Hate speech and censorship

I’ve received a warning for “hate speech” in this thread : https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=884596

Specifically here : https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showpost.php?p=21950191&postcount=183

Copying pasting the comment I was answering to :

and the answer I made, while arguing in this thread that censorship would not stay limited to the most blatant cases, or allow for sarcasm or humorous intent, and that the reasoning of people who want to ban speech they dislike now is exactly the same as the reasoning of people who wanted to ban speech they disliked back then or will want to ban speech they will dislike in the future.

The post of the moderator seems to imply that my post had been reported, hence that he’s not alone in thinking that this constitutes hate speech.
I should be pissed, but I think that this “hate speech warning” is a perfect illustration of my position. I’m “sentenced” for hate speech for having given a list of opinions that have been or are considered as threatening, and that people wanted to or actually censored for this reason. It doesn’t matter that I’m not even expressing support for these opinion. The simple fact that I mention them is “hate speech”. Context and intent, sarcastic, or illustrative, or otherwise, do not matter. What matters is that a bad word has been used and a condamnable opinion has been mentioned. This cannot be tolerated. Someone has been offended. This is unacceptable.
I’m sure that some people will think : but wait, it wasn’t clear whether or not you were supporting these opinions. This could be interpreted as you saying that faggot are threatening our children. I’m sorry but no. In a thread about censorship of speech, it must be expected that examples of speech considered as deserving censorship will be mentioned. It must be expected that comparisons will be made. It must be expected that examples of offensive speech will be posted. The reader has the responsibility to take this context into account, both the context of the thread and the context of my posts (my posts in this thread being filled with statements about the similarity of the demand for censorship for hate speech now and similar demand for censorship both in the past and the present, of ideas who are now not only considered tolerable, but receive overwhelming support).

It isn’t acceptable, in my opinion, that a reader would pick a sentence, interpret it in the worst possible way, and then clamor “hate speech”. I’m not even going to exclude the possibility that this report (if report there was) was made, not by someone genuinely misinterpreting my intent, but by someone understanding it perfectly but either wanting to silence an opinion he disagrees with or believing that mentioning some opinions or using some words, even when not condoning them, is hate speech anyway.
Whatever the reason, it illustrates the points I was making, since these are all issues I pointed at : censorship extended vastly beyond “people repeatedly making very clearly hateful statements”, which some people seem to expect it will be limited to, leading to all sorts of expression being banned, censorship being used to silence dissenting opinion, context not mattering, etc… And it illustrates also how well accepted the idea of censoring the expression of an unwelcome idea has become, when people ask for censorship, and censor, first, and ask questions later. And finally it illustrates another thing I pointed out. That it’s not only the government banning legally speech that is worrisome. It is also, in our day and age, the push for censorship everywhere, in particular in social medias.

The rest of the post isn’t directly related to this, just my rant about censorship, so you can ignore it safely :

And of course, this current enthusiasm for censorship isn’t limited to hate speech, which was the topic of the thread. I can see this directly as a hobbyist producing erotic (or pornographic some would say) content. Parents want it censored so what little Timmy will be able to go anywhere without risking to see something they disapprove of. Religious types want it censored in the name of the lord. Progressives want it censored in the name of feminism. People from more conservative countries want it censored because what is acceptable or not shouldn’t be defined solely on the basis of western values. Governments want it censored because pornography (or a specific kind of it, like BDSM here or gay sex there) is illegal or disapproved of in their country. Banks and credit card companies want it censored because it might give them a bad rap. A certain extremely famous high tech company wants it censored because its equally extremely famous founder hated pornography. Someone (can’t remember whom) said that when free speech is threatened, pornography is the famous bird in the coal mine, the first one to choke, warning all others of the impending danger, and it might very well be true.
I wrote it in this thread, and I’ll write it here again since i’m not going to participate anymore in a thread about censorship controlled by trigger happy censors :

People who are supporting limitations of free speech now are like the anti-vaxers. They don’t see anymore the value of free speech because it has succeeded so well. They owe to past firm defenders of free speech the possibility they have now to express their ideas freely. They owe them to even have these ideas in the first place. They would never have reached them if it hadn’t been for free speech activists who made sure that these ideas could be expressed when they were considered anathema by 95% of the population that was more than willing to ban them. Hardly anybody would support gay marriage today, or even decriminalization of gay sex, if it weren’t for free speech supporters who insisted on letting those mental cases spreading ideas that even themselves considered harmful and devoid of any conceivable merit.

And like the anti vaxers who never had to deal with poliomyelitis, those people never had to deal with their own speech being suppressed, and they fully expect that censorship will be solely going in the direction they favor. Which is delusional. Especially since censorship has historically been supported by the progressives against the moral majority. When the progressives themselves clamor for dismantling free speech, when the idea that censorship of unpopular speech is perfectly acceptable spreads, and no one is left to defend free speech (even in the USA, even in the ACLU) those people who had to endure for decades if not centuries a concept they never approved of, will come back with a vengeance. They’ll be fine with banning racist speech. Because ordinary people aren’t as horribly hateful as some depict them. They don’t like racism, either. But they also don’t like speech that insult their nation, that disparage their values, that offend their religious sensibilities, that contradict their morals. What value is there in putting a crucifix in urine, pray tell? Why is insulting me OK, if insulting him isn’t? Tell them : from now on, offensive stuff can legitimately be banned, and wait for the list they’ll come up with. You remember you elected Trump, right?

Your second link asks me to sign in.

Don’t tell me that you are surprised. Hate speech laws are intended as a bludgeon to use against those who pose an ideological threat. They are the modern equivalent of blasphemy laws and accusations of witchcraft.

Why do you think the concept of free speech itself is under attack?

I think that link was supposed to go here:
https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showpost.php?p=21950191&postcount=183
And not to a Deviantart page that has mature content. I think that was a mistaken paste that is a very ironic one in a post about censorship…

Are we discussing the warning, or re-litigating the arguments for and against hate speech? It’s not quite clear from your OP.

I assume this was supposed to be your second link, unless the mature content you posted has something to do with your free speech arguments.

To me, the context of your post was very clear, and using the word “faggot” seemed unnecessary and perfectly in line with how the board defines hate speech.

Arguing that “the board defines hate speech as X, but I think it should be Y, and therefore when I get warned for violating X, it proves that Y is correct” isn’t convincing to me.

Oh fuck, my second link has absolutely nothing to do with the topic and is towards porn.

So, you think that using the word “faggot” in any context is hate speech?

And I disagree that the use of the word is abnormal. People would have said faggot as they would have said commie.

What is hate speech about? About people being insulted, or about hiding taboo words, like beeping them on TV?

Fixed it for you, using the link TroutMan gave. Let me know if you meant it to go somewhere else.

Word to the wise: Don’t.

OP, I’m not sure I’m following this entirely, you seem to be arguing against someone who is against hate speech censorship, and you are also against hate speech censorship? I’m not going to read through that whole thread to try to figure out your position in that exchange.

I am also opposed to hate speech legislation, period. Mostly for the reasons you seem to be stating.

Having said that, I have to wonder why, among the examples you used in the part that you quoted, you only used an “offensive” word for one of the four. “Commie” is just a shortening of “communist” and not particularly personal. So why that one F word that is certain to stir people up, when you could have used something more neutral?

Unless you were doing it to prove how easy it is for people to forget the use/mention distinction. I think it would have been more obviously a mention rather than a use if you had, say, put it in quotes.

Thanks to the moderator who promptly replaced it.

I don’t think that meets any sane criteria for hate speech. But that’s the point. Once the rules or laws are in place you can be certain that they will be used arbitrarily and subjectively. And how can you argue against it? You can’t. Because no two situations taking into account a billion years of history are going to be 100% identical. So the only thing you can do is censor yourself.

Are any of your objections covered by the rules we agree to follow when we sign up to participate on this message board?

Bigotry. Hate speech is about bigotry. There are certain words that have been historically used to oppress minorities, and those minorities have asked us to stop using them. Continuing to do so is considered a sign that of hatred towards that minority.

“Commie” isn’t such a word (unless it was used to attack people for being Russian, and thus a racist* term). But "faggot’ is such a word. It is a hateful slur against gay people, and those who use it are communicating that they are bigoted towards gay people.

That said, I do acknowledge the “use/mention” distinction. Sometimes you need to talk about bad words as words, and it isn’t hate speech to do so. That said, if you want to use circumlocutions, that is also fine. I myself use them when asked to do so.

*“racist” in this case includes racial, ethnic, and national bigotry. English lacks a word for the latter two, and the underlying hatred in racism is so similar that it took on the additional meaning. I mention this because I believe you are a Francophone first, and an Anglophone second.

No, the person is promoting censorship of hate speech because in his opinion hate speech is the most harmful for freedom.

Because that’s a word that people defending this position would have used.

And besides, I also have an issue with the idea that simply using a word is in itself offensive, even when it’s not used as an insult. I know that it’s a pretty common idea in the USA (see “the N word”), and I link it to the habit of beeping “bad words”, but I couldn’t agree less. The words “faggot”, “nigger”, etc… exist. Talking about them, mentioning them is normal. Thinking that their mere mention is somehow offensive and should be avoided in all circumstances is, I would say, puritanism and maybe an american cultural idiosyncrasy.

Thank you. In fact, I intended it to link to the warning : https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showpost.php?p=21950191&postcount=183

But linking to the post too is fine.

Just like you used it in a non hateful manner so did clairobscur. I’m not sure what you call the rhetorical device he was employing, perhaps satire, but it was clearly not meant as hate speech. I just realized something as I typed this. I assumed clairobscur was male. If in another thread clairobscur had claimed a preferred pronoun or a gender that didn’t coincide with “he” some would argue my post was hate speech.

Except you didn’t mention the word “faggot.” To do so requires talking about it as a word.

You actually went and used the term. You may have been using it to make a point, but you still used it. And such usage is against the rules here.

I would also advise you not to turn this into a fight between countries. Americans don’t tend to agree with how France treats these issues, either. You can argue either one is correct. But you are posting on an American message board, and the rules were made clear when you signed up.

Can you point to the part of the rules I agreed to that my post broke?

Swapped that one in for the original bad link.