Ok, from my notes - it is based on simple public order (so, section 5). Basically, racism would be classed as threatening, abusive or insulting behaviour likely to cause alarm, harassment, or distress to anyone who is nearby, even if they aren't. So, whilst there isn't a specific law, what they say is correct. If someone finds racist words/behaviour abusive or insulting, even if it isn't directed at them, and it causes them alarm/distress, then arrests/prosecution can happen.
The most likely people to be offended by a racist term are people NOT of that race concerned that someone of that race may be offended by said racist term. In effect, the people worried about persons of other race being offended by racist things are in actual fact, being racist in their intent.
I have been pondering this 'insulting joke' question and what I wonder is, why would anyone find, for example, a joke about people with Downs Syndrome actually funny? Other than the shock value, that is.
I don't mean "how dreadful, what terrible people you are" I genuinely mean how is anyone amused by a joke about something like that - to me, it just isn't amusing in any shape or form.
Sanctimonious twaddle uttered by a twit!Words can only be offensive if you allow yourself to be offended by them
Most violence is caused by offensive words - of course if you are a santimonious twit then please feel free to turn your other cheek round but don't let your halo slip in the process.
What you said (that I characterised as rubbish) :
"So, if 2 black people were using the N word with each other and a white person overheard and complained to the police, those 2 people could be arrested and prosecuted for a race related crime."
A prosecution happening because someone overhears some banter - you're off your rocker! Try calling up the police and describing your horror at hearing two black people using that language and demanding their arrest - I'll wager they will give you and your trainers a rather short hearing.
Perhaps a band of BNP chanting racist abuse might fall foul of "incitement to racial hatred" but your example is typical Daily Mail fodder.
The offence is created by section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986:]Error"(1) A person is guilty of an offence if hea) uses threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour, or(b) displays any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting,within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress thereby."This offence has the following statutory defences:
(a) The defendant had no reason to believe that there was any person within hearing or sight who was likely to be alarmed or distressed by his action.(b) The defendant was in a dwelling and had no reason to believe that his behaviour would be seen or heard by any person outside any dwelling.(c) The conduct was reasonable.[/quote]
So, basically, if someone could be offended within sight or hearing of the action/sound, you can be arrested and prosecuted for it.
Seriously, I do actually know about this law. I've been on the receiving end of several arrests from it, all of them dropped due to misinterpretations by the arresting officers.
I was arrested outside a Vodafone shop during a protest, where banners were displayed which contained animal rights information, which the officer said had alarmed someone (but they didn't follow through with the 'must be threatening abusive or insulting' part.).
So, you can still carry on thinking you know what the law is, or you can listen to someone who actually has experienced this law, knows about it and is speaking from experience, based on legal advice and discussions with solicitors.
And, you'll also note Section 31 of that act... So, rather than claiming its all Daily Mail nonsense, why not research? A simple google search for Section 5 (which is one of the most commonly used laws in the UK to arrest people), would have given you this info.
Last edited by localzuk; 25th November 2011 at 11:04 PM.
At what point are comedians responsible for what comes out of their mouths? Or are you basically saying they have freedom to say whatever offensive things they like? What's the limit?
The problem with letting the audience decide, is that there are plenty of sick, twisted people out there who will laugh at this sort of joke (and far worse).
Hehe sorry Witch, don't worry it was a slightly terrible attempt at being funny.
In general though it's often true - I'm not going to start nitpicking but there are certain words "the N word" for example that I really couldn't condone regardless of some people's insistence on using it regardless of their own race/colour/creed etc. It came to a head for our school when we had a logon screen that said "Happy St. Paddy's Day!" and we instantly had a request to remove it in case it offended one of the many Irish members of staff here. Every single one of those members of staff came to us later that day and asked why it was removed/who asked for it to be removed because it made their day and they *all* enjoyed it.
I don't know what to say on the idea of people using such material in their routines though. If someone, for example Chris Rock can use the N word here there and everywhere, does it mean it's right for others to follow suit? Should he not be doing it in the first place to make people think it's alright?
It's a touchy subject in total and I suspect it's rather to do with how we are moving "forward" as a human race - in days gone by it was more than acceptable to mock people with serious disabilities and based on the colour of their skin. It doesn't mean we should continue to do so - we are hopefully moving towards being better as humans and treating eachother with the deserved respect. Using history shouldn't be an excuse to continue an act, otherwise we'd still be lopping off people's hands for stealing things.
So all of your example arrests have resulted in charges dropped (and this is evidence in support of your assertion?!). Presumably they were dropped because no one actually thought they would stand a snowballs chance in hell of succeeding as an actual prosecution? You can be arrested for almost anything - sometimes police will abuse their powers and there is very little you can do about it at the time. Such abuse of police power and position does not count as evidence that there are actual laws that could see two black people arrested AND prosecuted because a white person overheard them using the word "nigger" and found it offensive. Credible evidence of that would be successful prosecutions and sentences. You have presented no such evidence and will find none.Seriously, I do actually know about this law. I've been on the receiving end of several arrests from it, all of them dropped due to misinterpretations by the arresting officers.
You obviously think you know about it, but equally obvious is that you have taken what you think you know and conjured it into something ridiculous.
I would note Section 31 but as you can see from the actual legislation, it is under amendment. Perhaps rather than directing people to do your research for you (again) you should take the time to put into words what you want to convey to them.And, you'll also note Section 31 of that act... So, rather than claiming its all Daily Mail nonsense, why not research?
[/quote]A simple google search for Section 5 (which is one of the most commonly used laws in the UK to arrest people), would have given you this info.
That's priceless. A simple google search for "Section 5" returns "About 218,000,000 results" and that should include every single piece of legislation on statute (I can't think of any with less than 5 Sections). But hey, of course I will manage to pick the needle of the one you mean from that haystack of results. And let's face it, I have all the time in the world to research YOUR claims and prove to myself that they are not as I think they are, risible, Daily Mail style rubbish, so why on earth should YOU bother.
Can I seriously suggest we leave this thread here? We all have a healthy amount of respect for eachother professionally and let's keep it that way. "Shock Humour" does exactly as it says on the tin and we can either take it or leave it. It will always divide opinion and cause controversy, I'm sure we can all agree that.
SimpleSi (26th November 2011)
Might be worth listening to his Absolute radio interview.
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