POLITICS

Is it disgraceful to falsely call someone a racist, white supremacist, socialist or communist?


Many insulting, even unjustly insulting, criticisms are considered pure opinions and thus not legally actionable. For example, claiming that in some videos someone’s appearance (especially the one you link to) reflects a “smile” (instead of a painful smile) and arises from racism, this can be seen as an opinion: a reasonable reader will understand As the poster’s thematic judgment about the motivation of the video subject, and thus as a conjecture rather than a claim about the probable truth. To quote a beautiful summary from a recent federal district court case,

The statement indicates that the plaintiff is racist, an explicit expression of opinion that cannot be verifiably proven to be true or false. While no North Carolina court appears to be addressing the issue explicitly, many other judicial courts that have faced defamation lawsuits over allegations of bigotry or racism have held the statements to be invalid statements of opinion. See, for example, Stevens vs. Tillman (7th Circuit 1988) (any general statement does not explicitly falsely claim to be racist, unjust, unjust or discriminatory against any person); Permanent com. Discipline vs. Yagman (9th Cir. 1995) (Assuming a judge had a non-functional opinion called “anti-Semitic”); Ward v. Zelikovsky (NJ 1994) (allegation that plaintiffs “hate Jews” is invalid); Covino vs. Hegemann (NY Sup. Ct. 1995) (Dismissal of defamation suit on the grounds that the plaintiff was “racially sensitive”, “expression of opinion is not admissible as defamation, no matter how offensive, insulting or unreasonable” and “[a]Allegations of racism and prejudice “regularly found to form non-functional expressions of opinion); Williams vs. Kanemaru (Haw. Ct. App. 2013) (Allegations of racism based on published information are not effective for defamation); Lennon v. Cuahoga County Juvenile Court (Ohio Ct. App. 2006) (“Calling the petitioner racist was the subject of an employee’s opinion and thus a constitutionally protected speech, not a defamation suit”).

Similarly, it is not effective to show sympathy for communism, to defend communism, or even to accuse others of being communists in its ideology. See, e.g., McAndrew vs. Scranton Republican Pub. Co. (P. 1950); Clark v. All (Pa. 1964):

It is a matter of common sense that countless patriotic Americans sincerely and vehemently disagree that any actions and / or words and / or policies support the communist cause, or what communist tendencies show, or to what extent the “satisfaction” of communism, or “communist” Or what exactly is meant by the word “soft to communism”.

Although for many Americans these words and expressions have a different meaning or significance and are often intended to be undoubtedly insulting, they are not defamatory …. Containing any of these words or expressions will effectively stop the search and enlightened discussion and debate with realistic and practically possible fatal consequences.

And to quote the general argument for this position, written by Judge Frank Easterbrook Stevens vs. Tillman (7th ed. 1983):

Words [“racism”] Waterlogged by excessive use, has become a common currency in political discussions. Tillman calls Stevens a racist; Stevens issued a press release calling Tillman a “racist” and his supporters “bigots.” Formerly a “racist” was a believer in the superiority of his own nation, often a supporter of slavery or segregation, or incitement of hatred between nations. Politicians sometimes use the term too loosely, referring to someone (not the speaker’s race) who opposes the speaker’s political goals – a speaker who, on the basis of “rationality”, only supports what is good for authority (or audience) and where opponents are beneficial. There is no reason to oppose the subject, so their opposition must be based on race …

The word has also acquired an intermediate meaning. The speaker may use “he is a racist” which means “he is disrespecting me, which must be my racial reason because there is no other reason to disregard” Own – or it means “he thinks all black mothers are well, which is stereotypical.” This kind of meaning fits comfortably in immunity to name-calling.

Subject to language leveling power. When a word acquires a strong meaning it is effective in rhetoric. A single word carries a strong image. When plantation owners enslaved blacks in chattel, when 100 years later governors declared “isolation now, segregation forever,” everyone knew what “racism” was. Invite the use of image power.

To get the emotional impact, the speakers used the word without strong justification, giving a slight shadow to its meaning. As long as a part of the old meaning lasts, there is a tendency to call the word for its effect instead of referring to a specific meaning. We can regret that language is losing the meaning of a word, especially when there is no ready alternative. But we work in the court of law instead of language and the speakers cannot insist on holding on to the old meaning.

In everyday life “racist” is thrown so indiscriminately that it is nothing more than a verbal slap in the face; The target could slap back (as Stevens did). It is not effective unless it implies the existence of undisclosed, defamatory information, and that Stevens does not rely on any such implication.

Now falsely accusing someone of a particular act — for example, shooting or prosecuting someone for racially motivated purposes ভালো can be quite degrading. Thus, for example, in McAllory vs. Phila. Newspapers, Inc. (P. 1996), the court held that the plaintiff could be found guilty of “abusing his powers as a district attorney, acting for an elected office, further racism and his own political ambitions”. But the court specifically insisted that the statement did more than just “label” it[ the plaintiff] A racist “The statement was workable because it focused on what the plaintiff believed and not on what he believed and thus “amount[ed] Allegations of misconduct in the office. “

So it is not disgraceful to call “Kyle Reitenhaus a white supremacist” or “Saul Omarova a communist” (or “socialist”), as it is understood as an opinion. But false claims that “Kyle Reitenhaus joined KKK” or “Saul Omarova is a member of the Communist Party USA” may be defamatory (at least not if the context shows that it is hyperbole or joke or something like that).



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