a racist or a homofob its just that laws like that tend to be abused.

    I don't believe in hate speech crime, not because I am a racist or a homophobe but because I believe in the right of individuals to think and to say whatever the fuck they want without somebody shutting their mouth by force or putting them in jail for it. Laws prohibiting hate speech don't have to be abused to be wrong, they are also wrong when functioning as intended. If you disagree with racists or homophobes feel free to say so, but don't use the force of government to shut them up because you are replacing one evil with a greater one. And besides, is there an easier thing to argue against and to ridicule than the irrational and primitive nonsense that such people tend to say. Why would you even need such laws is beyond me. I am only sorry that the US government is not willing to step up and protect people from other countries, however odious their beliefs might be, who are persecuted at home for no greater crime than speaking their mind and who seek refuge here.
  • I don't believe in hate crime...

    Well, most people do. And these days, that's all you need to throw someone in jail forever: The consent of the people.

    It's easy to get that consent as well. You just need to own a few newspapers and get a few people to cry on television. Gets 'em every time.

  • by DittoBox (978894) on Saturday July 11, 2009 @02:09PM (#28662235) Homepage

    But the government loves you, and wants you to be happy. Why do you hate the government? Maybe you should go through a program to rehabilitate you. If you hate the government and it's policies then you obviously hate other races and such.

    [/sarcasm]

    Therein lies the problem. This is exactly why thought-crime is such a dangerous notion.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 11, 2009 @02:09PM (#28662243)

    "If the materials were published in the US just how can an English court have jurisdiction?"

    The server was in the US, but the server is an inanimate object incapable of criminal intent, so it is not automatically relevant. The people with criminal intent were permanently in the UK at the time of the offences and the material was about the UK and ethnic minorities in the UK, targeted largely at an audience in the UK.

    IANAL, but it seems that courts largely adopt an attitude of "looking through" any technology and focusing on the people involved.

  • by rolfwind (528248) on Saturday July 11, 2009 @02:09PM (#28662245)

    At one time it did, but now there are limits to free speech. Both in the UK and USA now.

    While the USA is getting there, it's still easily the best, any laws on the books probably will be struck down before the Supreme Court (although having that as my last line of defense does not reassure me).

    Most countries with "Freedom of Speech" have so many exceptions to the rule that it's worthless, see Germany. Popular speech doesn't have to be protected but that's all they seem to try to protect. That is pretty ironic as the terrible parts of their history was not due to Freedom of Speech, but slavish adherence to the state, which is still ingrained in the national attitude.

    It's ironic that the Founding Fathers were considered "liberals" in their day (look up the term classical liberal) but both sides of the political spectrum would love to censor speech at any opportunity, just for different reasons.

  • by Cederic (9623) on Saturday July 11, 2009 @02:09PM (#28662251) Journal

    Count this one as censorship. They were found guilty of 'inciting racial hatred'.

    That doesn't mean it's illegal to hate someone because of their racial heritage (i.e. thoughtcrime) it's illegal to incite such hatred in others.

    Still right on the edge of suppression of free speech, and without knowing exactly what these guys printed/posted I'm not sure whether this is something I need to be concerned about or not.

  • by Cederic (9623) on Saturday July 11, 2009 @02:12PM (#28662273) Journal

    They were published from the UK to servers in the US.

    The leaflets/pamphlets weren't exactly being handed out in LA either...

    It's not as though US citizens were extradited to the UK despite having committed no US crimes or committed crimes while in the territories of the UK. Shame for Gary McKimmon that the US authorities aren't similarly restrained.

  • Re:No Asylum? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Angostura (703910) on Saturday July 11, 2009 @02:12PM (#28662277)

    But the U.S doesn't have perfect freedom of speech either. See "Fire", crowded theatres, passim.

  • by quickbrownfox (900989) on Saturday July 11, 2009 @02:17PM (#28662323)
    Of course, there's that old saw about how the right to free speech doesn't mean you can yell "fire" in a crowded theater. And I think you can get in trouble for making death threats, as well. I don't think a lot of people would argue that the First Amendment should provide a blanket protection for anything anyone wants to say. I need to read the article, but what these guys were doing was really dangerous or inflammatory.
  • by Tx (96709) on Saturday July 11, 2009 @02:18PM (#28662333) Journal

    is it the act of hating someone due to their racial background or sexual orientation which is illegal? or just running your mouth about it?. if its the former its thought crime and if its the latter its censorship.[...] Besides I like living in a free society where the government doesn't get to decide what I can legally think.

    You can think what you like, and hate who you like, if it makes you happy. I have no problem with that. But when you start inciting others to take action based upon your hatred, then we have a problem. Maybe I think you deserve to die because you don't capitalise your sentences properly, so I post "evidence" that you are a child rapist on the internet. Your house gets fire-bombed, and your kids die. How are you liking your free society now?

  • by StopKoolaidPoliticsT (1010439) on Saturday July 11, 2009 @02:21PM (#28662359)
    Hate crime laws don't suppress racism... they might suppress public expression of racism, but people will still hate privately, likely using the hate crime laws themselves as a valid excuse to promote hate to others. "Look at James Byrd, they gave two of the three white guys that dragged him to death the death penalty and the other life, while the three black guys that did the same thing to Ken Tillery got 15, 20 and 70 years..." It's hard to enforce the law equally when the purpose of the law is to setup specific protected classes and that will result in more division.

    IMO, it's much better to get people to express themselves publicly since it gives them an avenue to vent while simultaneously allowing you to deflate their arguments before they can spread the hate.

    I live in NY... and you'll hear lots of people saying they were proud to vote for a black man for President, but those same people moved when blacks started encroaching on their white neighborhoods, send their kids to mostly white private schools, etc. While they publicly talk a good game, they still don't want to be around "those kind of people" privately. That undertone of racism is allowed to go unchallenged though, largely because as long as the racism isn't overtly public, it "isn't" really racism. I'd argue refusing to let your kids go to school with someone of a different color isn't much different from beating someone else up for being a different color. The same hate exists, just expressed differently... Sure, one is a violent crime which deserves a penalty in its own right, but the other goes completely unpunished and undiscussed.

    Ultimately, if we want racism (and sexism, homophobia, etc) to end, we need to stop drawing lines to divide people into different camps and giving special treatment to "the right groups." Anything short of equal treatment breeds a hate itself.
  • by Kell Bengal (711123) on Saturday July 11, 2009 @02:22PM (#28662365)
    That is true... but this is the UK we're talking about, not a tribal society.
  • There are many forms of authoritarianism. It is a belief system that is surprisingly "cross-platform"; you'll find examples in all kinds of communities, secular and religious, left-wing and right-wing, liberal and conservative.

    What they have in common is a mis-trust in the governed. The governed must be repressed, and cannot be allowed to have free choice. There can be no tolerance for meaningful opposition, for that would "weaken" the community, resulting in "instability", i.e., loss of control by the governing class. It is a forced form of allegiance.

    All truly free societies are built on the power of persuasion.

  • Re:!thoughtcrime (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 11, 2009 @02:28PM (#28662445)

    >You likewise can't threaten everyone who's a member of a group, racial or otherwise, and expect to get away with it.

    of course you can in the UK: you just have to be a muslim to do it.

    Heck, you can incite crowds to murder those that 'offend' your own caveman beliefs and get very lucrative jobs in the british govt.

    Seriously, live in the UK and see how 'tolerant' we are of certain behaviour from certain groups and not from others.

    People notice this and it fuels their hatred at the hypocrisy.

  • by bitt3n (941736) on Saturday July 11, 2009 @02:29PM (#28662451)

    whether you see a greater evil in suppression of speech or unreasoning hatred.

    I think the case can be made that suppression of speech is a potent means of perpetuating unreasoning hatred. One is unlikely to change a person's mind by preventing him from speaking it.

  • by SpinyNorman (33776) on Saturday July 11, 2009 @02:32PM (#28662471)

    "Freedom of speech" in the US doesn't mean you can say whatever you want either. If you endanger other people by what you say (e.g. shout "fire" in a crowded theatre, incite others to murder, violence) there are consequences. If you slander someone there are consequences. If you lie under oath there are consequences.

    Freedom of speech isn't a right that overrides all other laws, not should it be.

    I'm amazed not only that this story was posted to /. but also that so many apparently have sympathy for these losers.

  • by bhima (46039) * <Bhima@Pandava.gmail@com> on Saturday July 11, 2009 @02:35PM (#28662495) Journal

    It least where I live these days "Hate Speech" is a blanket term for that for laws that regulate speech which has the design of inciting men to violence. That and we have laws specifically about glorifying the Drittes Reich or Nationalsozialismus; denying the holocaust; and generally attempting to relive the mistakes of the past. As far as I can tell these laws are pretty useful because to a man all that have been prosecuted have been intent on goading others to do violence, part of violent groups, done violence themselves, or all of the above. And like you, I have a hard time getting worked up seeing those people prosecuted.

    I've also lived in the US for nearly 20 years and I am not sure that the tolerance of hate speech in the US has had the result of creating a freer & safer society or a freer or more effective press. As far as I can tell, the laws and public opinion about freedom of speech issues are dysfunctional.

    Also I'm absolutely convinced that corporate speech and political speech is more dangerous than hate speech. And the US has completely failed to deal with them... or for that matter even discuss them openly and honestly.

    One last thing. It's a far cry from Hate Speech (public speech with a call to action) & Hate Crime (Violence motivated by Bigotry) to Thought Crime (muttering to yourself as women & children cross the street to avoid you)... which is what the parent was referring to and which I think has at least at basis for argument & discussion with regard to US and UK anti-terror laws.

  • Re:!thoughtcrime (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Psyborgue (699890) on Saturday July 11, 2009 @02:37PM (#28662509) Homepage Journal
    I have the right to say "death to [group/country/people/religion]" or "killing abortion doctors is good". You are responsible for your own choices if you decide to ask on my words, not me. In US law, anything is protected speech unless it is an *immediate* threat of violence [wikipedia.org] (i.e. inciting a riot when you are actually in the riot). If you want to defeat bad ideas, fight them with good ones in the open commerce of ideas. Suppressing speech only treats the symptom and not the root cause of the problem, which is fear and misunderstanding... something that can *only* be dealt with by open and honest dialogue.
  • by EWAdams (953502) on Saturday July 11, 2009 @02:37PM (#28662515) Homepage

    Of course overt hate speech increases violence, are you nuts? Check out history of the partition of India. In many parts of the world violence is always just below the surface, and it only takes one or two unwise remarks in public to trigger rioting.

  • by D-Cypell (446534) on Saturday July 11, 2009 @02:40PM (#28662541)

    There is no free speech anywhere, just people that harp on that they have it and others dont.

    There are certainly things you could say in the US that would mean that you would end up in jail. It might be for some other reason, but if you started publically praising the 9/11 hijackers (for example), you can expect the authorities to start looking into your business pretty closely. You had better be whiter than white. Most likely you would end up incarcerated (assuming you lived long enough to get there), for some other thing, and it is possible that the 'other thing' could be fabricated. None of this would have happened if you had kept your mouth shut. So in truth no real 'free speech'.

    The difference between so called 'free countries' and oppressive ones, is how your rights scale on the basis of you not being an idiot in how you decide to use them. In free countries it is possible to make pretty much any point, and stay free of any serious persecution if you do it the right way, in the right context.

  • Re:assumption (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sumdumass (711423) on Saturday July 11, 2009 @02:41PM (#28662553) Journal

    (Of course, since many European nations have outlawed hate speech, I wonder when people start suing Christian churches, given how much Christianity preaches hate and discrimination.)

    That's interesting as a blanket statement. I have never seen any Christian church preach hate and discrimination except for Obama's church which I would really call a christian church (they believe the only those who have suffered in some way get into heaven or some shit like that).

  • by SoVeryTired (967875) on Saturday July 11, 2009 @02:43PM (#28662565)

    The holocaust is not a crime to you? Most would call that a hate crime but obviously you disagree.

    That's a strawman argument if I ever saw one. We're discussing whether it should be legal to publicly denigrate Jews, not mass murder them.

     

    Hate crimes exist in europe because in europe we have seen far to closely what happens if hatred is left unchecked.

    And the US has never seen what happens when hatred is left unchecked? How exactly does legislating against hatred "check" it anyway? Just because it's illegal doesn't mean it will go away.

     

    Mind you, the americans think the KKK has a right to exist. In europe it is forbidden to be a member of a nazi group. Neither method seems to work in keeping people from being killed because of what race/sex/orientation they are.

    Nice. Generalise about Americans in a tirade against racism. Anyone see the irony?

     

    But this is the UK and if the UK people want a system where racists can be locked up for spreading hatred then you that is their freedom.

    The brits and most of europe choose different.

    And you can THINK what you want. it is spreading what you think that is restricted.

    Isn't this a better definition of a society that is not free? As Voltaire said, "while I may not agree with what you say, I'll defend to the death your right to say it".

    It'd be nice if there was a "-1, half-baked knee-jerk reaction" moderation option.

  • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Saturday July 11, 2009 @02:48PM (#28662607)

    Your definition of "thought crime" as "muttering to yourself" is completely bogus trivializing.

    As for the tolerance of "hate speech" creating a freer and safer society here - the difference between the US and most of the rest of the world is we let it all hang out - the good, the bad and the ugly so that we get public discourse and an eventual meeting of the minds, even if it does take a generation or two and a lot of nasty words to get there. We are the most ethnic and culturally integrated country in the world in part because of that - contrast that to all the states with laws against insulting groups, your immigrants are far, far less integrated into mainstream society.

    You can't fight bad words with censorship, only good words in response to bad words can do that. Censorship just takes away the opportunity for someone to respond with good words.

  • by AP31R0N (723649) on Saturday July 11, 2009 @02:48PM (#28662609)

    The legal aspect of the term hate crime was invent to make sure such crime were actually PROSECUTED. Not long ago, crime A by person type B against person type C was no big deal. Stomp a fag to death, burn a cross on a nigger's lawn, no problem. The people enforcing the laws were the same as the people breaking them, so often the crimes were unpunished. Enter hate crimes. Now it's harder to get away with it.

    Some hate crimes are meant to terrorize, which makes them actually WORSE than the act itself. For instance, swastikas on the synagogue. If some kids painted smiley faces, it's just graffiti, destruction of private property. The swastikas imply... "get out or we'll come back with something worse".

  • by Psyborgue (699890) on Saturday July 11, 2009 @02:54PM (#28662645) Homepage Journal
    But a court could find almost anything likely to "incite". A court could find a Big Mac likely to "incite" obesity. Where the hell is personal responsibility?
  • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Saturday July 11, 2009 @02:55PM (#28662657)

    Of course overt hate speech increases violence, are you nuts? Check out history of the partition of India. In many parts of the world violence is always just below the surface, and it only takes one or two unwise remarks in public to trigger rioting.

    And his point is that because "hate speech" is outlawed in most of the rest of the world that violence is always just under the surface. Its like forest fires - stopping the little ones is like censorship, but the end result is that the big ones are unstoppable and far more dangerous, just like riots. Communication, no matter how ugly, is how we work out differences before resorting to violence. Prevent people from working out their differences peaceably and it should be no surprise that violence is all that's left.

  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Saturday July 11, 2009 @02:56PM (#28662663) Journal

    This discussion will invariable get out the "free speech or nothing" nutcases who claim that all speech should be free, while they read and post on a moderated forum with an adblocker censoring the slashdot creators.

    Americans especially have a serious amount of hypocracy in these cases. Europeans tend to know that free speech does not exist and that true free speech is far to messy to allow. Yet while in holland we recently had proposal to make holocaust (not just THE holocaust but all similar events before and since) denial an actual and specific crime. At the moment it already falls under hate crime laws. Even the liberals (think left of the most left democrat/indepedent you ever witnessed) VVD who recenly proposed that hate crimes should be gotten rid off wanted the distinction between THINKING hate and inciting/causing hate.

    The reason was simple, the poor guy who suggested it was INSTANTLY shot down by everyone. Not just the WW2, but the incitement to hatred that occured in Rwanda or even more recent South Africa (where there was violent against black immigrants from native blacks, I add this because you might typical assume that racial trouble in SA would be between black and white).

    Europe once again is a powder keg. Parties who have immigrants as part of their agenda (meaning, they don't want them) are on the rise and with the economic downturn it doesn't take a lot to get a sensation of deja-vu. No, this is not 1930 germany. There are a lot of differences with all sides involved but right now NOBODY wishes to allow someone to start spreading hate that might find a fertile breeding ground.

    We know from history that hate speech can be a serious danger if the conditions are right. Butt should our freedom to say what we believe be curtailed for the chance that something bad might happen?

    I do notice that most of the most fervent supporters of free speech on this site sound and awful lot like white, christian, hetero-sexual, middle class male. What does this group have to fear from hate speech? They control the US. It is easy to say hate speech should be free when it is not targetted against you. I have no problem with americans being allowed to carry heavy weapons. In america. Go right ahead, carry a machine gun to the mall. It doesn't affect me.

    But if you are black or a muslim or a jew or a woman or any other group that is the subject of hate groups then it becomes a different story.

    The murders in holland on Theo van Gogh and Pim Fortuyn fall under hate crimes. People spoke nasty words about them, saying it would be better if they were gone and someone listened. Wait until YOU are the one under a death treath before you say free speech should be totally unrestricted.

    I am fairly willing to bet that the majority of free speech spouters on slashdot would change their tune VERY quickly if they were the subject of a hate attack.

    Free speech is important, but being able to say anything at all without any restrictions will be abused.

    Almost everything we do is restricted. From travel (I am free to travel across the globe but only with the proper papers), to reproduction (I can only do it with women who agree) our lives are regulared. Why should speech be any different?

    And americans, before you try to correct me, how come that on a recent mythbusters I saw they had SO much censorship going on that it took up 50% if the screen and made the subject invisibale (jaw breaker myth). How come there are no boobies on US tv? What is the constant bleeping?

    The US, where you can't say fuck, show a boody or a brandname but you should be able to race X should be gassed. Thanks but no thanks. I take holland, where you can say fuck, show full frontal nudity on a childrens program and brandnames can be shown as long as it is not advertising for the product (and I don't think your candy exploding is a very good advertisement). Neither system is perfect.

    And before you quote some founder about freedom, find out how many slaves he or his friends owned.

  • by clarkkent09 (1104833) * on Saturday July 11, 2009 @02:58PM (#28662673)
    Well yes, I happen to disagree with any outright prohibition of free speech, whether true or false, including yelling fire in a crowded theater - although, let those injured or the owner of the theater sue the culprit if they suffer any damages from it. While that's a minority position, you are going too far in the other direction. Are you really saying that making false claims about president's position on gun control ought to be a crime because some nutcase might decide to shoot somebody because of it? If so, then if you think my position is "dangerous" it's nothing compared to yours. There is practically no limit to government control of free speech if any false statement that might conceivably cause some psycho to go off can be prohibited. In my opinion, the only guilty parties in those shootings, as in Klan bombings, are the shooters and bombers themselves. They could have easily ignored those who "egged them on" but they chose not to.
  • Re:!thoughtcrime (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MindlessAutomata (1282944) on Saturday July 11, 2009 @03:00PM (#28662701)

    I claim that your ability to silence what I say is harm, are you going to lock yourself up in a jail cell? Or wait, lemme guess... it's you, the wise, enlightened populist liberal, that gets to decide what constitutes "harm," what opinions are "harmful," no?

  • by Psyborgue (699890) on Saturday July 11, 2009 @03:00PM (#28662703) Homepage Journal
    "it's spreading what you think that is restricted". Exactly. You admit that your government controls the commerce of ideas?
  • by c6gunner (950153) on Saturday July 11, 2009 @03:05PM (#28662733)

    I live in NY... and you'll hear lots of people saying they were proud to vote for a black man for President, but those same people moved when blacks started encroaching on their white neighborhoods, send their kids to mostly white private schools, etc. While they publicly talk a good game, they still don't want to be around "those kind of people" privately.

    That's complete nonsense. They don't live in those neighborhoods and send their children to those schools because they want racial segregation - they do it because those neighborhoods and those schools are upper-class environments where their children can prosper without having to worry excessively about crime or violence, and because those schools tend to offer a better quality of education. Parents who can afford to send their kids to a private school don't start the selection process by saying "hrm, let's see which school has the fewest negros" - they send their children to the best school they can find. Unfortunately, due to the economic discrepancy between the races, those schools tend to have fewer black students, but you're confusing correlation with causation.

    You know, it's like you went out to a rich neighborhood, looked at the kind of cars most of them drive, and then concluded that rich people must be massively pro-German. It makes no sense.

    As for the whole "proud to vote for a black man" thing ... that IS racist. If you're more proud to vote for a particular candidate due to his race, you're a bigot, regardless of whether he's black, white, green, or purple.

  • It's ironic that the Founding Fathers were considered "liberals" in their day (look up the term classical liberal) but both sides of the political spectrum would love to censor speech at any opportunity

    Both sides of which spectrum? Certainly one can be a socialist or a capitalist, a free marketer or a central planner, a hawk or a dove, and still be in favor of (or opposed to) censorship. But censorship is authoritarian; if you favor it, you are not a liberal of any sort, classical or contemporary.

  • by Psyborgue (699890) on Saturday July 11, 2009 @03:15PM (#28662805) Homepage Journal
    Or maybe suppression of the speech will drive it underground, make it taboo, and in a sense, make it more appealing to those who are lonely and looking for a sense or subversive belonging. Think Streisand Effect, teenage rebellion, and drug prohibition rolled into one.
  • by lgw (121541) on Saturday July 11, 2009 @03:19PM (#28662833) Journal

    The hate crimes legislation comes into play, at least in the US, when it crosses from just expression to incitement of violence or represents a threat to other people's safety. This isn't really that fine of a line, I'm not aware of cases going forward where it wasn't terribly obvious that it had crossed the line sometime previously.

    I agree completely Citizen! The fact that it was already illegal to incite violence was inadequate - that only protected public safety, and did nothing to deter BadThink. We must trust the Leaders to guide us towards GoodThink at all times! Inciting violence because you lack thought process approved by our Leader is far, far worse than otherwise inciting violence, because it's more important to stop BadThink than violence any day.

    Jailing MPs who argue in parliament against the positions of the ruling party could only happen in the UK, here our Leaders are firm supporters of free speech and would never abuse power in any way!

  • by BlueParrot (965239) on Saturday July 11, 2009 @03:25PM (#28662861)

    Whenever somebody makes the nonsensical claim that it is unacceptable to censor racist or homophobic propaganda because it is a free speech issue, consider the following examples.

    1: You're not allowed to harass people, even if you do so by speaking.

    3: You're not allowed to tell people lies in order to make them agree to things they otherwise would not ( i.e fraud ).

    4: You are not allowed to print untrue stories that may damage somebody's reputation ( i.e libel ).

    5: You're not allowed to damage people's reputation by spreading lies about them ( i.e slander )

    The main problem with the laws against racism and homophobia is that they have been poorly named. They should have called it "The protection against harassment of minorities act" or something like it. As with all other liberties your freedom ends where mine begins, and just like freedom of movement does not entitle you to sleep in my front-yard, nor does freedom of speech entitle you to spread lies about my sexual orientation. If you seriously think that freedom of speech gives you a right to lie about and harass people, then I'm afraid you have a rather naive idea of how the world works and you may just find that a lot of people with disagree with you.

  • by c6gunner (950153) on Saturday July 11, 2009 @03:25PM (#28662865)

    There is no free speech anywhere, just people that harp on that they have it and others dont.

    When I was a kid I tried using that argument on my parents when they insisted that I clean my room. "There's no sch thing as a clean room, only different levels of messiness". They weren't terribly impressed with that approach, and now, reading your comment, I can see why.

  • by shaitand (626655) on Saturday July 11, 2009 @03:30PM (#28662893) Journal

    'I live in NY... and you'll hear lots of people saying they were proud to vote for a black man for President, but those same people moved when blacks started encroaching on their white neighborhoods, send their kids to mostly white private schools, etc.'

    I'm sorry but that is not racism. They aren't moving because blacks are moving into their neighborhood they are moving because the culture that prevails in black neighborhoods is encroaching on their own. The same is true of the schools.

    I'm sorry to all of those who want to call it the 'new racism' but opposing your children being influenced by a culture of rap/hip hop that romanticizes abuse of women, use of dangerous drugs like crack, gang violence, and the idea that people should be loud, rude, and obnoxious in their interaction with others is perfectly valid. The fact that people are afraid to express that idea openly and publicly without fear of being called racist is a sign that the public face of "white" america is diseased not their thoughts behind closed doors.

    Why were people willing to elect Obama (your votes are still private not public actions like you seem to suggest)? They elected Obama because his race is irrelevant what is important is that he didn't show signs of being a part of that culture and because he doesn't speak ebonics (which is superficial but to anyone who didn't grow up speaking ebonics it simply sounds like the broken English of the uneducated).

  • by RsG (809189) on Saturday July 11, 2009 @03:33PM (#28662919)

    I agree completely Citizen! The fact that it was already illegal to incite violence was inadequate - that only protected public safety, and did nothing to deter BadThink. We must trust the Leaders to guide us towards GoodThink at all times! Inciting violence because you lack thought process approved by our Leader is far, far worse than otherwise inciting violence, because it's more important to stop BadThink than violence any day.

    The trouble with busting out 1984 references and parodies every time this happens is it cheapens them to the point of irrelevance. If every infringement upon liberty, no matter how significant, is called tyranny, than what shall real tyranny be called?

    Orwell would probably be troubled by the direction we're heading in. He'd also probably be appalled at how silly we've made his (legitimate) concerns look to the world.

    1984 is a chilling look at how the world could become if we let it, it is not raw material for constructing alarmist strawmen.

  • by Hubbell (850646) <brianhubbellii@nospAm.live.com> on Saturday July 11, 2009 @03:35PM (#28662931)
    "A significant amount of bigotry finds its way onto places like Fox News, there is no need for more rights considering how far one can go already without being harassed by law enforcement."


    This is always one of the numerous shittalking points people have for fox news...yet I watch it and have never heard any of this bigotry. Please provide examples. It's just like people saying rush and levine etc all spout hatespeech constantly, yet noone can ever point out exact examples.
  • by shaitand (626655) on Saturday July 11, 2009 @03:51PM (#28663047) Journal

    The problem goes beyond the success or failure of hate crime. The problem is the idea that the government should be taking a stance on issues like racism in the first place. It doesn't matter if I make decisions based on racism, fiscal views, political stances, etc. People are entitled to think as they will and justify what they do to themselves however they wish. All that matters is their actions and the results.

    If CEO Y believes that minority A are lazy and don't work well then ultimately his company will fail compared with CEO X who believes that all races perform equally. Maybe not on a single example Y vs X example since there are other factors but over time a statistically significant sample will develop and prove itself. At which point CEO's who follow the money will win, regardless of which stance that is.

    In the end valid views will produce results and invalid ones will not. It doesn't matter whether the view in question is racism or anything else. Equal opportunity laws are an example of things gone wrong. Baseball is an example of things allowed to unfold properly. In baseball, ultimately racism failed not because someone said they couldn't recruit based on race but because minorities demonstrated exceptional performance and proved racism invalid.

  • by c6gunner (950153) on Saturday July 11, 2009 @03:54PM (#28663089)

    Who said they were rich?

    Relatively rich.

    When I moved to Canada, my family didn't have much money and we lived in one of the worst areas in the city. We had plenty of neighbors of all sorts of races and religions, and it didn't bother me a bit - I was mainly worried about the daily robberies and assaults, the drug addicts in the stairwells, and dog-shit being left in the hallways. So as soon as we saved enough money to afford better accommodations, we moved.

    We moved again, 3 more times in the following 10 years. During each move, our new area was less "diverse" than the last one. According to your world-view, that means we're horrible bigots who hate minorities. In reality it's just a case of us being able to accumulate wealth, and preferring to live in a cleaner, safer environment, surrounded by people who care about their neighborhood. I wouldn't give a damn if 90% of my neighbors were black as long as the quality of the people and the maintenance of the area remained the same. Race isn't the problem - crime, violence, and shitty attitudes are. If I lived in an all-white neighborhood where I had to worry about crime, violence, drug addicts in the stairwells and dog-shit in the the hallways, I'd move out of that area too. What would that make me - a Self-Hating-Caucasian?

    And no, neither I nor the rest of my family is "rich" even now, but we are a hell of a lot better off than we were when we got here, and could certainly be considered rich when compared to the people who still inhabit our original neighborhood.

  • by lgw (121541) on Saturday July 11, 2009 @03:56PM (#28663111) Journal

    Orwell was supportive of individual rights, and saw it as a failing of self-proclaimed solcialists that they so often were not.

    We have got to admit that if Fascism is everywhere advancing, this is largely the fault of the Socialists themselves. Partly it is due to the mistaken communist tactic of sabotaging democracy, i.e. sawing off the branch you are sitting on; but still more to the fact that Socialists have, so to speak, presented their case wrong side foremost. They have never made it sufficiently clear that the essential aims of Socialism are justice and liberty.

    Orwell saw very well how stifling democracy, especially opposing speech, to protect your cause leads inevitably to facism. He wrote about the Communists taking control of Spain

    "The logical end is a régime in which every opposition party and newspaper is suppressed and every dissentient of any importance is in jail. Of course, such a régime will be Fascism. It will not be the same Fascism Franco would impose, it will even be better than Franco's Fascism to the extent of being worth fighting for, but it will be Fascism. Only, being operated by Communists and Liberals, it will be called something different.

  • by shaitand (626655) on Saturday July 11, 2009 @04:00PM (#28663137) Journal

    Agreed. A good example is the militia movement in the 90's. There was a very loud and oft repeated national call to violence as people were getting more and more upset with the government. But that doesn't mean everyone involved in those movements is guilty or wrong because Timothy McVey used it as an excuse to firebomb children in a civilian target.

    In fact, ultimately inciting violence is fundamental to freedom of speech because its most basic purpose is to incite violence against corrupt government in the manner that our founders did. Whether your motivations in your call to arms are legitimate or illegitimate is beside the point everyone acts or does not act is responsible for their own actions, your right to say they should act is protected.

  • by MaskedSlacker (911878) on Saturday July 11, 2009 @04:01PM (#28663147)

    Actually from what you presented in your post, there is no evidence whatsoever that the museum shooting was a hate crime. A white man goes and shoots a black man at the holocaust museum. There is nothing in the act itself that suggests a hate crime (any more than someone knocking over a 7-11 with a sikh cashier is likely to be a hate crime against sikhs).

    The problem with hate crime laws is that it is near impossible to actually prove that the crime was motivated by racial or other prejudice (except for particular cases where say, the culprit specifically told someone that's why he was going to do it). Even if a person is publicly known to hate members of another group, and he murders a member of that group, that is not proof that his prejudice was the motivator, but it will very likely get him convicted under the hate crime law.

    In effect, the burden of proof is so low on the 'hate motive' that it becomes no different from the UK's law. It makes certain thoughts illegal, just in the US case you only get charged if you commit an actual crime as well--then the prosecutor says, "Not only did he murder John Doe, but he hates people like John Doe, so that must have been why," with no evidence that this was actually a factor.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 11, 2009 @04:02PM (#28663151)

    I do notice that most of the most fervent supporters of free speech on this site sound and awful lot like white, christian, hetero-sexual, middle class male. What does this group have to fear from hate speech?

    "Hate Speech" is regularly practiced by "minorities" against white male Christians. It's not labeled as such, because the double standard is that reverse racism does not exist, and that essentially only white males are capable of the crime. Has an African American or Hispanic ever been prosecuted for a racially-motivated attack against a White in the United States? I doubt it. Do Hispanics and African-Americans attack Whites because they are viewed as easy targets? Consistently and constantly - the FBI crime statistics broken down by race of perpetrator and victim are freely available online for anyone who cares to take a look.

    Nobody truly wants "equality." All legislation and efforts to enforce such a state of affairs are merely parts of the endless human struggle of group against group, and nothing is done if there is not a benefit for a particular group involved. Do you truly think that Blacks, Muslims, Jews, and women are not capable of hating and perpetrating the same level of atrocities that the standard historical references of White hate groups could? There is ample evidence that they can. It truly shows to what a sorry state the indigenous inhabitants of the UK have fallen that Muslim imams can openly preach death to the native population while afforded police protection, and yet the Heretical Two rot in a jail cell. Perhaps their greatest error was attempting to seek asylum in the United States - I don't understand why they believed they would find any sanctuary here.

  • by Kjella (173770) on Saturday July 11, 2009 @04:10PM (#28663211) Homepage

    As for the whole "proud to vote for a black man" thing ... that IS racist. If you're more proud to vote for a particular candidate due to his race, you're a bigot, regardless of whether he's black, white, green, or purple.

    If you think that he deserves the position, but in the past you wouldn't have voted for him anyway but now you do, then that's something to be proud over. Sure you might say that you're just doing the right thing you should have done all along, though I disagree. Overcoming your bigotry is hard and cause for pride.

    Of course, if you didn't really think he was the best candidate only that the country needed a token black precident as a racial feelgood measure then I agree. Then you've just clouded your judgement again with a new kind of bigotry.

  • by d3ac0n (715594) on Saturday July 11, 2009 @04:12PM (#28663223)

    The problem with your point of view is that it does not take into account the political strategy called "Incrementalism".

    That is; By restricting liberty in small and seemingly innocuous steps, that taken individually seem logical and generally harmless, one can slowly reduce a society under absolute tyranny and the majority of the people will say nothing until it is far too late to stop the change.

    This is the strategy of the far left in most of the world. Having found that outright military takeover has only worked in a limited number of instances, and that military Juntas are notoriously unstable, far leftists such as William Ayers, author of "Rules for Radicals" (which outlines this very strategy) and a close personal friend of a certain American President, have decided that the Incremental strategy is far superior for slowly wiping out Liberty in the West and replacing it with Tyrannical Socialist government. Thus, you begin to see the loss of personal freedoms, talk of "hate speech" laws, "fairness" laws of varying kinds, etc. etc.

    THIS is how a real life "1984" starts. Not through nuclear war and subsequent social collapse, but through slow small steps, each designed to not raise an alarm. Eventually Freedom as it once was is gone, replaced by total control by the State. We are already very far along this road, it may already be too late to go back. I pray we are not, but with Leftists in control in America, there is little to stop it.

    God help us all.

  • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Saturday July 11, 2009 @04:23PM (#28663317) Homepage Journal

    here in the US we acknowledge that actions committed in other countries fall under the laws of that country

    LOL!

    Oh, wait, you were serious, weren't you?

    BWAHAHAHA!

  • by timeOday (582209) on Saturday July 11, 2009 @04:25PM (#28663341)
    I agree about the potential risks, but not in this case. The Holocaust Museum shooting perpetrator is a poster child [cbsnews.com] for prejudice, with a 60 year self-avowed history of anti-semitism. Furthermore, the Holocaust Museum has such overt symbolism that he could not possibly have attacked it without knowing exactly what message he would send. Are you arguing it's just a coincidence he attacked there?
  • by RsG (809189) on Saturday July 11, 2009 @04:38PM (#28663451)

    Right, the argument that begins with a metaphor. If you put a frog in boiling water, it leaps out; put it in warm water and boil it incrementally, and it cooks alive.

    Trouble is, the metaphor has it exactly backwards. In real life, the frog getting dropped into boiling water dies swiftly, while the one in the slowly heating pot jumps clear when the temperature rises beyond its comfort level.

    Same applies in real life. I can't think of a single genuinely totalitarian regime in the past century that came into being incrementally without something disastrous to accompany it. Nazi Germany had the lingering aftereffects of WWI coupled with a failed economy, same applies to Soviet Russia, China was recovering from an invasion, as were too many other parts of southeast Asia to count. Lets not even get into the myriad tyrants in the middle east, all rising amidst local turmoil.

    You get totalitarian regimes in the wake of wars (especially losing ones), societal collapses, economic depressions, massive social injustice or other transitory crises. Things go wrong and the government "steps in", taking power with the promise of giving it back when the trouble has passed, which only happens occasionally.

    Impose tyranny gradually and the opposition to tyranny will also rise gradually to meet it. Impose it all at once, under the guise of necessary sacrifices in the face of adversity, and the opposition can be silenced swiftly.

  • by labnet (457441) on Saturday July 11, 2009 @04:39PM (#28663461)

    It is the definition of harrasment that concerns me.
    Is expressing an opinion harassment, or does that harssment need to be targetted toward an individual.
    Eg. I don't think a gay lifestyle is right, but I certainly don't hate them for it and wouldn't condone any specific action.
    If someone doesn't like my religion, then that's their opinion, but if they said hunt me down and kill me because of my religion, then that would be harassment.

    So my concern is that the mere expresion of a personal opinion without intent could be considered harasment.

  • by Foobar of Borg (690622) on Saturday July 11, 2009 @04:41PM (#28663489)
    Very good. My only complaint about your post is that, at least in the States, the far right has the same strategy. The far left gives us tyranny in one way, while the far right gives us tyranny in a different way. It's as though they are playing for the same team.
  • by Bartab (233395) on Saturday July 11, 2009 @04:43PM (#28663501)

    You list a number of things that some municipalities disallow. In the US, most municipalities do not disallow what you list. None of those things are controlled by the federal gov't, or generally even the state level.

    Federalism, not just a good idea, but the law.

  • by WNight (23683) on Saturday July 11, 2009 @04:44PM (#28663505) Homepage

    No, you don't fear the homosexual, you fear homosexuality.

  • by StopKoolaidPoliticsT (1010439) on Saturday July 11, 2009 @05:00PM (#28663635)
    In the US, hate crimes are generally an extra charge tacked onto a crime that has been committed, so as to dole out extra punishment. However, they're appended in a very arbitrary manner and not equally enforced, which only strengthens the undertones of hate in some communities. White men are frequently charged even if hate wasn't a motivator, while very often minorities who attack those white men usually aren't charged with them.

    See the cases of James Byrd, Jr [wikipedia.org] and Ken Tillery [wikipedia.org] which I referenced. Both were dragged to death in the same town four years apart, but the perpetrators were charged differently.

    What the laws amount to, is trying to determine the motivation behind why someone committed their crime... and frankly, that motivation is a thought, so hate crime legislation borders on outlawing certain thoughts. And since motivations aren't frequently ascribed equally, there is a question of whether or not it is a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment guarantee of equal treatment under the law.

    Racists use the capriciousness in the application of the law as one of the reasons to hate, so the question becomes, does the selective applicatin foster more hate than the legislation is intended to punish? Further, if the law can't be applied uniformly, isn't it in violation of the Constitution?
  • by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Saturday July 11, 2009 @05:27PM (#28663811) Homepage Journal

    slowly wiping out Liberty in the West and replacing it with Tyrannical Socialist government.

    Pal, I don't think you have any idea what "Tyrannical" or "Socialist" really means. You're just parroting corporate-sponsored Right-Wing AM radio talking points. You think that because you jump up and salute every time Rush or Hannity or Sarah Palin or some UK neo-nazi hollers is showing some sort of "love of Freedom", but you're really just reacting to a careful marketing plan put in place by corporate powers who feel cheated when someone on the bottom rung of the socioeconomic ladder makes ten cents more per hour. If we give everyone health care, after all, how are we going to force them to keep working for wages? If we educate people, after all, how are we going to fill the factories with minimum wage workers? If people stop believing in their patriarchal God the Father, expecting to go to heaven, they're going to expect better lives now and want to keep from fouling their planet, which would be bad for profits.

    When you try to suggest that any Western European or North American country is headed for "Tyrannical Socialism" you display the kind of ignorance that you'd expect from someone who uses a sig like "Official Heretic from the "Church of Global Warming". You're ready to believe any kind of crap that you're told, as long as it comes with a heaping dose of hatred of people with darker skin or funny accents.

    You say that the idea of "hate speech" laws are a tool to take away our freedoms. What do you think of laws that use the word "terrorism" to do the same? It's OK, because those laws are aimed at the muslims, but hate speech laws are aimed directly at your own hate-filled self. Your misplaced fear is not that hate crime acts are going to take away your freedom, but that your very world-view is called into question. You're so in love with your own hatred and ignorance that you're afraid someone's going to take it away like a favorite blanket.

    You'd be pitiful if you weren't such a danger. You have this notion that there was some magical period in our history when we were "Free" and had "Liberty" and even though you can't point to any such period on a time-line, you're eager to turn the clock back as long as it means that you can go back to feeling superior to the wogs.

    And don't try to say "You don't know me," because I've spent enough time in red state America and the rural UK to know folk like you like the back of my own hand.

  • by countvlad (666933) on Saturday July 11, 2009 @05:48PM (#28663955)
    You've made an excellent distinction, but both systems are in error.

    I think class-based law is hypocritical in a nation "Where all men are created equal." Having a tiered law system smacks of "separate but equal" combined with a form of hyper-political correctness, neither of which are healthy for an open, democratic society. Discrimination is a property of Humanity, to deny it is foolhardy; all points of view have a place but are not all equal, to equate them all tips the scale in favor of anarchy over order. The concept that skinheads murdering a black man is a "hate crime", as if it were any worse than skinheads murdering anyone else, appalls me: murder is murder and the punishment for murder should be based on that fact alone. You shouldn't be punished for who you target, but for what actions you take and the consequences thereof - yet "hate crime" legislation does just the opposite.

    I believe in equal protection and equal punishment. That includes things like killing law enforcers or heads of state - the balance is in the fact that we give police rights above and beyond that of ordinary citizens to protect themselves and we provide private or military security for heads of state. So you can stop wondering about that.

    Lady Justice is blind, not telepathic, and we do disservice to ourselves and our society by pretending otherwise.
  • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Saturday July 11, 2009 @06:04PM (#28664051)

    The US is not the most multicultural or well integrated society in the world...

    Really? Name two with a broader range of ethnic populations. I expect you want to point to countries like Sweden and Belgium which rate near the top of EU countries for integration but the number of sizable distinct ethnic groups in those countries is tiny compared to the USA.

    I've never heard the assertion of societies which allow people "to insult groups" causes better integration into that society. Frankly that is more bogus and trivializing than my flippant characterization of thought crime.

    One man's insult is another man's truth. If you don't allow insults then all you do is drive the insults underground where there is no one to rebuke them and thus gain even further legitimacy.

    Furthermore, If you think that the public discourse in the United States is some how creating a meeting of the minds or such (and you live in the United States), you are deceiving yourself.

    I do and history is on my side. I expected you to make the error of using too small of a timescale.

  • by rohan972 (880586) on Saturday July 11, 2009 @06:11PM (#28664089)

    It's somewhat like saying that during the 20s and 30s when the Klan was at the height of its power that it's OK to repeat Klan talking points, just don't be the one that's actually throwing the bombs.

    and yet the klan is no longer at the height of it's power, despite the US having no hate speech laws. How did that happen? Let's do more of that, rather than abridge freedom of speech.

    The first amendment has never been absolute, there's always been prohibitions on things such as threats, libel and slander allowing for an extra penalty for the extra damage that hate speech does when it crosses the line is perfectly reasonable.

    We had a case here in Australia of two christian guys been done over in court (eventually overturned on appeal) over inciting religious hatred against Muslims. Most people would probably find these guys to be over the top. However, during the case they were apparently asked to stop reading from the Koran because it was vilifying to muslims. (Apparently, because I can't find the source reference, only mention of it on blogs, jihadwatch etc, http://www.jihadwatch.org/dhimmiwatch/archives/001050.php [jihadwatch.org])

    Case can be found here:
    http://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/sinodisp/au/cases/vic/VCAT/2003/1753.html [austlii.edu.au]
    http://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/sinodisp/au/cases/vic/VCAT/2004/2510.html [austlii.edu.au]
    http://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/sinodisp/au/cases/vic/VCAT/2005/1159.html [austlii.edu.au]
    http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/cases/vic/VSCA/2006/284.html [austlii.edu.au]

  • by mi (197448) <slashdot-2014@virtual-estates.net> on Saturday July 11, 2009 @07:02PM (#28664385) Homepage

    If you prevent public displays of it, the distribution of hate speech, and the dissemination of such practices, you prevent societies' young from learning and eventually deifying that type of behavior.

    Yes, because it worked so well against drug abuse...

  • by Ironsides (739422) on Saturday July 11, 2009 @07:20PM (#28664487) Homepage Journal

    The problem with your point of view is that it does not take into account the political strategy called "Incrementalism".

    I believe this is also known as "the slippery slope".

  • by SpinyNorman (33776) on Saturday July 11, 2009 @08:01PM (#28664629)

    As for the whole "proud to vote for a black man" thing ... that IS racist. If you're more proud to vote for a particular candidate due to his race, you're a bigot, regardless of whether he's black, white, green, or purple.

    Rubbish. You don't need to be color blind not to be racist.

    I think the sentiment more expressed, or felt, than "proud to vote for a black man" was "proud that we (Americans) elected a black man", and you have to be totally ignorant of American history to see why people would not be proud of this and the progress it represents. The pride wasn't in electing a man because he's black (which would be racist), but in electing him despite it.

  • by TeXMaster (593524) on Saturday July 11, 2009 @08:02PM (#28664633)

    If CEO Y believes that minority A are lazy and don't work well then ultimately his company will fail compared with CEO X who believes that all races perform equally. Maybe not on a single example Y vs X example since there are other factors but over time a statistically significant sample will develop and prove itself. At which point CEO's who follow the money will win, regardless of which stance that is.

    Except when the vast majority of employers share the view of CEO Y and thus almost nobody will hire people from minority A which will then have to resort to some other form of survival, which will generally be crime or social welfare, thus reinforcing the stereotype that justifies the view that put them in the situation in the first place.

  • by jipn4 (1367823) on Saturday July 11, 2009 @08:31PM (#28664741)

    I'm sorry, but you'll never convince me that "kill the queers" and "string up the niggers" is how we work out our differences peaceably. Peace only comes when we stop using such language.

    I agree, but you're still wrong. Peace doesn't come when people stop using such language because of government oppression, it only comes when people stop using such language voluntarily.

    First, hate speech is NOT outlawed in most of the world. It's only outlawed in a few western democracies ... The violence below the surface has existed for centuries before there were any laws about such things.

    Nonsense. Historically and around the world, "hate speech laws" are nearly universal. Of course, in the more backwards countries and times, "hate speech" just means "anything that opposes the government or the preferred religion". And restrictions on speech are one of the primary causes of unrest and revolution.

    A liberal (in the proper sense of the word, i.e. not authoritarian) democracy must first of all agree on tolerance. Without tolerance there is no hope for peace and good governance.

    You're confusing tolerance and acquiescence. I tolerate lots of religions and defend people's right to practice them, but that doesn't mean that I can't tell them that I think Christ or Mohammed were frauds or draw them with bombs in their turbans if I so choose.

    Besides, have you seen the vitriol that many conservatives and Catholics are heaping on liberals? Why should they have all the fun?

  • by rainsford (803085) on Saturday July 11, 2009 @08:51PM (#28664817)
    Moving out of a crappy area isn't racism, but blaming "black culture" for the quality of the area sure as hell is.
  • by Psyborgue (699890) on Saturday July 11, 2009 @09:00PM (#28664863) Homepage Journal
    And somehow you think that attacking religion in the same fell swoop is going to convince anybody that what you say isn't out of your own far-left bias. With language like "people like you" and so forth, are you really any better than the prejudice you claim to oppose? Consider this honestly: if hate speech laws were applied a little bit differently, and you were in the UK, could your message render you a target for prosecution? That's the danger right there.
  • by Bob Gelumph (715872) on Saturday July 11, 2009 @11:16PM (#28665335)

    You say that the idea of "hate speech" laws are a tool to take away our freedoms. What do you think of laws that use the word "terrorism" to do the same?

    I'd say that both sets of laws are generally bad. I would think that a law against directly and effectively inciting violence would be better. If a person is just ranting, rather than actually trying to organise people to go hurt others, then as despicable as their speech may be, I'd prefer them to be able to say it.
    My thoughts on the matter boil down to this: People have the right to be jerks, but we should be creating a world where people don't want to be jerks.
    These neo-Nazis are exercising their rights, and society has failed because they have chosen to exercise them in this way.
    These guys don't seem to have actually hurt anybody, so I'd prefer to see them get counselling to deal with the root cause of why they feel the way they do. A reformed neo-Nazi would be a better instrument against Nazism that someone who never thought about it one way or the other.
    For you U.S. citizens out there, you should be opposed to these guys being jailed, because if they were jailed for the same act in the U.S., it would be unconstitutional, and by applauding it, you would be effectively saying that you are opposed to the first amendment. And if you believe that the constitution is so good for you, then you should be striving for others to have the freedoms that you have.

  • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Saturday July 11, 2009 @11:19PM (#28665343) Journal

    Apparently you're a racist then, because GP didn't call it "black culture". He called it "a culture of rap/hip-hop" - and gave a very accurate assessment of what that is - and noted that "it prevails in black neighborhoods" - which is certainly also true.

    It doesn't imply that the culture has a valid claim on being a "black culture", whatever that's supposed to mean. In U.S., at least, I'd hope that Whites and Blacks (and others) share a single common American culture.

  • by arethuza (737069) on Sunday July 12, 2009 @06:23AM (#28666517)

    "our protection of free speech really is a lot better than what most European countries have" - in a purely legal sense I'm sure you are right. However, in a practical sense I doubt if there is that much difference as although the theoretical right to free speech is there there seems, to an outsider who has spent a reasonable amount of time in the country, to be a rather narrow range of views actually expressed in public.

    I'm also amazed at why people can't appreciate why Germans are just a wee bit sensitive on the subject of the Nazis - I appreciate that legislation may not be the best way to stop these things but I can at least appreciate why they are doing it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 12, 2009 @07:12AM (#28666693)

    So its not the colour of their skin, its the way they talk? or the music they listen to? or they're method of social interaction (interesting you defend free expression on the next line btw, and ignore the possibility that loud/rude/obnoxious to you is rude to everyone). It doesn't matter what you hate. What matters is the way you look at an individual human but see the perceived slights on an entire 'culture'. ('culture' because I'd love to see you define where ones culture starts and anothers ends without tripping over your prejudice).

    There are certainly some idiots of every persuasion that actually try to live up to the stereotypes imposed on them - you should try being Scottish and having to live with a bunch of English hating brave-heart nuts. But you seem to ascribe these stereotypes to entire swathes of society based on whether they listen to rap music, or speak the way their whole neighborhood speaks. And if you really have a problem with Ebonics, I suggest you stay away from all of the UK except London cause we don't speak the Queens or the Puritans English either - for many years Scottish colloquialisms were viewed as uneducated broken English, we weren't even allowed to say 'aye' in front of a policeman without being accused of being disrespectful.

    As a side note, If you don't want your children influenced by a culture with any history of abusing women I hope you've kept them away from any white Christian influence, especially ones that romanticize the abuse by promoting the bible as either a literal work or even a collection of allegory's to base an ideology on, considering it actively tries to justify over a millennium of vicious institutional sexism. (if you do turn out to be from a culture that has managed to avoid just about every other on the face of the planet, and hasn't practiced institutional bigotry against a gender/race/sexual preference then I apologise from inferring otherwise, but do have to wonder where the hell you've been hiding yourself and how big are the blinkers you wear?)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 12, 2009 @07:44AM (#28666813)

    What if I, an Englishman, burnt a Scottish flag in Edinburgh? Do you still think I'll be met with a moderate discussion?

     

    How about if I stated loudly that I was burning the Scottish flag as a proxy for Scottish independence before holding aloft a Union flag or the flag of a political construct you don't agree with? I think that a persons reaction would depend on how emotionally invested in a symbol they are.

     

    I would guess that Americans attach particular importance to their flag in part because don't have a hereditary head of state and in part because they are a mostly immigrant based country. Having a ritual pledge of allegiance attached to the flag means that new immigrants can show that they too are part of a new nation. We don't have that so to us it's just a piece of cloth.

  • by shadowofwind (1209890) on Sunday July 12, 2009 @12:15PM (#28668237)

    I think part of the reason American's are sensitive about flag burning, is there's very little unifying national ethnic history. So in the US ideology is used instead. Other countries that have multiple ethnic groups still usually have a longer shared national history, and many have ethnic problems anyway.

    Also, many Americans have to beat their chests so that they feel OK about abusing other groups. Its a part of the 'culture war'.

  • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Sunday July 12, 2009 @01:21PM (#28668613)

    Don't confuse large populations of only a handful of groups with a large number of groups.

Suburbia is where the developer bulldozes out the trees, then names the streets after them. -- Bill Vaughn

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