LA Times Op-Ed: Restrict Hate Speech, It Causes Eating Disorders

Now you've heard it all!

An opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times argues that hate speech should be restricted because of the physical effects it has on those it offends.

“Racist hate speech has been linked to cigarette smoking, high blood pressure, anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, and requires complex coping strategies,” writes Laura Beth Nielsen, a professor of sociology at Northwestern University. “Exposure to racial slurs also diminishes academic performance. Women subjected to sexualized speech may develop a phenomenon of ‘self-objectification,’ which is associated with eating disorders.”

It seems as though no one is teaching “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” anymore.

Nielsen goes on to argue that the “negative physical and mental health outcomes” actually changes the nature of free speech so that it is no longer “just speech.” 

“Hate speech is doing something,” she continues. “It results in tangible harms that are serious in and of themselves and that collectively amount to the harm of subordination. The harm of perpetuating discrimination. The harm of creating inequality.”

The professor argues against those who stand behind the First Amendment as foundational to our nation’s laws and believes that “trivialize[s] the harms.” The term “snowflakes” is especially detrimental, Nielsen states.

“But these free-speech absolutists must at least acknowledge two facts. First, the right to speak already is far from absolute. Second, they are asking disadvantaged members of our society to shoulder a heavy burden with serious consequences. Because we are ‘free’ to be hateful, members of traditionally marginalized groups suffer.”

As Twitchy noted, most conservatives gave up on Nielsen’s piece after the first three words: “As a sociologist…”

And as coincidence would have it, Twitchy also noted a New York Times World tweet that read, “German police raid the homes of 36 people accused of making hateful postings on social media sites.”

It appears Nielsen would love that headline to be in the United States. Now that “hate speech” is beyond offensive and is purported to cause real, physical harm, leftists have more reason to make free speech a criminal activity.

Photo credit: vpickering via / CC BY-NC-ND