U.S. law disallows several categories of speech that edge close to violence. For instance, a direct rallying cry to attack can constitute incitement to imminent violence, rendering such speech unlawful. Verbal “true threats” to do physical harm to someone are also prohibited and punishable, as is systematic harassment.

What is hateful speech?

Generally, however, hate speech is any form of expression through which speakers intend to vilify, humiliate, or incite hatred against a group or a class of persons on the basis of race, religion, skin color sexual identity, gender identity, ethnicity, disability, or national origin.

What is language violence?

When people describe linguistically inflicted suffering, they describe it through metaphors with physical violence. So racial epithets are “a slap in the face,” or “a punch in the gut,” causing emotional “scarring.” This is the kind of terminology we have to describe the ability of language to inflict harm.

What is the difference between verbal abuse and hate speech?

Verbal abuse is a form of violence and should be treated as such. Hatred, however it is expressed, ultimately kills. Those who resist it, speak out against it and expel it, have always proven to be right.

Can words cause harm?

Legal scholars advance a harm thesis, that offensive utterances harm people the same way that physical blows do (Matsuda, Lawrence, Delgado, & Crenshaw, 1993). Offensive words comprise, but are not limited to, categories of obscenity, indecency, profanity, racial insults, taboos, and scatology (see Jay, 1992).

Is hate speech legal?

While “hate speech” is not a legal term in the United States, the U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that most of what would qualify as hate speech in other western countries is legally protected free speech under the First Amendment.

What is an example of a hate speech?

For example, the Nazi swastika, the Confederate Battle Flag (of the Confederate States of America), and pornography have all been considered hate speech by a variety of people and groups.

Do words hurt more than physical violence?

In one study, the researchers found that the effects of parental verbal aggression were comparable to “those associated witnessing domestic violence or nonfamilial sexual abuse.” In fact, verbal aggression produced larger effects than familial physical abuse.

Can words hurt more than actions?

April 2, 2010 — Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words can hurt you too, according to new research. A new study suggests merely saying, “This may hurt a bit,” before receiving a shot may be enough to trigger a pain response in the brain long before any actual pain is felt.