California's New Hotline Program: Snitching on Your Neighbors for 'Hateful' Activity

(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

Here’s another example of leftists being authoritarian under the guise of trying to protect marginalized groups. California has rolled out a program ostensibly designed to stop hate crimes and other acts of bigotry.

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How?

By creating a hotline allowing residents to snitch on one another for engaging in “hateful” activity.

The program, which is called “California vs Hate,” is “a non-emergency hate incident and hate crime reporting system to support individuals and communities targeted for hate,” according to its website. The state legislature provided funding to its Civil Rights Department to establish the initiative.

This program is intended to support victims of hate by giving them “options for next steps after an act of hate,” “connect people targeted for hate with culturally competent resources and care coordination services,” and “improve hate incident and crime reporting data to enhance prevention and response.”

On its “Frequently Asked Questions” page, the program defines a “hate incident” as “a hostile expression or action that may be motivated by bias against another person’s actual or perceived identity.”

Examples of a hate incident can include: “derogatory name calling, bullying, hate mail, and refusing service.”

Readers are encouraged to report these incidents by phone through a hotline or from its website. The group claims it “is not run by the police” and that it does not send any information to law enforcement without the person’s consent. The program will “identify civil legal options that don’t involve the criminal legal system, both through the Civil Rights Department and other agencies.”

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After a caller reports a hate incident, they are “connected with a professional trained in culturally competent communication and trauma-informed practices,” who will make sure they provide access to resources including “legal, financial, mental health, and mediation services.”

The supposed aim of the hotline is the “stop the normalization of hate in our communities, and ensure impacted individuals get the help they need.”

To some, this type of program might sound wonderful at first glance. But there are some serious issues with this.

For starters, whether one believes in the idea of hate crimes or not, if someone witnesses an act of violence against someone else, would it not make more sense to call law enforcement directly instead of going through some government-funded program? If something like this happens, chances are the witness or victim isn’t thinking about calling a hotline, right?

So, it seems to make more sense that this website is more about “hate incidents” involving bullying or the use of derogatory names. In essence, California’s government is encouraging its residents to report people who use disgusting rhetoric against others based on immutable characteristics. Of course, any decent person detests bigotry in all its forms.

But the notion that we should be filing reports with the government seems rather Orwellian, doesn’t it? It is the same type of behavior that other states encouraged during the COVID-19 pandemic when people were calling hotlines to snitch on their neighbors for not complying with the onerous restrictions their governments imposed.

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There are several other problems with this program.

For starters, the hotline system relies on individuals reporting “hate incidents” or acts of bigotry, which can be subjective and open to interpretation. This leaves room for potential misuse and false reporting, as people may exploit the system to settle personal grievances or silence those with differing opinions.

The lack of clear criteria and guidelines for identifying and verifying hate incidents could lead to a chilling effect on free speech and the expression of unpopular views. Also, considering the fact that folks on the hard left view any utterance with which they disagree as bigoted makes this even more problematic.

Secondly, the program’s emphasis on bypassing law enforcement and offering civil legal options raises concerns about due process and accountability. By encouraging individuals to seek alternatives to the criminal legal system, the program could undermine the principles of fair and impartial justice. It may result in a lack of proper investigation and legal protection for both the accused and the alleged victims, potentially leading to unjust outcomes.

Lastly, the program’s broad definition of a hate incident, including actions such as name-calling and refusal of service, raises questions about the proportionality of the response. While such behaviors may be undesirable, categorizing them as hate incidents and potentially subjecting individuals to legal or social consequences could be seen as an overreach of governmental authority, especially if these incidents end up in the hands of law enforcement. This approach risks stifling open dialogue and debate, as individuals may fear retribution for expressing controversial or unpopular opinions.

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This is the type of program that could easily be taken to a dark place despite its supposedly noble intentions. It could be weaponized to crack down on speech and intimidate people into censoring themselves. This outcome wouldn’t exactly be surprising in the People’s Republic of California, would it?

The opinions expressed by contributors are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of RedState.com.

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