**The views expressed in this article are not necessarily representative of those shared by the editorial board of the Sentinel.org**
By Nicholas Gower
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably seen many signs in the hallway. They read many messages, including “You can’t unite with Hate!!”, “Black Lives Matter,” and “I want to see LGBT live free!” These messages are obviously in response to Trump’s electoral victory, back in November.
But there is one sign that is ominous. It reads “Political views=Protected speech, [but] Hate speech= not protected or welcome.”
On the surface, it looks innocent. Who could possibly tolerate hate? However,it is not innocent. The terms “hate speech” and “hate crime” are orwellian terms, meant to shut down controversial opinions. They are words that justify the creation of nebulous hate crime laws, not unlike the thoughtcrime mentioned in George Orwell’s 1984.
Social media companies are starting to use “hate speech” as an excuse to censor their platform. Google has been proven to filter negative search results about Hillary Clinton, specifically her health. If you google “Hillary Clinton Health,” Google will suggest searches that are completely different from the suggestions of other search engines. While both Bing and DuckDuckGo will suggest “health problems,” and “health issues,” Google shows very different results, showing nothing related to Clinton’s health issues.
Mark Zuckerburg, founder of Facebook, has publicly stated plans to take down anti-immigrant comments made in Germany. Although they are free to do whatever they want, users of Facebook should know that this is a massive restriction on their freedom of speech on the platform.
Several weeks ago. Our school’s teachers dedicated a day to teaching their students about Black Lives Matter. I personally disagreed with the way the lesson was taught, thinking that it implied that Michael Brown did nothing wrong. I started to work on an opinion article about why I disagreed with the movement. Soon after, other students, including a fellow journalist, saw the beginning to this article. That has a history of being an activist for the BLM movement, so of course he would disagree with my article.
Our website’s chief-editor had an idea: Why not create a point/counterpoint between the two of us? One of us would provide his opinion, then the other person would counter it with his own opinion. I thought this was a great idea. What better way to make my point than to destroy the arguments of our school’s biggest supporter of BLM?
Soon after person, He and I both started writing. I started my argument, writing the following:
“22% of violent crimes were committed by black people, despite being only 12% of the population. White people only commit 43% of violent crime, despite making up 61% of the country’s population. This means the average black person is 2.6 times more likely to commit a crime than a white person. Facts can not be racist.”
He could have done plenty of things. He could’ve said I was wrong, and used facts and logic to say why I was wrong. I would listen to him, and I would still have respect for him.
But no, he did not do that. After reading what I had written at the time, instead of arguing with facts, he got angry. He vandalised my article, writing the word “nazi” on it. Later, he called me a white supremacist, and a bigot. He stopped writing his argument, which remains unfinished to this day.
This story is a perfect example of how some people will scream “RACISM!” or “HATE SPEECH!” when they encounter opinions they disagree with. It’s becoming a huge problem. It’s becoming a huge problem. According to fakehatecrimes.org, there have been 266 Hate Crime hoaxes committed in the USA. This is substantial, especially when you consider that some people are getting accused of hate crimes for things that shouldn’t be considered hate crimes at all.
On April 11, 2016, U.K citizen Markus Meechan uploaded a video to Youtube, titled “M8 Yer Dugs A Nazi.” In the video, he makes his girlfriend’s dog respond to phrases such as “gas the jews,” and makes him watch one of Hitler’s speeches.
The video was popular, and most viewers thought it was hilarious. However, a small minority of viewers thought it was offensive. Because of this, he was arrested on suspicion of hate speech.
Why is it that jokes can get you arrested? People are so afraid of intolerance that they have become intolerant themselves. Isn’t this what we used to criticize China and North Korea for doing? Have people forgotten what the first amendment is?
So now back to that sign. Whoever made that sign needs to know that hate speech is an extremely vague term, and that people are getting accused of hate speech for actions that should not be considered hate speech. By not tolerating what you consider hate speech, you are opening the door to the creation of anti-free speech rules that stifle conversations about important issues.