No Joking Matter: Survey Finds Six Out Of Ten Students View Offensive Jokes As “Hate Speech”

We have been discussing the growing intolerance for free speech on our campuses and the ever-expanding scope of both hate speech and “microaggression” definitions. Now, College Pulse has released a survey of 2,000 college students that finds six out of ten view offensive jokes to be hate speech — a view shared by many European countries which now regularly prosecuted people for such jokes.

There is a considerable contrast between the views of Democratic and Republican students. The poll found that 76 percent of Democratic students “believe offensive jokes can constitute hate speech” while only 36 percent of Republican students who hold that view.

We have previously discussed the alarming rollback on free speech rights in the West, particularly in Europe (here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here). We have seen comedians targeted with such court orders under this expanding and worrisome trend. (here and here and here). 

Notably, comedians are refusing to perform on our campuses because of the threat of protests and shutdowns over jokes deemed by some to be offensive or discomforting. Comedy has always occurred on the edges of propriety and constitutes a long-valued form of social and political commentary. The effort to chill jokes and parody is part of a broader anti-free speech movement on our campuses.

110 thoughts on “No Joking Matter: Survey Finds Six Out Of Ten Students View Offensive Jokes As “Hate Speech””

  1. Young, obviously I grasped it immediately.

    And just now I ponder the inconsistencies in the measurements of the rate of acceleration of the expansion of the visible universe.

    So don’t concern yourself with me but rather pay attention to your inability to properly formulate a coherent, meaningful sentence. How did you ever survive 10th grade English class?

    🎩

    1. David Benson is the God Emperor of Making Stuff Up and owes me forty-three citations (one from the OED, one from the town ordinances and two from the Old Testament), an equation and the source of a quotation, after seventy weeks, and needs to cite all his work from now on. – I don’t know about Young, however I survived my 10th grade English class by torturing the teacher.

    2. Benson,

      I see, you immediately grasped my incoherent, meaningless sentences.

      Good luck with that universe thing. You will find it more difficult than my sentences.

  2. Paul C Schulte, your homework assignment is to find the counterfactuals, documenting each one from Wikipedia.

    So there!

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    1. David Benson is the God Emperor of Making Stuff Up and owes me forty-three citations (one from the OED, one from the town ordinances and two from the Old Testament), an equation and the source of a quotation, after seventy weeks, and needs to cite all his work from now on. – David, you called Young out. It is your job to point out the flaws. How many do you think there are, so I can add them to the citations you owe me?

    2. Benson,

      Clearly your mental faculties would be somewhat improved by a legal education and a little time in the arena of a courtroom. You may yet get there without your raw material being sculpted by formal training–as a defendant.

    1. David Benson is the God Emperor of Making Stuff Up and owes me forty-three citations (one from the OED, one from the town ordinances and two from the Old Testament), an equation and the source of a quotation, after seventy weeks, and needs to cite all his work from now on. – Please point out all the counterfactuals in Young’s “rant.”

  3. The whole intention of ‘hate speech’ and ‘hate crimes’ seems to be to control speech and conduct in the fashion of Fascist/Communist/Socialist autocrats.

    Recently the Home Office in the UK declared that calling someone ‘ugly’ was a hate crime. The UK offers many examples of how extreme this can get and what direction it is heading in the US.

    ‘Hate’ is difficult to define and difficult to prohibit without creating a mentally imprisoned society.

    If conduct is a crime, then leave it at that. The ‘hate’ modifier adds oppressive political intent and little more.

    In San Francisco a black man beat an Asian man savagely while screaming that he hated Asians. That was not treated as a hate crime by the Fascist D.A. because of ‘restorative justice’, whatever that is.

    In Jacksonville, Florida a Trump-hating fanatic rammed his car into a area where Republicans were attempting to present their views. Also not tried as a ‘hate crime’.

    Some zealot ripped down an LGBQT flag and burned it. THAT was a hate crime and he faces years in prison.

    Jussie Smollett faked a hate crime to advance his career and bring a cascade of public opprobrium down on white Trump supporters. That was hate by Smollett, but the incident was not treated .as a hate crime and, initially, scarcely as a crime at all despite the intent to inspire racial hatred in the entire country.

    Hate speech is legal and should be protected. Hate crimes are simply crimes and should be prosecuted as simply crimes without the very elastic ‘hate’ modifier.

    It seems likely that as used today a ‘hate crime’ is unconstitutional because the ‘hate’ term is so vague, so elastic and so unevenly applied that nobody could reasonably be expected to guide his conduct by it.

  4. You youngins’ may not know this, but there once was a time when “offensive” and “insult” comedy was hilarious and loved by most audiences–provided the lines were delivered with love and with impeccable timing, as exemplified by the Master of Malice in this clip below from long, long ago:

  5. A number of years ago Joe Paterno was brought in to speak to a group of professional people. It was a mixed group but men outnumbered women significantly. Joe lauded his football team and dared the university to take anything from his football program and give it to women’s sports. That did not sit well. Then he told an off-color joke. That did not help. He caught my expression and as he was leaving the building he sort of apologized. I thought he should have vetted his material before he opened his mouth. Did I think it was hate speech? No. He just showed himself to be a sexist jackass.

  6. Something I saw elsewhere: Libertarians are 10-20 % of campuses, they should have broken it up by libertarian center, progressive, conservative, and left/right extremes.

    I would add self-identified independents.

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