A couple of people have commented on my use of the term "hate speech" in a previous post. The idea of "hate speech" as it is used in the U.S. is that there may be speech intended to degrade or incite violence against people based on their ethnicity, race, gender or sexual orientation. Which means that there may be some speech that isn't protected under the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Not surprising…there are plenty of things that we can't say without incurring possible punishment. A Canadian law professor named Catharine McKinnon, in a book written in the early 90s called Only Words, takes the idea of hate speech further and claims that there may be some speech which is not simply speech. In her view, such speech is in fact oppression.
Even if the term "hate speech" is not used outside of the U.S., many countries, including the UK, Germany, Canada, Iceland and others, have codified laws that regulate and/or punish hate speech. Ditto for the Council of Europe. The idea has already criss-crossed the Atlantic numerous times. Here are some examples, and articles on both sides of the debate. I do think that the concept is often misused, and not discussed cogently, and I also think it's ultimately a losing proposition over the long term. But it merits a serious discussion about equality and power, as freedom of speech and expression don't live in a vacuum. Probably wishful thinking.