Hate Speech is Spreading Poisonous Falsehoods About a Targeted Group

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Huckabee later clarified that he did not mean to refer to all 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide. How nice.”

How nice, indeed. That’s what hate speech is. It’s an attempt to hook onto visceral, unexamined prejudices that lurk inside the minds of many people in a particular society, as they deal with and think about a particular group of people.

It’s an attempt to hook onto those visceral, unexamined prejudices by telling adroit, carefully massaged lies that appear to present accurate information about a whole group of human beings, by isolating the behavior ofsome members of that group and focusing on it as if that behavior is typical ofevery member of the group.

While our own group, which also has in spades its own egregious examples of destructive, vile, hateful, slutty–fill in the blank–behavior is never treated the same way. While we would not ever dare to try to define our entire group according to the behavior of a few carefully selected members of our own group.

The ultimate goal of this kind of adroit lying is, of course, to dehumanize the targeted group, and to make that targeted group susceptible to abuse and violence. Selecting a minority group out for obsessive hostile focus, lying about it, and suggesting that it should be defined according to the behavior of some of its least admirable members: this is, in and of itself, already a form of violence.

But it also always opens to actual physical violence, as the situation in Russiais proving to us all over again. And that actual physical violence is the real goal of hate speech about minorities, no matter how those employing hate speech may demur.

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