23:18  |  10 December 11
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Chamber of Debate

RACISM - offensiveness and rudeness

It is said that when a civilisation rots it rots from the top down. The rot always takes the form of silly ideas that tend to bring about the decline of that civilisation through acting irrationally and persistently to its own detriment.

Unnecessarily extending the definition of racism (originally meaning the political doctrine that one race is superior to others therefore justifying that race's oppression of other races, eg Hitler's Aryan Ideal, South African Apartheid and, not so well known, the Hindu caste system) to include those guilty of mere expressions of dislike for other races is one of the more insidious side-effects of cowardly self-censorship.

Well-meaning people tend to assume that they must not say anything rude about any other race. Politicians, wanting to be populist and not wanting to offend any potential voter whilst relishing the opportunity of scoring points at the expense of those who are seen to be out of step, have connived in extending the meaning of racism.

The ugly truth is that nasty people of all hues would exploit and bully the vulnerable, either outsiders or insiders, if they are allowed to get away with it. Of course there should be laws against this, but they should not be allowed to disproportionately limit our freedom of expression. If freedom of expression means anything at all now, it must mean that we are at liberty to be offensive about each other, provided we do not fall foul of the laws of defamation, criminal incitement or public order.
Vote: Should the meaning of racism have been extended to include almost everything found by anyone to be offensive on grounds of race?

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Members Comments

Herb 11-Jan-2008 22:39
Another objection to having a law that says you mustn't offend anybody is that some people will use it as an opportunity to claim that they're offended - even when they aren't. Laws of this sort give politically correct and religious zealots the opportunity not just to suppress opinions they don't like but, often, a right to compensation - paid of course by the accused victim.

This isn't just theoretical. In Canada, according to one well known columnist, various Human Rights Tribunals (which are themselves stuffed with politically correct activists) habitually order people to pay compensation for breaches of supposed human rights. The columnist says that there is even one habitual complainer who constantly looks out for opportunities to accuse people of writing 'hate' material and is repeatedly awarded substantial amounts of money as compensation. The complainer is said to make a great deal of money by doing this.
06gforty 9-Jan-2008 17:17
racism is a delicate issue as different cultures or induviduals get offended differantly- i vote no because of that.
Herb 3-Jan-2008 4:2
Anselm - Yes, it would indeed. It was of course intended it as a sort of satire, but the sad fact is that the actual law has already got pretty close to having the same effect.

Herb
Anselm 22-Dec-2007 19:38
This would allow the PC crowd to jump in and prosecute for comments that don't actually offend the person in question. If anyone said anything racist towards whites, nothing would happen.

To be frank, it means that someone can say something that isn't racist and doesn't mean it to be racist but is jumped upon for "offending" someone.

Racism has to be intended.
Herb 2-Dec-2007 6:55
Racism an offence

1. (1) Every person of the Caucasian race who, whether by spoken words, facial expression, hand gesture, sigh, grunt, sniff, stare, lurch, shrug or any other conduct causes a person not of the Caucasian race to feel, in any way dissatisfied, offended, irritated or slighted or to suffer hurt feelings of any other kind whatsoever whether similar to the foregoing or not commits an offence.

(2) A person who commits an offence under subsection (1) is liable,
for the first offence to a fine of ten thousand pounds and for each subsequent offence to imprisonment for a term of two years or to both such fine and imprisonment.
Comment:
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