SS10

Should Racism Be a Crime?

62 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

On a public policy level, should online, and offline racist language be a criminal offence? How does free speech come into play? I'm not talking about racist assaults, I'm talking on a purely language perspective.

What unintended side effects could come from prosecuting racists? What precedent does this set? How could racism on a societal level develop of this is not treated seriously?

This thread isn't for race baiting, or to start some race war - but I do think this is a question that isn't being addressed by society from a legal and public policy viewpoint.

Edited by SS10

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I would say it's best to have some criminalization (or rather misdemeanor) but it's important that all the race directions in the racist offense are treated equally (white on black, black on white etc)

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My question would be who defines what is racism? People can say things that sound racist, but it doesn´t mean the person is automatically a racist. It all depends on the context of the phrases someone uses. 

I don´t think it would be a good idea to ban words, or certain phrases. It would just impede the natural flow of language if people had to constantly worry about the exact words they use. 

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Depends on the context. 

But we all know that certain slurs or terms are racist and derogatory and used in such sense. 

If someone makes generalizations and stereotypes, then that's not necessarily with bad intent. 

However when someone uses specific well known racial slurs or terms then I think the person should be liable to criminal offense. 

 


INTP loner..... Live a Roman.  Die a Roman...... Nothing else but to enjoy  the rest of my dream. Love it. (I'm more Roman than you'll ever be ) only guys with zero ego and zero passive aggressive can talk to me, rest need not bother 

Preety preety

 

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@SS10 There are various degrees and contexts regarding racism. I would advocate for an internet judicial system, similar to traffic violations. Illegal parking is a lesser offense than drunk driving, which is a lesser offense than sex trafficking of children. Similarly, there would be a range of severity for online offenses. For traffic violations, the vast majority are resolved with a warning or a ticket. Only a small percentage of traffic violations go to court and have prison sentences. Similarly, most online offenses would result in warnings or a "ticket". Only a small percentage of cases would make it to "internet court" with serious consequences.

I think many people would rebel against the idea, yet if it was implemented properly I think most people would adjust and prefer it. I'm old enough to remember people that resisted mandating seat belts in cars and laws against drunk driving. Yep, back in the 1970s, many people did not like the idea of mandating seat belts be put in cars of DUI laws, because it was government over-reach and infringements on personal freedom. I remember my dad talking about how in the "good 'ole days" if a police officer noticed you were driving drunk, he would give you a ride home and ask you to be more careful next time. Then those pesky Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the government got involved. . . Today, nobody would buy a car without seat belts and 95%+ people support laws against drunk driving. 

There are a lot potential problems with internet moderation, yet if done decently I think most people would support it. I predict that 30 years in the future there will be a system of internet moderation and the vast majority of people will it (even though they will complain about it from time to time).

If most people on the forum really thought about it, they would want moderation on this forum (even though it is not perfect). Having no moderation would mean the forum gets over-run by trolls, spambots and illegal activity. Then all the "normal" people leave and the forum is destroyed. 

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35 minutes ago, BadHippie said:

My question would be who defines what is racism? People can say things that sound racist, but it doesn´t mean the person is automatically a racist. It all depends on the context of the phrases someone uses. 

This is a challenging issue, yet just because something is challenging doesn't mean we should go for it.

I would say that there needs to be a panel that has broad diversity that has credibility and support. A type of internet judicial system that includes experts in internet crime, risk detection, tech companies, academics, lawyers and also some everyday people. I also think it's important to be transparent with the public and a genuine effort to be objective. There are lots of gray areas, yet an effort needs to be made to communicate clear rules with the public that applies to everyone - so noone feels like they are being targeted. 

Of course this is easier said than done and their are potential problems with abuse. Yet our current system isn't working. Social media giants like Twitter and Facebook have vague moderation rules that are not consistently applied. And they have a major conflict of interest. Inflammatory, toxic, quasi-violent speech is great for business their business model. 

35 minutes ago, BadHippie said:

I don´t think it would be a good idea to ban words, or certain phrases. It would just impede the natural flow of language if people had to constantly worry about the exact words they use. 

I agree we need higher resolution in regards to banning phrases or words. Yet algorithms cannot do it well enough and examining case by case is extremely time consuming. One of the nonduality teachers I listen to has to use codewords for things related to covid. When she uses terms like "lockdown" or "coronavirus", her nonduality videos get automatically taken down by a YT algo. Yet in now way is she using the terms in any type of conspiratorial or harmful way. And creating these codewords disrupts communication. She can't keep track of the codewords, changes them and mixes them up sometimes. She will say something like "the sauce pan has contributed to psychological problems in society. . . " And then pause and be like "wait a minute, which one was 'sauce pan'? Did I mean to say "shoelace" or "sauce pan". Not time I won't have them start with the same letter". At first it was funny, yet it can disrupt communication and gets annoying. 

Yet I would also support having moderation on some of the most intense slurs that are used 95% of the time for hate. 

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Imagine someone going through old gamer logs and the billions of n words that were said. 

They would end up like Butters from South Park. 

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53 minutes ago, Opo said:

Imagine someone going through old gamer logs and the billions of n words that were said. 

They would end up like Butters from South Park. 

That is a great example of how tricky moderation would be. It's very context-dependent. Saying the n word within a diverse group of people gaming is a different context than using the n word with a white supremacist group planning an armed "rally". 

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People who have never suffered racism will never understand the grave impact that racism has on people who potentially have to face it on the regular. 

It impacts your self esteem, results in long term trauma and depression, hurts your growth, feelings of interiority and perception that someone from another race is superior and is excusable for their abuse they put you through. It impacts every facet of your life. You begin to hate yourself for simply being born in a different race and you hate your life... 

 


INTP loner..... Live a Roman.  Die a Roman...... Nothing else but to enjoy  the rest of my dream. Love it. (I'm more Roman than you'll ever be ) only guys with zero ego and zero passive aggressive can talk to me, rest need not bother 

Preety preety

 

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4 minutes ago, Preety_India said:

People who have never suffered racism will never understand the grave impact that racism has on people who potentially have to face it on the regular. 

Unfortunately, this realization is really hard for people that have not been impacted by regular racism. Such people have an inherent self interest not to realize this. 

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Posted (edited)

25 minutes ago, Preety_India said:

People who have never suffered racism will never understand the grave impact that racism has on people who potentially have to face it on the regular. 

It impacts your self esteem, results in long term trauma and depression, hurts your growth, feelings of interiority and perception that someone from another race is superior and is excusable for their abuse they put you through. It impacts every facet of your life. You begin to hate yourself for simply being born in a different race and you hate your life... 

I get that but if I can't call a 13 year old the n word on the internet I'm storming the Capitol. 

But for real I would be ok with getting a ticket if you write something racist on the mayor social networks.

I would still like there to exist smaller places where there is less moderation tho. I feel like the people need it. 

And im trying to empathize and understand your perspective fully but I feel like the understanding is just on the surface level. 

Edited by Opo

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2 minutes ago, Opo said:

I get that but if I can't call a 13 year old the n word I'm storming the Capitol. 

I have no idea what you mean by that 

The N word should be completely deleted from human history. 

It had a long run in debasing people. 

 


INTP loner..... Live a Roman.  Die a Roman...... Nothing else but to enjoy  the rest of my dream. Love it. (I'm more Roman than you'll ever be ) only guys with zero ego and zero passive aggressive can talk to me, rest need not bother 

Preety preety

 

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7 minutes ago, Preety_India said:

I have no idea what you mean by that 

The N word should be completely deleted from human history. 

It had a long run in debasing people. 

I'm joking. 

Do you think black people shouldn't say it? 

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2 minutes ago, Opo said:

I'm joking. 

Do you think black people shouldn't say it? 

Yes it's best if they don't say it. Kinda perpetuates that nonsense. 

 


INTP loner..... Live a Roman.  Die a Roman...... Nothing else but to enjoy  the rest of my dream. Love it. (I'm more Roman than you'll ever be ) only guys with zero ego and zero passive aggressive can talk to me, rest need not bother 

Preety preety

 

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47 minutes ago, Preety_India said:

Yes it's best if they don't say it. Kinda perpetuates that nonsense. 

 

Yea I agree but I wonder what a black person's perspective would be on this. 

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Posted (edited)

Seems like social ostracization (including being reprimanded/fired from your job) for overtly racist behavior is a better way of handling this issue than attempting to use Law Enforcement or the Judicial System to police the speech of private citizens.

Not every negative social behavior is best dealt with using the punitive arm of the State. The collective ego backlash of such an attempt  should be enough to pause to consider the unintended consequences that are likely to arise.

Has an attempt been made to means test Hate Speech laws to see if it's actually an effective way of curbing harm towards the people its intending to protect?

Edited by DocWatts

The problem is one of opposition between subjective and objective points of view. 

So either the objective conception of the world is incomplete, or the subjective involves illusions that should be rejected.  - Thomas Nagel

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10 minutes ago, DocWatts said:

Seems like social ostracization (including being reprimanded/fired from your job) for overtly racist behavior is a better way of handling this issue than attempting to use Law Enforcement or the Judicial System to police the speech of private citizens.

Not every negative social behavior is best dealt with using the punitive arm of the State. The collective ego backlash of such an attempt  should be enough to pause to consider the unintended consequences that are likely to arise.

Has an attempt been made to means test Hate Speech laws to see if it's actually an effective way of curbing harm towards the people its intending to protect?

I agree with that. In fact, it's what we've been doing the past few years already with recording people's bad behavior, uploading it to social media, and getting people doxxed/fired.

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1 minute ago, DocWatts said:

Seems like social ostracization, including being reprimanded/fired from your job, for overtly racist behavior, is a better way of handling this issue than attempting to use Law Enforcement or the Judicial System to police the speech of private citizens.

Not every negative social behavior is best dealt with using the punitive arm of the State. The collective ego backlash of such an attempt  should be enough to pause to consider the unintended consequences that are likely to arise.

I completely disagree. 

Loosing your job can ruin your life. Especially if you now can't find a new one. 

The punishment should be proportional to the crime. Loosing your job and being removed from social media for the rest of your life because you said something stupid is stupid in and of itself. 

We should focus on reform not on punishment for the sake of punishment. 

Temporary bans and fines would stop the behavior without causing unnecessary suffering. 

Be honest and admit that you don't know what kind of ego backlash would it cause. 

10 minutes ago, DocWatts said:

Has an attempt been made to means test policing Hate Speech to see if it's actually an effective way of curbing harm towards the people its intending to protect?

Germany was successful with policing hate speech. 

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1 minute ago, Boethius said:

I agree with that. In fact, it's what we've been doing the past few years already with recording people's bad behavior, uploading it to social media, and getting people doxxed/fired.

I don't want my fate to be decided by the stupid mob. 

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8 minutes ago, Opo said:

I don't want my fate to be decided by the stupid mob. 

I understand and am sympathetic (at least partly). I think it was pretty shameful a couple years ago when a young white woman was shamed for wearing a kimono dress to prom (on charges of cultural appropriation). But on the other hand, I don't see that there is any reasonable defense for a white person who gets recorded on video hurling ethnic slurs at people of color. So my assumption is that social media shaming will be the standard way for our society to "adjudicate" public instances of racism (if only because it's easy) and I hope that we can develop some sense of good judgment and maybe even the possibility of forgiveness.

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