OK, Stop the “Hate”, But when does Free Speech become “Hate” Speech?
Advocacy groups and legislators today announced a campaign against hate and hate speech in Rhode Island that will call on all Rhode Islanders to participate.
The initiative was prompted by a recent incident involving a Providence storeowner who demanded to see Social Security cards of two Spanish-speaking customers, then threatened to call immigration authorities after they did not.
State Sen. Juan Pichardo, one of the speakers today, said, “All this hate speech — we need to stop this wave. It is not the America we pursue …”
Miguel Sanchez-Hartwein, executive director of the Center for Hispanic Policy and Advocacy, said the campaign will involve educational forums at universities, schools, businesses and other settings, and a petition that he asked all Rhode Islanders to sign.
Hm. On second thought, maybe I should retract the weiner crack…el hermano mayor está mirando.
Look, all kidding aside, of course we should respect other individuals and not “hate” them. I already said I think the proprietor of RI Refrigeration crossed the line, but being rude doesn’t signify “hate.” And political differences don’t equal hate. Most people who disagree with Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton don’t do so because he’s an African-American or she’s a woman. They disagree with their political philosophy, their ideas, not their color or plumbing.
Yet, a legitimate critique of current immigration policy is hyperbolized as anti-immigrant and racist by some who know better, but seek to gain partisan advantage. Thus does one person’s free speech become classified by others as “hate speech” in a veiled attempt to short-circuit debate. I’m not saying all those involved with this campaign have ulterior motives based on a desire for power, political or other. But beware those who do.