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No. of Recommendations: 4
Ok, so my stepson has an apartment in a big complex jammed full of college students and twentysomethings. It is a pretty nice complex, brand new, and full of rules. And there seem to be a lot of rules that didn't exist when I was young.

Here's the story as I understand it. The boy and another resident of the complex had a conflict. Words were exchanged. The boy called the other kid a "faggot"

Turns out the other kid is, in fact, homosexual. And Champaign has some sort of hate crime law, which I'm in the process of looking into. He called the police. Who talked to my stepson, and counseled him as to the error of his ways. And the apartment complex management told him they probably should just throw him out, but let him off with a stern warning, a written report in his "file" and a hundred dollar fine.

I don't think it is ok to call other people names. I don't know the whole story, and I don't think I'll ever find out who "started it" The boy's eighteen and a grown man, and as far as I'm concerned, this might be a learning experience for him.

Times sure have changed, though.

My thoughts are that the boy needs to keep his mouth shut, focus on his grades and staying out of trouble, and learn that some words aren't socially acceptable. What do you all think?
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My thoughts are that the boy needs to keep his mouth shut, focus on his grades and staying out of trouble, and learn that some words aren't socially acceptable. What do you all think?

Yes, he needs to learn a lesson. (But I'm glad that he's just getting a stern talking to and modest fine for it. Name calling is stupid, but not worth going to jail over.) If it was one of my daughters calling someone a name like that, they'd be in a lot of trouble with me as well.
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I don't know. It isn't nice but we do (supposedly) have freedom of speech. Other than the insult exchange, did any actual crime occur?

Also, can an apartment complex fine you? I thought that was only for the courts.

Minxie
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My thoughts are that the boy needs to keep his mouth shut, focus on his grades and staying out of trouble, and learn that some words aren't socially acceptable. What do you all think?

I think it's high time that times changed and that the boy was lucky he got the heads-up so cheaply. If he thinks they were too hard on him, ask him what he thinks would have happened if he'd called a black kid "nigger."
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{{I think it's high time that times changed and that the boy was lucky he got the heads-up so cheaply. If he thinks they were too hard on him, ask him what he thinks would have happened if he'd called a black kid "nigger."}}


It amazes me that some people seem overjoyed at the growth of a nanny state that controls thought.

Both words are reprehensible, but equally reprehensible are authoritarians who want to control thoughts.



c
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{{I think it's high time that times changed and that the boy was lucky he got the heads-up so cheaply. If he thinks they were too hard on him, ask him what he thinks would have happened if he'd called a black kid "nigger."}}


It amazes me that some people seem overjoyed at the growth of a nanny state that controls thought.

Both words are reprehensible, but equally reprehensible are authoritarians who want to control thoughts.



Thinking it inside of your head is a thought. Saying it out loud is an action. That's why there's the trouble - it was said out loud.
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My thoughts are that the boy needs to keep his mouth shut, focus on his grades and staying out of trouble, and learn that some words aren't socially acceptable. What do you all think?

I think that's a good policy in any era, to be honest, though the words that aren't acceptable have changed over time.

The first day of college every year, we would have a "floor meeting." In it, someone would come talk to us about certain subjects. One was "No means no." The other was homosexuality, which was an extremely hot topic where I went to school, there was a large homosexual/bisexual contingent on campus who were very vocal.

One year the guy started by asking about all the words people had used to describe someone of an alternative lifestyle. DH (who was then not even BF back then), provided a rather long list. By the end of it, most of the room was howling in laughter as he matter-of-factly listed all these words, some of which I think may have even been new to the guy giving the talk.

Afterwards we were told that all of those words weren't acceptable, etc. Some of them sure were colorful, though, I must say!

As for calling people names, I think that calling an asshat an asshat is acceptable. I think the issue only comes when you use a word that calls out a negative stereotype, and use it as an insult.
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I don't think it is ok to call other people names. I don't know the whole story, and I don't think I'll ever find out who "started it" The boy's eighteen and a grown man, and as far as I'm concerned, this might be a learning experience for him.

One of the learning experiences that happens when you get older is you learn then things you said and did in your youth aren't necessarily applicable in the wider world.

I am sure, though it doesn't make it right, that when he was in high school, the boys he hung out with exchanged this in verbal spars. It has lost it's original meaning to him - he knows it is a slur for homosexuals, but doesn't know HOW BAD a slur it really is.

Well, he didn't. I'm sure he's got the point now, anyway.

impolite
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It amazes me that some people seem overjoyed at the growth of a nanny state that controls thought.


What's reprehensible is the parents who don't bring up their kids to value ordinary courtesy. The laws shouldn't be necessary, and if the parents did their job they wouldn't be. If I'd used either word as a teenager my Dad would have slapped me through a wall; I know because I used one of them -- once.

So how are you bringing up your kids?
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{{So how are you bringing up your kids?}}


I don't have kids.



c
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I don't have kids.

So how will you bring them up? I'm really curious. Does the concept of courtesy have any meaning anymore, or has it been overridden by our First Amendment right to say anything that pops into our heads?
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A few thoughts:

First, I don't care how hateful a word is, I think that everyone has a constitutionally protected right to say whatever they want to say.

Second, I agree that parents need to teach their children not to use hurtful words to describe people. I include all political, religious, social, and gender differences here. However, I also include teaching your children to ignore it when hateful or offensive speech is directed at them.

It seems to me if more parents were diligent about teaching BOTH of the above, we wouldn't have a need for "hate speech" legislation and everyone would have a real appreciation for freedom of speech, because it is a gem of a freedom.

In the words of Evelyn Beatrice Hall: "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

StB.
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If I'd used either word as a teenager my Dad would have slapped me through a wall; I know because I used one of them -- once.

So how are you bringing up your kids?




Well, I certainly think there is a better way to teach courtesy and respect than "slapp(ing someone) through a wall"

I tried the following.

1. Set a good example by not using such language myself.
2. Correct the child by saying "that isn't acceptable language" on the rare occasions I heard him use it. I think in eighteen years that was twice. I attribute his not using such language to the fact that he did not hear such language at home.

I've never heard either of my children use the n-word. I think I heard "lezbo" once and "queer" once. I have no illusions that I raised a saint or anything. I do know that generally both kids know to keep their hands to themselves and that actions have consequences.
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{{I've never heard either of my children use the n-word. I think I heard "lezbo" once and "queer" once.}}


I do not recall every using the n word of the f word (not to be confused with the f bomb). However, I am sure I said "queer" countless times as the game "Smear the Queer" was very popular where I grew up. Though I do not think that any of us knew that the word "queer" referred to sexual orientation. I doubt that many knew what sexual orientation meant.


c
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If he thinks they were too hard on him, ask him what he thinks would have happened if he'd called a black kid "nigger."

If he had, should it have been handled any differently?

I consider the words roughly equivalent in offensiveness and general unacceptability.
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Well, the lease spells out a lot of things I've never seen spelled out in a lease before. But it has been about fifteen years since I've leased an apartment. Times have changed.

There is a long list of behaviors for which tenants can be fined. Conflict with tenants leading to police involvement is on the list.

So, yes he can be fined. At least that's what the lease says, and I'm not going to have an attorney look at it.

As far as the insult exchange, Champaign Il has a hate crime law. I'm not very familiar with it. I don't know if slurs are covered by it. I guess since the police showed up, they must be covered somehow.
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If he thinks they were too hard on him, ask him what he thinks would have happened if he'd called a black kid "nigger."
______________________________

If he had, should it have been handled any differently?

I consider the words roughly equivalent in offensiveness and general unacceptability.
______________________________

So do I -- but I'll bet the boy has never thought about it, and will be upset at the comparison.

And the apartment manager may not agree with us, since he didn't kick the boy out. Though if he talked the other kid down he may have known he wouldn't get sued if he gave the boy another chance.

But we move forward, though slowly. Kids like this one are our chance to change the future; he'll learn not to call people names now that he's out of the schoolyard, and with luck he'll teach his own kids.
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First, I don't care how hateful a word is, I think that everyone has a constitutionally protected right to say whatever they want to say.

Think what you'd like, but you're wrong.


249 U.S. 47 (1919)
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First, I don't care how hateful a word is, I think that everyone has a constitutionally protected right to say whatever they want to say.

Second, I agree that parents need to teach their children not to use hurtful words to describe people. I include all political, religious, social, and gender differences here. However, I also include teaching your children to ignore it when hateful or offensive speech is directed at them.


I usually agree with you, but this time you're wrong on all counts. For better or worse, the Supreme Court often restricts free speech. Teragram refers to the first Supreme Court decision to do so, where Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote: "The most stringent protection of free speech would not protect a man falsely shouting fire in a theater...."

Second, I was brought up the way you advocate -- not allowed to "use hurtful words to describe people," but when others used them on me I was told to just ignore it. I can tell you that is a bull$hit, abominable, unconscionable way to raise a child. That demands that the child endure whatever is said to him without defending himself, verbally or physically. It guarantees that the child will grow up feeling miserable and powerless. It also guarantees that the child will be bullied, since bullies just love a target that doesn't fight back. I brought up my own child not to use language and never to throw the first punch -- but also not to tolerate being dissed and if someone else threw the first punch, to throw the last one. She's much better adjusted than I was. For God's sake, if you have kids, don't practice what you preach.
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{{Think what you'd like, but you're wrong.}}

That does not make the poster wrong. Things that are Constitutional or not are based on interpretation and not fact.


c
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I have a problem with using speech to define hate crimes. So much is gained or lost when a single word is removed from a situation or taken out of context.

Also, we tend as a society to judge some words as more detrimental than others. If one derogatory word is deemed hateful and punishable, shouldn't all of them be? Then you have to start defining what is offensive to whom and why.

For example, if the kid had called a straight kid a "faggot" it's no longer a hate crime? What if he had called a fat kid "fat ass"? I bet he wouldn't have been charged with a hate crime then, but really is the situation that different? Or what if it was a girl and he called her a "slut"?
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For example, if the kid had called a straight kid a "faggot" it's no longer a hate crime? What if he had called a fat kid "fat ass"? I bet he wouldn't have been charged with a hate crime then, but really is the situation that different? Or what if it was a girl and he called her a "slut"?

What bothers me is that these words, essentially tied to a group of people, are used as epithets.

If I think someone is an asshat, that's what I call them. Same thing for sihthead. I don't dislike gay people so to call someone a faggot doesn't seem to be telling them how I really feel, which is that I think they're complete jerks.

It's the fact that calling someone a faggot, whether they're gay or not, has come to be an insult. That's the problem. At its heart, to be gay is a "bad thing", so to call someone gay is a bad word. Same for being fat, same for slut.

But I would guess that none of those things is WHY the fight started in the first place, it's just a way to try to hurt someone with words.

If the fight is about the kid being gay, that's a whole different issue.
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I have a problem with using speech to define hate crimes. So much is gained or lost when a single word is removed from a situation or taken out of context.

Also, we tend as a society to judge some words as more detrimental than others. If one derogatory word is deemed hateful and punishable, shouldn't all of them be?

For example, if the kid had called a straight kid a "faggot" it's no longer a hate crime? What if he had called a fat kid "fat ass"? I bet he wouldn't have been charged with a hate crime then, but really is the situation that different? Or what if it was a girl and he called her a "s---"?


For what it's worth, I think we as society define hate speech as speech could be reasonably interpreted as potentially violent. If I am a gay man, and a straight man starts calling me a faggot, recent history has shown that I could be in a deadly situation. Same thing if I am a black man being called a n***** by a white man. It doesn't even have to be a derogatory word: calling someone a jew in the wrong circumstance could be hate speech.

Being called a fat ass? I can't think of many cases when fat people have been killed for being fat. Discriminated against? Sure. But not dead. Same thing with "s---". Teased, ostracticed? Yes. Dead. Not without other circumstances (like a jilted lover).

I think the issue in this circumstance was that the situation was a hostile one. And then some words that were used that could be used to incite actual violence. Your stepson didn't mean anything by it, I presume. But with a bunch of young testosterone floating around and the faggot word being thrown around, I can understand a gay man being afraid of suddenly ganged up on. Young men have been killed in similar situations.

Which is why we have hate speech laws. We as a society don't want let things have to escalate to actual violence before we take action. When someone burns a cross on someone's lawn we don't want to be restricted by the fact that little actual damage was done. When a bunch of straight men surround a gay man and start pushing him around and chanting faggot we don't want to have our hands tied.

Can hate speech laws be taken too far. I'm sure. And I'm sure we can find hundreds of cases in the US were that is happened. But don't underestimate the fact that the other boy might have been in fear for his life.

Just my two cents.

--CH
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By the way, I wonder why the Fool profanity filter let you use certain words that it wouldn't let me use.

--CH
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Sure. But not dead. Same thing with "s---". Teased, ostracticed? Yes. Dead. Not without other circumstances (like a jilted lover).


Very naive to assume that women are never the victims of violence simply because of the fact that they are women.
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Very naive to assume that women are never the victims of violence simply because of the fact that they are women.

All women who are the victims of violence are not sl*ts.

Not all sl*ts are the victims of violence.

Conehead was referring to the use of the word "sl*t", not women in general. But, you knew that.

impolite
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All women who are the victims of violence are not sl*ts.

Not all sl*ts are the victims of violence.


Was I implying differently? I don't think so.

He was saying that a man calling a woman a "slut" is not an indicator of violence in the same way that calling a gay person a "faggot" indicates violence.

I see no difference between the two.
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He was saying that a man calling a woman a "sl*t" is not an indicator of violence in the same way that calling a gay person a "faggot" indicates violence.

Fair enough. I don't personally associate the same connotation with s***, but maybe you do. I certainly do think there are other "hate speech" epithets for women.

My point was really two fold:

1. It certainly is OK to distinguish differences in words. There are lots of slurs that don't raise themselves to the same level as the words we've been discussing.

2. The reason that we treat that class of words differently is that they inspire real, deserved fear. There is an implied threat. It's easy to say "I didn't mean anything serious by it. I didn't even know he was gay." But the other party may have feared for their life. This isn't protected speech any more than bomb threats are protected speech. Words are serious things.

--CH
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2. The reason that we treat that class of words differently is that they inspire real, deserved fear. There is an implied threat. It's easy to say "I didn't mean anything serious by it. I didn't even know he was gay." But the other party may have feared for their life. This isn't protected speech any more than bomb threats are protected speech. Words are serious things.

If one feels threatened by those words, then one still has the capability of walking away and should avail him/herself of that action. Words in and of themselves are not hate crimes.

OTOH, if s/he is being physically threatened such as a fist rapidly approaching their face while those words are being uttered, then the words also become part of the crime. The initial crime is still the assault; the words only elevate the assault to a hate crime.

Minxie
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For example, if the kid had called a straight kid a "faggot" it's no longer a hate crime? What if he had called a fat kid "fat ass"? I bet he wouldn't have been charged with a hate crime then, but really is the situation that different? Or what if it was a girl and he called her a "sl-t"? (lol @filter)

What's the big deal? There's nothing better than throwing some faggots on a roaring fire on a cold winter's night.


Actually, it seems to me that calling someone gay is only derogatory when referring to straight people. That's kinda the point. There's nothing wrong with being gay, unless you're not.
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Adding to your reply: Frankly, all crimes are hate crimes! Seriously! You don't commit crimes out of love for somebody or something, the constant is malice. There shouldn't be a special elevation to a hate crime towards any single entity or being, as the victims are all affected by the crimes committed towards him/her!

IMNSHO

Fly2Retire
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There's nothing wrong with being gay, unless you're not.

There's nothing wrong with being gay. Even if you're not.

my 2 cents,

Gail
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{{Adding to your reply: Frankly, all crimes are hate crimes! Seriously! You don't commit crimes out of love for somebody or something, the constant is malice.}}


I disagree. I think that some people would commit crimes against person x or company x out of love for person or family y if y benefited from the crime. However, I do not think the amount of hate/malice/love that goes into the commission of a crime should alter the punishment.


c
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However, I do not think the amount of hate/malice/love that goes into the commission of a crime should alter the punishment.

Allow me to refer you to Les Miserables.

Motive is always taken into account in the commission of a crime. That's the difference between murder, manslaughter, and self-defense.
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{{Motive is always taken into account in the commission of a crime. That's the difference between murder, manslaughter, and self-defense.}}


But motive is not emotion. For example, a person who commits murder and a person who kills due to self defense may hate the dead person the same amount. That does not matter.


c
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There's nothing wrong with being gay, unless you're not.
===
There's nothing wrong with being gay. Even if you're not.

my 2 cents,

Gail


Sorry, I wasn't real clear there. With "calling" someone gay. It's descriptive, except when it's not. Is it really a slur to call a gay person gay?
Now faggot is a bit different. But in a group of straight males, it's a slur that will be used often. Among the straight males. While it's mean to call a gay guy a faggot, it's just verbal horseplay among the rest of us. In the same vein, it's not like me calling a close male friend a bitch is a gender slur, either.
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By the way, I wonder why the Fool profanity filter let you use certain words that it wouldn't let me use.

The Fool profanity filter isn't terribly sophisticated. Suppose you want to say "badword" and the filter won't let you. You just say "bad</i>word," turning off italics that were never turned on, and it shows up as "badword." The profanity filter never found the string "badword," so it didn't screen it out. If you absolutely have to do this within italics, you could do something like, "bad</i><i>word."

In a way, it's a good filter. It screens out no-brains who can't speak without profanity, but allows intelligent people who want to discuss a specific word or use profanity for studied emphasis to do so with sufficient effort.

Patzer
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I thought words constituted assault and the crime of actually hitting someone was battery?

Ishtar
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I thought words constituted assault and the crime of actually hitting someone was battery?

That is true if the words are an actual threat:

"I'm going to hit you, punk!" with upraised fist is assault because the intent is clearly obvious that the assailant intends to do physical harm.

"You are a punk!" without a clear physical threat is not assault because there is not a clear indication that one's person is in physical jeopardy.

Minxie
not a lawyer nor do I play one on TV; this is not intended as legal advice and may be incorrect. It is only my interpretation of the definition in Wester's Dictionary.
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Adding to your reply: Frankly, all crimes are hate crimes! Seriously! You don't commit crimes out of love for somebody or something, the constant is malice. There shouldn't be a special elevation to a hate crime towards any single entity or being, as the victims are all affected by the crimes committed towards him/her!


ITA; the only exception I would think is where you are committing a crime in defense of someone else. Then you have to make a choice; their life vs. your innocence/morality.

Minxie
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ITA; the only exception I would think is where you are committing a crime in defense of someone else. Then you have to make a choice; their life vs. your innocence/morality.

Minxie


That I consider self-defense, and therefore no crime.

F2R
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Adding to your reply: Frankly, all crimes are hate crimes! Seriously! You don't commit crimes out of love for somebody or something, the constant is malice. There shouldn't be a special elevation to a hate crime towards any single entity or being, as the victims are all affected by the crimes committed towards him/her!

-----------------------------------------

ITA; the only exception I would think is where you are committing a crime in defense of someone else. Then you have to make a choice; their life vs. your innocence/morality.

Minxie


Oh, I don't know, there are some fairly malice-free crimes. I don't think all thieves pick who to steal from based on who they hate the most, they're probably trying to maximize their return. Stealing food when you're hungry is probably not too hate-filled. I had an acquaintance in high school that used to *pretend* to shop lift in order to embarrass the store people who would search him and find nothing--that was a lot more malice-filled than a lot of things, I think.

And manslaughter is when you kill someone by accident--it's still a crime, but if you had no intention to kill someone, then it seems a bit difficult to say it was malicious.


--Booa
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Oh, I don't know, there are some fairly malice-free crimes. I don't think all thieves pick who to steal from based on who they hate the most, they're probably trying to maximize their return. Stealing food when you're hungry is probably not too hate-filled. I had an acquaintance in high school that used to *pretend* to shop lift in order to embarrass the store people who would search him and find nothing--that was a lot more malice-filled than a lot of things, I think.

And manslaughter is when you kill someone by accident--it's still a crime, but if you had no intention to kill someone, then it seems a bit difficult to say it was malicious.


Eh...probably so. Still a lot more crimes are committed with malicious intent than simply because someone is hungry.

Minxie
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