Despite what Tucker Carlson says, hate speech is very real

Liberal Opinion

Rashad Richey

National TV Political Analyst, Talk Radio Host, Univ. Prof.
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Tucker Carlson recently said on his top-rated Fox News show that hate speech does not exist. Yet numerous groups warn that hate speech against minority groups not only exists, but is on the rise. Shortly after Elon Musk took over Twitter, hate speech on the popular site spiked. Kanye West’s antisemitic comments led to several alarming incidents of antisemitism across the U.S. Straight Arrow News contributor Rashad Richey cautions that despite what Tucker Carlson says, hate speech is very real.

So let me highlight the lack of intellectual integrity and probably intellectual prowess of Tucker Carlson. He literally says hate speech does not exist. Then he says it does exist in the context of speech that people hate. Well, that’s not how it works. But he does acknowledge hate speech does exist in a certain context. But then he goes on to say that hate speech is typically hated by the people in power. 

Now, that will be news to people like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who had hate speech hurled at him. He was not a man in power. He was a man striving and advocating for Black people in America to have fair wages, for Black people in America to have equal opportunity and access. And by extension, those who may not be Black, but who were poor, working and trying to live the American dream. Now remember, Tucker Carlson’s basis here, his proclamation, the platform, says hate speech does not exist. Now, why is he doing this? Why is he saying this?

It is the pretext to create the context for what they will do next. The pretext is, let’s allow all language, even language that offends, as part of our social mainstream. Here’s the reality. Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequence. Those are not the same. Just because you have the ability to say hateful things, does not mean there will not be a consequence to the hateful speech you spew.

Okay. 

Tucker Carlson says hate speech is not real. It’s made up basically, it’s not an actual thing. Listen, we can disagree politically. We can disagree on ideology, methodology, we can disagree on sentiment and even values. But we should all agree that hate speech is a very real thing. And hate speech has been used by individuals in ways that create dissension, not coalitions, in the United States of America. 

So Tucker Carlson made this outrageous statement, he said, and I quote, “what is hate speech, by the way?” All of a sudden, everyone in the media has sort of, without explaining why, agree that there’s a thing called hate speech. That’s real and probably actionable. They can find a billion dollars judgment against you if you commit hate speech.” No, they can’t. But that’s a lie he decided to tell. 

He goes on to say, “but just to remind everyone watching, there’s no such thing as hate speech.” He continued, “Hate speech is speech. People hate, usually, the people in power.”

So let me highlight the lack of intellectual integrity and probably intellectual prowess of Tucker Carlson. He literally says hate speech does not exist. Then he says it does exist in the context of speech that people hate. Well, that’s not how it works. But he does acknowledge hate speech does exist in a certain context. But then he goes on to say that hate speech is typically hated by the people in power. 

Now, that will be news to people like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, who had hate speech hurled at him. He was not a man in power. He was a man striving and advocating for black people in America to have fair wages, for black people in America to have equal opportunity and access. And by extension, those who may not be black, but who were poor, working and trying to live the American dream. Now remember, Tucker Carlson’s basis here, his proclamation, the platform, says hate speech does not exist. Now, why is he doing this? Why is he saying this?

It is the pretext to create the context for what they will do next. The pretext is, let’s allow all language, even language that offends, as part of our social mainstream. Here’s the reality. 

Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequence. Those are not the same. Just because you have the ability to say hateful things, does not mean there will not be a consequence to the hateful speech you spew. 

Additionally, hate speech is a real thing. The word or the terminology is not a legal term of art. It is a descriptor in our social construct. We have determined that certain language, that racist language in particular, is in fact hate speech. But since Tucker Carlson is unable to understand what hate speech is, since he questions if it even exists, I have decided to provide some education for little Tuck Tuck. So hate speech, Tucker, is abusive or threatening speech or a writing that expresses prejudice against a particular group, especially on the basis of race, religion, or sexual orientation. Now Tucker, just in case you are confused about what the Constitution says about speech, let me remind you. The Constitution First Amendment says clearly, Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof or abridging the freedom of speech.

Is there a law against the speech that you are talking about? No. Is there consequence in certain context? Yes. If you decide to be a hateful individual, racist or prejudiced, if you decide to be that person, well, you may have a consequence. You see, these are lessons we teach our children. This is normative stuff.

We tell our children, “Listen, don’t say that that’s mean.” Why do we tell our children that? Because we know that there will be a societal impact based on immature or hateful language. We understand it. Now all of a sudden, conservatives want to live in a world where they have freedom of speech and freedom from consequence. Doesn’t work that way, little Tuck Tuck. 


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