An investigation of hate speech: legal approaches, current controversies, and suggestions for limiting its spread.
Hate speech can happen anywhere—in Charlottesville, Virginia, where young men in khakis shouted, “Jews will not replace us”; in Myanmar, where the military used Facebook to target the Muslim Rohingya; in Capetown, South Africa, where a pastor called on ISIS to rid South Africa of the “homosexual curse.” In person or online, people wield language to attack others for their race, national origin, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, disability, or other aspects of identity. This volume in the MIT Press Essential Knowledge series examines hate speech: what it is, and is not; its history; and efforts to address it.
Author Caitlin Ring Carlson, an expert in communication and mass media, defines hate speech as any expression—spoken words, images, or symbols—that seeks to malign people for their immutable characteristics. Hate speech is not synonymous with offensive speech—saying that you do not like someone does not constitute hate speech—or hate crimes, which are criminal acts motivated by prejudice. Hate speech traumatizes victims and degrades societies that condone it. Carlson investigates legal approaches taken by the EU, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Japan, South Africa, and the United States, with a detailed discussion of how the U.S. addresses, and in most cases, allows, hate speech. She explores recent hate speech controversies, and suggests ways that governments, colleges, media organizations, and other organizations can limit the spread of hate speech.