"The government only cares about hate speech when it's on the receiving end of the hate"
Two recent legislative efforts have been mounted to add police to the rolls of “disadvantaged” citizens in need of the additional shelter of “hate crime” laws. Hate crime laws are immediately problematic. They add additional punishments to criminal acts already punishable under existing laws. It’s exactly the sort of thing justice isn’t meant to be: vindictive. A murder is a murder, whether or not it was propelled by someone’s underlying biases. A threat is a threat, no matter the threatener’s personal views on race, marriage or human sexuality. Adding additional punishments solely because of a perceived motive serves no purpose other than to make those who support these laws feel like past racial/sexual wrongs are slowly being righted. The sinners of the present pay for the sins of the past sinners.
Adding police officers to this mix is not just stupid and completely antithetical to the underlying rationale of “hate crime” laws. It’s also incredibly dangerous. Elizabeth Nolan Brown of Reason takes a look at how hate crime laws are being deployed in other countries. What she’s found is that hate crime laws are like any other: they’re abused most frequently by those in power and deployed inconsistently to further governments’ aims.
The agency tasked with prosecuting hate speech in Kenya is called the National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC); it was formed in 2008 to address ethnic conflicts in the nation. Onyando asserts that NCIC has ignored the bulk of complaints it has received and acts “more like an arm of the ruling coalition” than an independent agency, honing in only on those who speak out against the Jubilee Alliance, a coalition established in 2013 to support the candidacy of current President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto.