Criminalizing Words

Imagine if it was still the 1960s and there was a civil rights movement led by Martin Luther King.  Imagine if Martin Luther King was leading marches, organizing protests, and sit-ins, and giving speeches that in order to achieve racial equality, one must first ban the use of racial slurs starting with the “N” word.  Imagine how far the civil rights movement would have advanced if this was the goal of Martin Luther King- that banning the use of racial slurs would end racism.  My guess is not very far.

But, that seems to be the goal of today’s Leftist.  Nothing exemplifies this mindset more than a recent bill introduced in the Massachusetts legislature by Democrat Daniel Hunt.  His proposed bill states:

A person who uses the word ‘bitch’ directed at another person to accost, annoy, degrade or demean the other person shall be considered to be a disorderly person.

The first offense will cost you $150 in fines.  A second offense will cost you a $200 fine or six months in jail. Worse yet, anyone can make the complaint, even a person to whom the word was not directed.

At first, it is easy to dismiss this as the crazed attempt by some liberal lawmakers in a liberal state.  Hunt says he introduced the bill in response to a constituent suggestion.  Apparently in Massachusetts, every suggestion by a constituent is introduced by a bill or something like that.

Recently, college professors and students at the University of Connecticut protested and demanded the arrest of two students who were overheard calling each other racial slurs in a word game.  Ignorant of the context in which the forbidden words were spoken, this is a fatal tendency of the Left.  They forget the rules of cause-and-effect.  Slurs like the use of the “N” word directed at blacks became the equivalent of a curse word only after the significant social change.  Likewise with the “F” word to refer to homosexuals.  Language is a reflection of societal norms, not the driver of changing those norms.

Hunt’s bill is a classic example of the Left clutching at pearls attacking words while ignoring the underlying sentiment of that speech.  As an aside, many black comedians would not be able to do a stand-up routine in the Bay State given their propensity to refer to women as “bitches.”

A vocal segment of the Left has become the speech police who call out real and imagined offenses on social media.  They activate the digital mob forcing politicians and celebrities to apologize and genuflect before the altar of political correctness.  Most of the time they win given the number of perfunctory and defensive apologies.

Recently, President Trump used the word “lynching” to refer to the current “impeachment” process in the House.  One would have thought he uttered the “N” word.  Rep. Al Green (D-TX) rose up in anger and raked Trump over the coals for the use of the word which, one surmises, will be added to the list of racial curse words if the Left ever got its way.  Of course, Green, who has the IQ roughly equal to that of a sea slug, was ignorant of the meaning of the word: an extrajudicial execution by a mob.  That sounds suspiciously like the “impeachment” process in the House and, as such, an acceptable use of the term by Trump.

This is indicative of the speech police.  By bringing down outrage by the mob on whoever uttered or used the forbidden word they obscure the context, negate any point they were attempting to make, and instead make asses of themselves in the process.  Playing the role of the speech policeman is a fool’s errand.  In California, they have banned the use of words through “de-gendering” certain ones like “postman,” “policeman,” and “fireman.”  In some California cities, there are no longer “manholes” in the street.  In San Francisco, there are no longer “felons;” they are a “justice-involved person.”

These virtue signalers believe that banning a word like “bitch” will wipe away sexism in Massachusetts.  They will be met with the cold hard reality of the example of the civil rights movement.  Rendering the “N” word to curse word status did not wipe racism from the country.  Banning the new “F” word did not eliminate homophobia.  Criminalizing the word “bitch” will not end sexism.

Thankfully, Hunt’s bill is getting pushback from his fellow legislators in Massachusetts.  Also, some legal analysts have weighed in on both sides of the political spectrum and consider the bill unconstitutional.  The word “bitch” may survive in Massachusetts, but it is only a matter of time before the speech police find another word or phrase to feign outrage.