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    Credit: Guy Venables

    Word of the week: hate speech

    21 February 2020

    Politically loaded noun

    Definition:

    Speech that insults a person or group on the basis of national origin, ethnicity, colour, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, height, weight, eating preferences, food intolerances, habits, hobbies and preferred pets.

    Derivation:

    The term ‘hate speech’ was coined in response to the increasing anxiety experienced by a beleaguered section of the population. Those working in education, the media and the burgeoning industry, known as ‘political activism’, feel vulnerable and ‘at risk’ when their views are not accepted by wider society.

    Those working in the ‘cultural industries’ have found that they are not in control of the thoughts experienced by the majority of the population. For many years, they have attempted to modernise the worldview of the general public through language. Terms such as ‘trans’ and ‘cisgender’ have been introduced to change our understanding of gender and biology. Discussions about immigration or national unity have been labelled as racist or xenophobic to discourage debate. The widespread use, in the north of England, of the once affectionate terms, ‘love’ and ‘pet’, are now recognised as demeaning to women and feline home-dwellers. However, many ordinary people are stubbornly resistant to the adoption of accepted speech codes. Un-schooled in the use of carefully considered language, they are known to utter phrases such as “Stop calling me ‘cisgender’, I’m a woman”; “Why is mass immigration a good thing?” and “How can a man in a skirt be a woman?”.

    Cultural entrepreneurs have invented the term ‘hate speech’ to categorise language which is now considered to be outside the contemporary norms of acceptability. They understand that people who refuse to adopt the new speech codes can only be motivated by malevolence and a perverse determination to be hateful. People who utter proscribed words or fail to adopt newly invented words, are thus identified as ‘haters’ and can be publicly castigated. Older people who fail to understand, for example, that the antiquated term ‘coloured people’ has now been replaced by ‘people of colour’ are showing a wilful disregard for contemporary trends and can be safely castigated as racists. As new words and phrases are introduced, the quantity of ‘hate speech’ has increased exponentially.

    Critics have claimed that today’s cultural arbiters actively look out for verbal slip ups in order to claim moral superiority over those who are found guilty. However, it is important to understand that those who create the new language are the only people who understand the motivations of those who fail to use it. They alone possess the necessary social and cultural awareness to judge the acceptability of what is said.

    The use of the term ‘hate speech’ has increased in direct correlation to the level of hatred felt by those who wish to control the speech of others.

    Use:

    “Morning love, beautiful day! Sorry, I didn’t mean to be misogynistic, I apologise for my hate speak.”