Free Speech

New Group Seeking Legal Help Related to Speech Restrictions and Compulsions

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Looks like an excellent project, with a first-rate Board of Advisors; here's their pitch:

The Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism is a new nonpartisan group that advocates for equality under the law regardless of one's immutable characteristics; for tolerance of different opinions; for open and free inquiry; and for compassionate opposition to racism based on our common humanity. It opposes what it views as a new orthodoxy and environment of intolerance rooted in Critical Race Theory; FAIR's advisory board includes John McWhorter, Bari Weiss, Steven Pinker, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Coleman Hughes, and other highly regarded public figures.

Consistent with its mission, FAIR supports students, teachers, and employees who are being compelled to affirm principles with which they disagree, who are stopped from expressing their true views, and who are being punished and silenced if they do not comply. To that end, FAIR is building a nationwide network of independent attorneys who can offer advice and, if necessary, pursue litigation. If you are a lawyer with civil litigation experience and would like to join FAIR's legal network, please contact letitia@fairforall.org.

I expect I'll probably be giving them some occasional informal advice as well, so if any of you get involved, perhaps we can work together. I'm inclined to think that the cases will involve the First Amendment, related statutes (such as laws limiting private employer retaliation based on employees' political activity, or the California statutes limiting private university and high school speech codes), contract law, and more.

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  1. Equality under the law regardless of one’s immutable characteristics is a worthy cause.

    How much of this group’s effort will address race-targeting voter suppression?

    1. Not the brief, it would seem.

      You want to fix structural racism, you address its structural causes. But these people seem to be more concerned about people pressed to “affirm principles with which they disagree” – I presume they are talking about principles like, “LGBTQ people are entitled to live their lives without the constant threat of harassment and violence,” rather than, “We should support the troops and back the blue,” “Ours is a Christian nation,” and “People should have the right to work” – and stopped from “expressing their true views” – because our discourse is poorly served if we do not express things like “the blacks in my courses aren’t doing as well for some reason” or “I think transgendered people are fundamentally disordered and should receive counseling, not hormone therapy.”

      We need to learn how to better disagree. “Canceling” is getting out of hand. But the solution to that is for the dissenters to do a better job of presenting their case, not to create a safe space for racist morons.

      1. [T]he solution…is…not to create a safe space for racist morons.

        So, you label someone a “racist moron” and feel that you’re thereby entitled to deny them “safe space” to express their views. If I come up with an unflattering epithet for you, do I then get to shut you up? Or does this only work one way?

        1. Bigots have rights, too.

          But not the right to be protected from being called bigots. Others may wallow in political correctness, and enable bigots to hide behind euphemisms (“traditional values,” “conservative values”) but the proper course is to call a racist a racist, a misogynist a misogynist, a homophobe a homophobe, a xenophobe a xenophobe, and to refer to all of them as bigots.

          1. Indeed RAK. You have display your bigotry here on many occasions.

            1. Speaking of bigotry . . .

              THE VOLOKH CONSPIRACY
              This White, male, conservative
              blog has operated for
              ZERO (0) DAYS
              without use of a vile racial
              slur and has operated for
              697 DAYS
              since its most recent imposition
              of viewpoint-driven censorship.*

              * so far as is known, at least

        2. You’ve completely failed to understand what I’ve written, instead choosing to bark at the wrong strawman.

          I am interested in creating a healthy public discourse where contrary views can be expressed without fear of “canceling.” I agree that kind of discourse is important for furthering knowledge and understanding.

          But I do not see how that discourse is created by specifically advocating for the right to say moronic, racist things. If you want to say something that others are inclined to think is “racist,” the onus should be on you to find a way to express that thought in a way that doesn’t elicit that reaction, and the onus should be on others to receive that thought in good faith. And if you can’t manage to do that, I don’t think we should structure discourse so that you are entitled to speak your piece anyway. Morons are properly shut out.

          1. I’m not sure what you mean by advocating for the right to say racist things, but I think racists should generally (*) be permitted to speak their views without being fired.

            (*) Restrictions for on-the-job speech would be appropriate.

            1. And I don’t see any particular harm in firing racist people for espousing racist views. How does that hurt discourse?

              1. In my opinion, blacklisting chills speech. And although this particular speech may be worthy of being chilled, society cannot fairly draw the line between speech worthy and unworthy of being chilled.

              2. All PC whores must be cancelled. If I heard anyone say what you say, I would demand they be fired on the spot, or face an onslaught of vicious lawfare.

                1. PS I am not a crank.

              3. The problem is that the definition of “racist” has been so broadened as to frequently be meaningless.

                Classic example being the guy who was fired by San Diego Electric because some woke jackass got a picture of him hanging his hand out his truck window while he made the ok sign.

                People shouldn’t be fired for bullshit like that but they are.

          2. “But I do not see how that discourse is created by specifically advocating for the right to say moronic, racist things.”

            If you can shut people up for saying “moronic, racist things”, then anybody who wants someone shut up just claims that they’re saying “moronic, racist things”. And, if they’re shut up, who can deny it?

            If we didn’t have a long history now of the left using “Racist!” as an all purpose, content free epithet… well, you’d still be wrong, but not so obviously. But at this point it isn’t just the potential that would be the dynamic, it’s the reality that IS the dynamic.

            The truth is that, today, you can get called a racist for refusing to be a racist, refusing to play along with racism.

            1. The right’s conception of racism is deeply dysfunctional, culture-war driven and deliberately disconnected from the voices of people who experience racism. The same people telling us the election was stolen are demanding to tell us what the real racism is.

              1. …people who experience racism…

                Like Abigail Fisher?

                1. If she was, they wouldn’t.

              2. The right’s conception of racism was the same as the left’s at one time, and it’s the left’s conception that changed, to accommodate racially discriminatory programs, and to immunize the left against admitting that they were racist themselves.

                Racism consists of treating people as instances of a race, rather than as individuals, nothing more. Doesn’t matter if it’s for better or for worse, if you have good motives or bad for doing it, what your own race is. None of that is relevant.

                If you have to know what somebody’s race is before you know how to treat them, if you think knowing somebody’s race tells you anything important about them, then you’re a racist.

                1. Affirmative action has been a thing since the Civil War. It’s not some new invention the left decided to get into to hide their racism.

                  Your definition of racism is not one held by the law, or dictionaries. And, on a practical level, when a group is already treated as a group and not individuals, the way to address that must treat them as a group.
                  Look at this blog – at how many here talk about blacks as a group – their IQ, their ‘culture,’ ‘black-on-black violence.’ Or get worse and read the comments on Fox News or Free Republic, and what they say about blacks as a group.
                  Insisting government be colorblind requires ignoring all that, and declaring the problem solved. It’s not.

                  1. Maybe things would improve if blacks would try to be less black.

                    1. LOL, nice helping.

                    2. “Maybe things would improve if blacks would try to be less black.”

                      Maybe a little less black fragility?

                    3. Things are improving — as they have been throughout my lifetime — as cranky old bigots take their stale, ugly thinking to the grave and are replaced by better, younger Americans in our electorate and broader society. I expect this to continue. It is a substantial part of what makes America great.

                  2. “Affirmative action has been a thing since the Civil War.”

                    “Everybody has asked the question. . .”What shall we do with the Negro?” I have had but one answer from the beginning. Do nothing with us! Your doing with us has already played the mischief with us. Do nothing with us! If the apples will not remain on the tree of their own strength, if they are wormeaten at the core, if they are early ripe and disposed to fall, let them fall! I am not for tying or fastening them on the tree in any way, except by nature’s plan, and if they will not stay there, let them fall. And if the Negro cannot stand on his own legs, let him fall also. All I ask is, give him a chance to stand on his own legs! Let him alone!”

                    1. For fucks sake, read up on the guy you’re quoting lest you seem to be taking him out of context and abusing him in service of your own ends.

                      The Freedman’s Bureau was affirmative action by any definition. And yet:
                      The Civil Rights Bill and the Freedmen’s Bureau Bill and the proposed constitutional amendments, with the amendment already adopted and recognized as the law of the land, do not reach the difficulty, and cannot, unless the whole structure of the government is changed from a government by States to something like a despotic central government, with power to control even the municipal regulations of States, and to make them conform to its own despotic will. While there remains such an idea as the right of each State to control its own local affairs,—an idea, by the way, more deeply rooted in the minds of men of all sections of the country than perhaps any one other political idea,—no general assertion of human rights can be of any practical value.

                    2. Using out of context quotes from heroes of civil rights to argue against affirmative action is really shameful.

                    3. OK, Sarcastro, here’s a quote from a different hero — Ayn Rand:
                      …This accumulation of contradictions, of shortsighted pragmatism, of cynical contempt for principles, of outrageous irrationality, has now reached its climax in the new demands of the Negro leaders. Instead of fighting against racial discrimination, they are demanding that racial discrimination be legalized and enforced. Instead of fighting against racism, they are demanding the establishment of racial quotas. Instead of fighting for “color-blindness” in social and economic issues, they are proclaiming that “color-blindness” is evil and that “color” should be made a primary consideration. Instead of fighting for equal rights, they are demanding special race privileges.

                2. Race is not the same as racism.

            2. Brett, for the umpteenth time, I can’t be expected to guess at what you mean when you speak in your private language.

              1. That’s a ridiculous non-argument. Brett’s prose is perfectly clear. I suppose it’s just that you don’t agree with it.

              2. when you speak in your private language

                If clear, simple English confuses you that easily then perhaps you should consider seeking the services of competent middle school tutor.

      2. Stop this splintering. FIRE should welcome all these freedom loving groups and give them influence on the lawfare it must do.

        1. FIRE is interested in issues pertaining to education, it seems this group is looking beyond just academia.

          1. Right; plus FIRE is generally focused on higher education, and this group will also deal with K-12 education.

            1. This group will not rest until every third-, fifth-, or seventh-grader can use a vile racial slur without fear of consequence?

              1. Without a fear of government consequence, yes, at the very least.

                1. ‘I’m sorry, dear, I’d love to help you with your bullying problem, but since it’s all horrific racial abuse, I’m not allowed to because of the 1st Amendment.’

                2. I expect this group to follow FIRE’s lead — scold all public schools and those private schools operated in the liberal-libertarian mainstream, issue a pass to conservative-controlled private schools.

                  I hope I am wrong, but the record does not support much hope in that respect.

            2. In my district, they are indoctrinating students into hating the white race down to Kindergarten. I tried to report the Superintendent for mass emotional child abuse. The black child welfare worker refused to accept my complaint without the name of a specific Kindergarten student. I don’t know any kindergarten students. I am reporting her for suborning emotional child abuse. I want her cancelled.

              1. Read your state’s child protective laws — in most states, you don’t need to name specific students if it is an identifiable group. In one incident I am thinking of, it was the girl’s basketball team (who were required to walk barefoot through chicken manure) — there was no need to name any of the individual girls.

              2. Be sure if you take this forward to include in any written submission screenshots of some of your comments concerning lawyers, China, Democrats and BLM to show that You Are Not A Crank.

                1. Calling a dissenter crazy is from the KGB Handbook you found in the trash. If we were in a tribunal, I would ask my lawyer to move for a mistrial, and to assess all costs to your personal assets.

                  1. But I didn’t call you ‘crazy,’ counsellor.

                2. My favorite comment so far in March. Daivd relating a story from his life, and the reaction from EVERY SINGLE READER is, “Um, you *do* know that you’re batshit crazy, right? Of *Course* no one did take you seriously. I mean; have you met you before?”

                  Self-satire. Nicely done, Daivd. Priceless. 🙂

                  1. I am in a denier world driven by rent seeking, a type of fraud.

            3. Right, EV. Perhaps by outlawing in public education any mention of critical race theory. Are you aware of the legislative efforts to do that? I have been waiting for a thread on that topic since about a month ago, when bills to do it were being introduced in red state legislatures. Seems like outlawing the topic in school goes a good deal farther than social pressure. I assume you don’t know about that, because otherwise it would look like you are cheering it on.

              1. …outlawing in public education any mention of critical race theory…

                Wouldn’t it be easier to outlaw (end) public education?

    2. Those who call others, racist, are called, race whores. Zero tolerance for race whores. Zero tolerance for PC. All PC is lawyer case and scam. Crush this toxic occupation to save our nation. Cancel it.

      1. DEFINITELY include this one, it’ll show that HAVE to take you seriously.

        1. I would be trying to cancel all race whores.

          1. Louder in case any of the kids in the kindergarten didn’t hear you.

    3. It would be better to have one large legal group promoting freedom and attacking the cultural Commies. Nasty all encompassing lawfare is due. The ACLU is not it anymore.

      Such a group should have a direct action arm to Antifa the Commie enemies of our cointry, including any university that has not adopted the Chicago Principles.

  2. I have a problem with the name. This is a First Amendment Group, not an anti-racism group as such. I think its opponemts could reasonably argue that the name is misleading, and furthee arguw that because of this, it is really aomething nefarious, a fraudulent from for the opposite of what it claims to be, and can’t and shouldn’t be trusted.

    I would suggest a name that reflects the label.

    The country has plenty of “astroturf” groups, groups purporting to represent consumers, environmemtalists, etc. but actually representong producers, polliters, etc.

    Having an astroturf name creates an impression of an astroturf group. It plays right into the hands of the group’s opponents. It creates an impression the group’s real purpose is the exact opposite of its title, i.e. the group is racist and the positions it advocates are the racist position. It could lead to your group’s positions becoming even more associated with racism, and even less acceptable to espouse, among the public you are seeking to influence.

    If I were you I wouldn’t hand your opponents such a ready-made weapon they can use to discredit you.

    1. well ‘antiracism’ as the left practices it is the new racism. The most common kind today.

      1. Correct. It appears that the terminology is evolving. The notion that everyone should be treated equally regardless of race is now known as super-antiracism.

        It’s no longer enough to just be anti-racist.

        1. Yeah, what a new and radical concept:


          “Do you feel it’s fair to request a multibillion-dollar program of preferential treatment for the Negro, or for any other minority group?”

          “I do indeed. Can any fair-minded citizen deny that the Negro has been deprived? Few people reflect that for two centuries the Negro was enslaved, and robbed of any wages–potential accrued wealth which would have been the legacy of his descendants.

          All of America’s wealth today could not adequately compensate its Negroes for his centuries of exploitation and humiliation. It is an economic fact that a program such as I propose would certainly cost far less than any computation of two centuries of unpaid wages plus accumulated interest.

          In any case, I do not intend that this program of economic aid should apply only to the Negro; it should benefit the disadvantaged of all races.”

          1. Do the work, Sarcastro. If you are willing to venture a little bit outside of your comfort zone, you too can be super-antiracist. Why settle for just anti-racism? That’s lazy.

            1. I have no idea what you’re trying to say.

          2. Yeah, MLK had a dream. Then he gave up on it, what, a year later, when he got a better offer.

            1. Jesus, dude.

              You don’t get to declare the one MLK quote good and then declare he had no integrity in the next breath.

              In reality, of course, he was consistent in his beliefs, and conservatives just take him out of context so as to draft their own white oppression narrative off of his reputation.

              1. Sure I do. I’m perfectly entitled to notice when somebody enunciates an elevated goal, and then shortly after betrays it.

                I’m scarcely the first person to have noticed that MLK gave up on his dream and embraced policies that treated people according to the color of their skin. Policies that have poisoned race relations ever since.

                1. Quoting someone you think sucks is kinda weird, actually.

                  Like if I thought Che Guevara had a cute quote about human nature or whatever, maybe I’d rephrase lest people get the wrong idea.

                  Just because some other conservatives are as abusive of MLK’s legacy as you doesn’t make it much better.

                  1. I dunno. We see people quote folks like Thomas Jefferson, FDR, Oliver Wendel Holmes, etc. all the time.

                    1. Brett didn’t say MLK was insightful but flawed, he said MLK’s lack of integrity made him abandon the good principles you can see in the one phrase the right likes to quote.

                      Maybe this goes to the fact that despite the right’s burgeoning anti-cancel culture industry, most on the left aren’t actually into that damno memoriae.

                2. Brett was okay with MLK until MLK suddenly noticed that MLK was black.

            2. “Yeah, MLK had a dream. Then he gave up on it, what, a year later, when he got a better offer.”

              MLK’s dream about a world where people are judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin inspired many people.

              He shouldn’t be canceled just because he made a few racist remarks in other contexts. As the editor of Teen Vogue just showed us, everybody slips up occasionally.

              1. Calling MLK racist.

                Yeah, this may not work out for you.

                1. “Calling MLK racist.

                  Yeah, this may not work out for you.”

                  Everyone has racial bias, Sarcastro.

                  The same thing that applies to Mimi Groves and Alexi McCammond applies to MLK: Just because someone makes a few racist comments doesn’t mean we should write off everything else that they do. In MLK’s case, that’s inspire people with a vision of a colorblind society.

                  1. OK. But his remark aren’t racist, except to people who are playing with the definition because they’re into white grievance.

              2. Oh but they did cancel him, in the end. Do you think it was because he was racist to white folks?

      2. Disaffected, defeated conservative racists are among my favorite culture war casualties.

    2. It looks and smells like astroturf because… it is astroturf.

    3. not an anti-racism group as such

      Pretty sure that’s exactly the point. They want to undermine Kendi style anti-racism by promoting their own anti-racist vision.

    4. ” It creates an impression the group’s real purpose is the exact opposite of its title, i.e. the group is racist ”

      This group is not racist . . . but it is #1 with racists!

      1. People who call others racist are called, race whores. This is especially true of lawyer. They make money off PC, and that is its sole purpose. It is a masking ideology for lawyer rent seeking. It is a criminal, fraudulent scheme and must be crushed to save our nation. When you persuade crybaby minorities to vote you into office, the millions in additional net worth cannot be contained.

        Hey, lawyer, we need the home address or STFU. We are going to seize your neighboring homes, and are going to move in Democrats. We are going to move Democrats into your upstairs bedrooms if Biden is not stopped.

    5. I disagree — “racism” is treating people differently on the basis of their race — and that’s what they seek to oppose.

      1. They oppose “anti-racism,” actually, which they view as deeply racist against whites and perhaps so-called “model minorities,” while also perpetuating infantilizing stereotypes of other racial minorities.

        In this, their hearts may be in the right place, though not their heads. Talk of structural racism seems to threaten them, but it is precisely that structural racism that makes anti-racism so challenging and prone to error. And so, by seeking to defend the status quo and targets of over-zealous “woke” warriors, they only prolong the need for that kind of anti-racist work, as structural racism continues to fester and perpetuate itself.

        It’s like responding to “defund the police” by hiring more police officers and promising some efforts toward greater transparency and accountability. You’re responding to a radical over-reach by shoring up the entrenched interests.

      2. If they’re anything like the right-wing people here, they oppose noticing when anyone gets treated differently because of their race, except, suddenly, white people.

        1. Most of these groups seem to be collections of misfits, huddling together for warmth as mainstream society progresses without them.

  3. Words now are simultaneously violence, and meaningless.
    Racist means treating everyone as an individual, and anti-racist means looking first, and frequently only, at skin color.
    I am so glad I will (statistically) not live to see the final consequences of the current madness.

  4. I’m sorry to see you promote this group, Eugene, as it appears to be led by some of this generation’s leading cranks and hacks.

    The “Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism” might be better described as the “Foundation Against Intolerance of Intolerance and Anti-Racism,” as there is very little on their pages that suggests that they view intolerance or racism per se as a pressing problem. And the hat-tip to “critical race theory” just gives away the game – I do not understand what it is about modern pseudo-intellectuals and CRT, but it is not nearly as threatening as they make it out to appear.

    There’s a kind deep irony here, as the opponents of “cancel culture” cannot help but double down on its techniques and, in so doing, confirm the predictions and expectations of people with a sophisticated understanding of how racism, etc., works. Because of course the threat of flipping power dynamics so that BIPOC, LGBTQ, etc., people have a say in the discourse in which they live will be met by a reactionary force to vindicate and protect those who want to continue to exclude them. Of course that reactionary movement is going to exploit superficially-shared common values to confuse people as to their true aims.

    I certainly have my own concerns about the way public discourse is evolving, so as to make certain kinds of dissent not just “unwelcome” but “taboo.” There is a reason I use a pseudonym online, after all. And I think addressing that within our complex reality – where the SJWs are less the problem than the virtue-signaling bureaucracies – is a pressing priority. But when I see that cause taken up by the likes of Pinker and Weiss, with a jab at CRT and a cynically flat reading of the life and work of MLK, Jr., I can only roll my eyes and resent the development. Megyn Kelly should go find someone to hire her for another vapid talk show. She’s not needed here.

    1. Zero tolerance for PC. Cancel any agency that allows it. All PC is case, and lawyer fraudulent rent seeking.

      1. Argle bargle!

        The right has its own PC playbook. Just try to talk about undocumented immigrants, for instance.

        1. I agree that legal immigrants who’ve had their wallets stolen are a real problem, but what are you proposing to do about it?

          “Undocumented” alien is a euphemism designed to obscure. Might as well refer to bank robberies as “undocumented” withdrawals.

          1. Thank you for demonstrating my point.

            1. And thank you for using the PC term and demonstrating your own intolerance.

              1. Brett is also advocating for his own PC terminology, is the point.

              2. You are too easily triggered to be coming after anyone for their own “PC” language.

                I’m not getting into a futile debate over the term. I’m just noting how you idiots can’t help but take up the bait.

        2. Political correctness is using “traditional values” instead of racism. Political correctness is using “conservative values” instead of gay-bashing. Political correctness is enabling a bigoted immigrant-basher to hide behind euphemisms such as “heartland,” or “family values,” or “real American.”

        3. Bingo! It is rather odd that a group dedicated to the free flow of ideas would criticize an idea (Critical Race Theory) as being politically correct. The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

        4. One used to call them “wops,” i.e., without papers

        5. Use of the euphemism “undocumented immigrant” is itself becoming cancelling offense because it refers to a person rather than an action. Humpty Dumpty theorists on the left take their language games very seriously.

  5. Awesome! As anyone as a brain can see, it’s no longer enough to be anti-racist.

    In order make progress against racism, you have to be super anti-racist.

    Mere anti-racism doesn’t cut it.

    1. All anti -isms are denial of reality. All -isms are folk statistics, mostly true most of the time. All PC is case, a fraudulent rent seeking lawyer scam. This profession must be crushed to save our nation.

    2. Being anti-anti-racist to pwn the libs, like saying ‘Hitler had the right idea’ and then laughing at people getting mad because you said it ‘ironically.’

      1. ” anti-anti-racist to pwn the libs”

        No, no, no. Super-anti racist. It’s anti-racism, but without all the racism.

        1. Now you’re just saying ‘Hitler had the right idea I’m joking haha you’re the real Nazis’ very loudly.

  6. I think the organization’s choice of name is unfortunate, as it’s sure to lead to confusion with the left-wing group, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting. (One almost inevitable consequence is that people pointing their browser to fair.org, thinking to find the new group’s site, will land on the left-wing group’s site instead.)

  7. “It opposes what it views as a new orthodoxy and environment of intolerance rooted in Critical Race Theory…”

    Great. Let’s get rid of the pseudoscience. So what’s the Discovery Institute doing on the board?

    1. That is a damning accusation. I hope you are mistaken.

      But I do not doubt you.

  8. “Immutable characteristics” is a problem. Who defines which characteristics are immutable and which are a choice? Used to be, homosexuality was a choice, now its immutable, then research to find the gay gene was banned as divisive, when the reality was they were afraid either none would be found or it would be used as a marker or used in gene editing. What about Rachel what’s-her-name who identified as black, or people who identify as pixies or Klingons or whatever? What about pre-pubescent kids who claim to want gender reassignment surgery and hormones?

    Nope, they will founder on political correctness, or wokism as it seems to be called oday.

  9. I don’t understand the preoccupation with trying to label, exclude and punish racist speech. Why is this type of speech so especially virulent that we should give it special attention -over the many other things people can say that might hurt peoples feelings?

    1. Off the top of my head:

      1) History.
      2) Identity politics.
      3) Race is an inherited and immutable trait.
      4) Because racism is bad.
      5) Because loud racists are especially annoying and easy to demean.

      Could you maybe tell us what other kind of speech you think should get as much or more attention than racism, but doesn’t? Like, do you think anti-bullying short people should be of greater national preoccupation than racism?

      1. To be devil’s advocate: you are a school principal. You have three kids in your office in tears from bullying. One because they are a ginger, one because they are tall/short/ugly, and one because they are a honky. Why is the latter worse than the other two? What’s the matter with reacting to the severity of the bullying, regardless of the motive?

        1. Absaroka, leaving your specific terms out of it, for the sake of argument, the effects on victims may or may not be similar, regardless of the motive. But the motive of group exclusion is more dangerous, socially and politically, than the motive of personal animus.

          Bringing consideration of youthful victims back in, to be a member of a targeted minority amidst a predominant majority, I imagine would be harder to to cope with than being bullied by an individual. Fewer others to turn to, for one thing. And for children, harder not to take the animus as substantive. Kids always have trouble with prejudice when it is too pervasive. It raises a question why so many folks would act on prejudice if it weren’t based on socially acknowledged truth.

        2. “Why is the latter worse than the other two?”

          From the principal’s perspective, I might be more worried about organized racial violence erupting in the school than organized anti-ginger or anti-ugly bullying. But I take your point; the principal should be concerned about all three. (As should we all.) From society’s perspective (which is how the original question is framed), concern should track impact. Do you think anti-ginger bullying should take priority over, uh, anti-athlete bullying, generally?

          “What’s the matter with reacting to the severity of the bullying, regardless of the motive?”

          Nothing. The original comment was:

          “I don’t understand the preoccupation with trying to label, exclude and punish racist speech.”

          In answering why there might be a preoccupation with racism, I wasn’t making a normative statement that preoccupation with other forms of hurtful bullying was morally impermissible. If you want to be more concerned with bullying of gingers, or kids with developmental disorders, or people who like green socks, or Harry Potter fans, go for it.

          1. “Do you think anti-ginger bullying should take priority over, uh, anti-athlete bullying, generally?”

            I guess I’m generally not really concerned about why the bullying is occurring. I care about its severity and that it is happening at all.

            For example, kids can form pretty cruel cliques, where inclusion/exclusion can be for pretty random causes. A kid might be hassled just because the moved to town and are the new kid. I know a lady who was teased in high school because her bosom developed later than most, etc, etc, etc. Kids can act a lot like flocks of chickens sometimes, with random cruelty.

            If Betty is getting teased a little bit because she’s a ginger, but Fred is getting teased a lot because he has buck teeth, it seems odd to me to worry more about Betty than Fred.

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