The Devil Himself
September 24, 2017
Or, Hysterical Woman Is Hysterical:
Hate speech… makes one wish one was dead or worse had never been born, the ultimate existential black hole. Hate speech is a speech act that can harm the central nervous system, it can result in PTSD, and when used by police and jailers to humiliate prisoners hate speech is psychological torture, a civil rights and human rights violation. In short, hate speech is an act of violence.
So writes Nancy Scheper-Hughes, an anthropology lecturer at Berkeley. She’s referring, of course, to the recent visit by Ben Shapiro. Though quite why Mr Shapiro should be mentioned alongside psychological torture and the violation of human rights remains unclear, and Dr Scheper-Hughes takes care not to offer even a single direct quotation by way of evidence. Instead, we’re treated to some inventive ventriloquism, to the extent that readers are expected to believe that Shapiro has somewhere referred to black people, all of them, as “criminally inclined, drug addicted, homicidal losers.” Those familiar with Mr Shapiro’s actual output may find this a little bizarre. Almost as bizarre as the claim that Shapiro is not only “racist, sexist” and “misogynist,” but also “very dangerous” and a “physical threat” to students.
Perhaps Dr Scheper-Hughes has some thoughts on whether publicly and hyperbolically defaming people – accusing them of racism and misogyny, and of being a physical menace to students, for instance – also constitutes “violence” and a cause of post-traumatic stress disorder.