Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: May 28, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963930 | Print ISBN: 9781412941655 | Online ISBN: 9781412963930| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Jack Levin & Jack McDevitt
Although no widely recognized definition of the term hate speech yet exists, its traditional interpretation included any form of expression that any racial, religious, ethnic, or national group found offensive. This definition broadened in the 1980s to include groups based or age, gender, sexual preference, marital status, and physical ability. Most commonly, hate speech involves racial and ethnic slurs when referring to the members of a group. Other examples may include jokes that demean or ridicule a particular group or speeches by members of organizations, such as the Ku Klux Klan or the Christian Identity Church, that demonize groups such as blacks, Jews, or Hispanics by depicting them as animals or subhumans. Most nations have laws that restrict offensive speech, including words targeted at vulnerable groups. Germany and France, for example, prohibit many expressions of hate. The ...