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DegradationWhat the History of Obscenity Tells Us about Hate Speech$
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Kevin W. Saunders

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780814741443

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814741443.001.0001

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What about Hate Speech?

What about Hate Speech?

(p.99) 6 What about Hate Speech?

Kevin W. Saunders

NYU Press

This chapter examines the concept of obscenity and what it tells us about hate speech. It begins with an overview of the current status of hate speech in the law of the United States and other countries before turning to a discussion of the international view on hate speech. It then considers various arguments for including hate speech within the legal concept of obscenity and how degradation is conceptualized in obscenity law. It also analyzes hate speech in the employment context, along with the factors that may make speech about race, gender, or sexual orientation degrading and thus create instances of hate speech. In particular, it explores sexist and homophobic speech as expressions of derision and degradation.

Keywords:   obscenity, hate speech, degradation, obscenity law, employment, race, gender, sexual orientation, sexist speech, homophobic speech

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