What is hate speech? It appears that if we want to censor something or someone these days, we claim it's hate speech. If someone were to point out that the Confederate flag never meant "We hate blacks!" but instead that "The United States receive their power from the States," I'm certain someone would claim to be offended and then classify that point as Hate Speech. Unfortunately, such claims are actually misuses of Censorship. Now censorship is not evil in itself (more on that another day), but it does get misused often and the classification of "hate speech" is a prime example.
Let's consider the nature of hate speech. It is composed of two words, "hate" and "speech" which means it requires those two together in order to exist. While speech is present in most cases, the "hate" isn't. I recall reading on the media the outrage over a Nobel Prize winner for his "sexist" remarks about women in the lab. When I dived into it, I didn't see anything about hate, just what he had learned from personal experience. Does his personal experience mean it applies globally? Not necessarily, but rather than dishonor him, shouldn't we have tried to let him continue his work in an environment where he can work best? Everyone is distracted by one thing or another. Some scientists can love rock and roll to keep them focused (think NCIS), while others need complete silence. What does that mean? They are incompatible working together. As for the "sexist remarks," they merely corresponded to the taboo about dating a coworker and how creating those situations can cause problems. Because romance involves two parties but often is only one-sided, it shouldn't be hard to realize that it can be a problem. I could go on about this but I am beginning to digress.
Back to that thing about the Confederate flag, I would argue the outrage people have over it would be better classified as hate speech than those who want to keep it (unless they fall under the group that believes it actually does express hatred). How bad is it? People today have become so single-minded that they refuse to acknowledge the other side's points and concerns. Why are we so focused on a flag that has no power to incite hatred in the people who know its real meanings instead of why a shooter was filled with hate in the first place? If a shooter went into a church, mosque, or synagogue holding a rainbow flag and began to shoot everyone, would gays surrender their rainbow flag to never be used or flown again? The original meaning of the rainbow was "Peace" (and has been since almost the beginning of recorded history) but if we focused on it like the confederate flag, we would forget that. I can tell you that there have certainly been a lot more hateful violence committed under that rainbow colored flag than the media will care to admit.
Perhaps we should discuss what the word "hate" means. It is not merely disagreeing or disliking someone. Did you know that you can love your enemies, those you disagree with, and those you do not like? You can read more about that in my letter on impatience. Hate is the antonym for love. Just as Love desires what is good for someone else, hate desires what is evil for someone else. It must be realized that this desire is solely from the source, not the target. An expression of eliminating all blacks (like Margaret Sanger, the founder of Planned Parenthood) would be fair to call "hate speech". A commentary that most black men are in a bad situation because of their focus on gangs instead of studying cannot be classified as "hate speech". First off, the former example is an expression of desire while the latter is a commentary which is not expressing any desire but pointing out what appears to be a fact. The sad thing is today's society tends to attack things like the latter which are attempts to figure out the truth and make progress. When we use our power of "Censorship" by deeming it "hate speech" and attacking the person who said it, we not only make it difficult to address the problem he is trying to convey but we also show that we are truly a hateful society.
N. D. Moharo