Is hate speech real or can we make it a parody?
Today I saw a report from the Illinois Statehouse where Rep. Stephanie Kifowit said
"I would like to make him a broth of Legionella and pump it into the water system of his loved ones so that they can be infected, they can be mistreated, they can sit and suffer by getting aspirin instead of being properly treated and ultimately die,"
This was a reprehensible thing to say wanting to poison children is beyond belief in any civilized society. Nation of Islam president Louis Farrakhan’s calling “Jews” Termites and Democrat Rep-elect Ilhan Omar’s pro-Sharia Law stance targeting women and the LGBT community. In favor of Female Genital Mutilation as a societal norm.
Demonizing an entire race of people, or advocating death to a group base on who they love. These are again reprehensible, but should we ban these people from Social media or not let them speak in public. Remove their 1st amendment rights? As for hating the Jews I have heard that sentiment my entire life. We fought a world war stopping the extermination of the Jews. Antisemitism is nothing new. Hatred for people base on skin color has been with us since the beginning of time. It will be with us for the rest of humanity. Humans are tribal by nature.
Other people online and in print media espouse hateful and bigoted ideas. The Far Right Wing of politics have hateful speech. The Far Left also give hateful rhetoric as in Rep. Kifowit making a comment of poisoning the children of a Republican state senator.
Going back in time Rev Jesse Jackson when he was running for president in 1984 referring to New York City as Hymie Town. A derogatory statement against Jews. This was at best an inappropriate reference to the Great City of New York; at worst it was a bigoted and hateful thing to say.
If we silence this hateful speech how will we know what is in the minds and hearts of people. Rev Jackson’s statement about NYC lead to a very funny parody from Eddie Murphy. Is it better to censor the speech or as with the very funny Eddie Murphy make a parody? When the Rev. Jackson made the comment many people were offended. When Eddie Murphy did the parody everyone laughed.
Political humor is one of the most effective weapons against hate speech it turns it around; creates something funny and uplifting. The Movie Blazing Saddles did more for race relations in 90 minutes than any march or speech from any politician or group of activist. It took the bigotry of the time and made a parody of it. Mel Brooks left no sacred cow un-gored in his movie. Political correctness was left by the wayside and we laughed. Everyone came together to watch all sides get ridiculed.
There were no riots or burning of buildings from the parodies. So I ask the question in all honesty; Is it better to laugh at the extremes or fight to silence them? Are we better off having watched a parody of racism? Do we look for a way to bring people together or a way to separate people. Laughter is the best medicine for depression; I think we could use a huge dose right about now.
Parody is the best defense from bigotry, hate, and willfully hurting people with words. Charles Chaplin did a great parody of Hitler and Mussolini in his move "The Great Dictator" No one could take them seriously after watching the movie.