Is wearing a MAGA hat hate speech?

Before January 6, not so much. Now? Pretty much it is.

Short summary:

  • Woman 1 and Teenage Boy 1 are protesting at the DNC convention. She has Trump posters. MAGA hat is on the ground.

  • Women 2 & 3 come by and start tearing up said posters.

  • Woman 1 starts videoing and asks if they’re destroying her property.

  • Women 2 & 3 say that they are.

  • Woman 1 says they’re committing a felony.

  • Teenage Boy 1 tells Woman 1 to call 911.

  • Woman 2 or Woman 3 grabs the MAGA hat off the ground and runs off with it, throwing it over a fence.

  • Teenage Boy 1 and Man 1 chase after them; scuffle breaks out and some hits are exchanged.

  • Women 2 & 3 are charged with various offences and plead guilty to “misdemeanour charges of theft, child endangerment and hate crimes.”

  • Judge has strong words about people who resort to violence over political disputes, particularly in the presence of a child.

What the hate crime in all of that might be, I have no idea.

They pled guilty to hate crimes for stealing a MAGA hat, not for wearing a MAGA hat.

He got it.

No. Is that what a MAGA hat states? But when Melania wore get “I don’t care do u” outfit en route to inspect the primitive and outrageous conditions where migrant children were being detained, it was tasteless, tacky, Trumpzuelo and terrible - but not tortious.

You missed the Harry Potter movies?

Basically. Never finished the books, and didn’t want to see the movies first.

In Canada, it might be an aggravating factor on sentencing, if the Crown can demonstrate a racial animus. The MAGA hat by itself likely wouldn’t meet that test.

Wouldn’t be a hate speech offence, which is separate from a sentencing factor for assaults, because nothing is being said that is denigrating the Person of Colour as such.

While I did say that the MAGA hat, by itself, is not hate speech, that is because I view “hate speech” as the sort of thing that should be illegal. I reserve the term for that which advocates harm or discrimination more directly. MAGA hats may identify you as a Trump supporter and thus very likely racist, but they don’t advocate anything.

I don’t know if it was clear in my previous post, but I’ve been okay with coming up with a legal concept of hate speech for a long time. While there is a fuzzy, gray line on what exactly is racist, there is also a clear black area, one that no one can argue isn’t racist.

If someone argues that a MAGA hat is racist, I won’t disagree with them. But I want to preserve the term “hate speech” for the type of bigotry that is so obvious and obviously dangerous that everyone should be able to agree that it has no value. That the goals of freedom of speech are not furthered by tolerating it.

And, as odious as the MAGA hat is (because of what it stands for), I don’t think it meets that criteria.

Now, if we started looking into fascism, then it gets murky. To wear the MAGA hat today means you support the attack on January 6th, and thus support using violence to try and change the outcomes of elections. And that support is something that we as a nation should not tolerate. Democracy does by necessity need to fight against autocracy and authoritarianism. It has its own paradox of tolerance there, where all political ideas should be allowed to be put forth except ones that would end the democracy. So there is something here.

But that’s a different discussion, more appropriate for GD. As far as IMHO goes, I just wanted to make it clear why I don’t consider MAGA hats hate speech, even though I presume that those wearing them are in fact racists at best.

The preservation is unlikely to happen though. That’s not the way human speech and thought work.

What, you never watched Lidsville when you were a kid?

[quote=“Northern_Piper, post:68, topic:952457”]
In Canada, it might be an aggravating factor on sentencing, if the Crown can demonstrate a racial animus.[/quote]

Which is all it could be in the United States as well, since “hate speech” is not a crime. And that’s why I suggested that the hats could be a component of making a case that the crime was a hate crime. I doubt the hats by themselves would meet the bar, but I absolutely believe they would be relevant. The point I was making in the linked article is that making something an aggravating factor is a pretty low bar.

Again, “hate speech” is a super fuzzy term, and a lot of racists like to pretend that actions have to rise to the level of “hate crime” before becoming problematic.