AOS 2 unit 3 journal. Racial vilification laws: maybe we don’t need them

Click here for a link to the article.

Title  Racial vilification laws: maybe we don’t need them
Date  24/04/2014
Author  Gay Alcorn
Publication  The Age, column
Key Ideas (Point Form)
  • The Attorney General George Brandis proposes that we scrap the discrimination laws.
  • Enabling people to use language to offend, insult and humiliate someone based on gender, or their age, or because they are disabled, or because of their ethnic origin.
  • People are worried that these laws would allow people to freely discriminate.
  • Woman and gay rights are not protected in this way.
  • Gay Alcorn believes that the present laws have gone too far and believe they should be weakened.
Feature of Language  Use of language to discriminate, “offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate”.
Formal language used in laws. It is written so to clarify and be non-ambiguous.
Aspects of the Course this Article Relates to.  Use of language to discriminate.

Attacking positive face needs.

Taboo. Talking about discrimination in our own community.

Taboo. lexicons that are taboo as they are used to discriminate others.

My opinion on the Article’s comments.  The laws that were put in place 19 years ago are there so that discrimination could be stomped out of society by being able to use legal ramifications to those who discriminate others. So we should not now start to think that these laws went too far and remove or weaken them. The argument that these laws inhibit freedom of speech may be valid but this speech that would be allowed should have no place in our society.  The laws against discrimination need to be upheld so that the people who are insulted based on their identity can feel that their country is against this victimisation and is there ready to charge the offenders.
Quotes “It is hard to see what will fall foul of these laws if passed. They seem intended to catch only individual cases of racial abuse on a football field or in a train (so not part of public discussion), although even this is doubtful”

“One argument is that hate speech has impact, that it silences and dehumanises people. Yet there is insulting sexist material published every day and it too can act to silence women.”

“it’s their right to give a political view in a democracy even if it’s wrong and insulting.”

“But to make it unlawful to offend, insult, or humiliate on racial grounds does risk shutting down people’s political views and could, paradoxically, limit the messy arguments we need to have.”


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