Being arrested for using racist taunts…I’m not for it.

In the UK at the moment you can be arrested for using racial insults. Now I find racism abhorrent, the idea that one person believes themselves better than anyone else because of the colour of their skin, or what culture they come from is not only loathsome but ludicrous. Often examples of such cretins who believe in racist theories are plainly at the bottom end of any kind of human ‘ranking system’, which just negates their argument even more, however the idea of being arrested for being a bigoted ignoramus doesn’t sit well with me.

Maybe it comes down to the difference between being a racist, and using a racial slur. Splitting hairs you might say…well I would challenge any person who has not, at some stage, for some reason, put themselves above a person of another race momentarily.  Maybe you’ve rolled you’re eyes when hearing a foreign language at your supermarket and thought, “You’re in NZ now, speak English!” Maybe you’ve been cut off when driving and thought, “Bloody Asian drivers!” Maybe you’ve been extra watchful of a Maori in a public place because, “All Maori are criminals!” Does that make you a racist….or someone who has had a racist thought? Is there any difference?

There are already a couple of examples in English soccer of players being charged with racism, not just by their governing body, but by the police, and the latest example has seen a 20 year old spectator arrested on suspicion of a racially aggravated public order offence.

Now I could go down the extremely weak “freedom of speech” argument, but as we all know there is not such thing as freedom of speech. My discomfort with the idea of being arrested for being a 20 year old moron, who doesn’t understand the issue at hand, is two fold.

Firstly is will not eliminate racism, to me if this is an issue that English soccer is trying to stamp out it would seem more appropriate and perhaps more effective to then ban that spectator from entering any stadiums in the future (however from what I know of the English soccer fan the stadiums may soon be pretty empty in some parts of the UK).

Secondly, and more importantly, I have a concern as to the precedence this is setting. Bigotry and discrimination comes in all forms, against all areas of life. There are 6 main areas of discrimination, none of which are seen any differently in a court of law. You cannot discriminate against race, sexual orientation, gender, age, religion and disability. Of course there are many more such as ‘height-ism’ but these 6 are the main group, and the most common you would see in a court of law. So if in a court of law, these 6 are seen as equally wrong my question is, “Where to from here?”

If this is the precedence that the UK is setting for racism, what is to follow for discrimination and bigotry against age, religion, gender, disabilities and sexual orientation. I don’t know about you but I’ve heard some pretty crass and shocking things shouted out about people in all those categories of life…do we arrest and charge anybody verbally participating in offensive language to all those individuals as well.

Now I realise this is a fairly defeatist post as I don’t have a solution, I think I am just saying that I don’t think you can ‘arrest’ the racism out of people. But then what can you do?

8 thoughts on “Being arrested for using racist taunts…I’m not for it.

  1. James January 9, 2012 / 12:10

    Being on the end of racial abuse…no matter how offensive is still not grounds for criminal action….no individual rights have been violated by words and it IS a freedom of speech issue. Arresting people for expressing views is hate crime evil nonsense and has no place in a rights upholding free society.

  2. James January 9, 2012 / 12:34

    There IS such a thing as freedom of speech..its contained with the rights to liberty and property which all human beings have. The only limit on them is the property rights of others…meaning we can say what we like on and with our own property but not on another’s if they do not agree.

    • James January 9, 2012 / 19:12

      No George. The only way that should happen is if the fan breaks the rules set by the owner of the property on which he commits the offence….and only then if he refuses to cease and leave. Giving some one verbal abuse.in itself…while nasty, should not result in being arrested and imprisoned.

  3. motorizer January 10, 2012 / 07:19

    seems pat didnt see the parallel in the facebook discussion as made by Nigel Fairweather aka me. Nek minit ….. BLOCKED!!!

    could you not really see pat that i was trying to demonstrate to James how hurtful racists can come across? i wasnt being abusive. and by going by YOUR guys argument it should have just been water off a ducks back.

    I thought you could handle a little bit of controversy mate!!

    • James January 10, 2012 / 09:38

      Nigel…newsflash!…we all know that racial taunts can be very hurtful etc…but that doesn’t mean they are a violation of your rights and therefore no business of the law to intervene and imprison a person for. In a free society we are allowed by law to “harm” others as a consequence of our morally just actions. I might start a business that out preforms yours and you go out of business. You are certainly “harmed” by my action…but you had no right to a successful business or customers free of competition from me. I might love a Woman who you ask out and she forgets all about me….and I will be harmed….but again I never had a right to her or to deny her happiness to make me happy.

    • Pat Brittenden January 10, 2012 / 13:00

      Hey Nigel, what you missed is that the post actually said how abhorrent racism was and how it wasn’t to be tolerated, then asked if the extreme of locking someone up was the solution for it. That didn’t give you carte blanche to then come onto my FB page and drop the ‘N’ bomb and the ‘C’ bomb willy nilly trying to say that no one should find it offensive. That was a moronic argument. I ban people who swear, or are abusive on my FB page…but accept that you were trying to make a point, albeit a misguided one linking my post to be able to say anything and have no one take offence…again, that’s not what I wrote about. I have removed the ban on you from my FB page

  4. motorizer January 10, 2012 / 12:39

    pat. please take me out of the naughty corner. i promise to tow the line from now on.

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