Would You Support Criminalizing the Word B****?
Should states ban the word b****?
by Causes | 10.28.19
What’s the story?
Note: This article contains multiple uses of the “b-word,” the term for a female dog which is commonly used to slander women.
- How badly do you want to call your neighbor a bitch? Would it be worth $200? Jail time?
- It doesn’t matter whether you’re a boss, bad, or just a bitch, State Rep. Daniel Hunt (D-Boston) doesn’t want you using the “b-word” to “accost, annoy, degrade, or demean” an individual.
- H. 3719 proposes that anyone who uses the word be deemed “disorderly,” and face a fine of $150 on first offense, and a $200 fine or six months or less in prison for subsequent offenses. Accusations can be reported by the person the term was directed at or by witnesses.
- The legislation, titled “An Act regarding the use of offensive words,” states: “A person who uses the word ‘bitch’ directed at another person to accost, annoy, degrade or demean the other person shall be considered to be a disorderly person.”
What are people saying?
Rep. Daniel Hunt, who introduced the bill:
“One of the responsibilities of all Representatives is to serve as a conduit for direct petitions from our constituents to the General Court. It’s a long-held tradition that gives every Massachusetts resident a voice inside the halls of the State House and a chance to raise their personal interests before the legislature. While this specific instance may amuse some and alarm others, it remains a important process for self-representation.”
- Takiyah White of Dorchester, who works in community services, told InsideSources that she asked Rep. Hunt to file the bill as she believes using the word should be a violation of the law.
“I hear the word used every day, and I’m hurt by it,” White said.
- Asked if she was open to the idea of the government banning the use of certain words, White responded: “Oh, yes. Simply telling people they shouldn’t speak that way is not good enough. At the very least, using that word is harassment.”
Arline Isaacson, co-chairwoman of the Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus:
“While I detest the use of the B-word and the N-word and the word fag, etc., I love the Constitution more and question the constitutionality of bills like this. The concern is specifically about the right to free speech, including speech that I hate.”
- Conservative political consultant Chip Jones told the Boston Herald:
“It’s a very, very slippery slope and at the end of the slippery slope is the anti-Websters, the dictionary of words we can never use. We continually replace the right and responsibility of people to defend themselves from physical and emotional harm with government intervention. When we replace an individual’s right or responsibility to defend themselves, we weaken people and society.”
- Jim Manley, an attorney with Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF), told Reason:
“As the Supreme Court has said there’s no happy talk requirement in the First Amendment You cannot ban a word when it’s used to annoy someone but let them use the word when they are using the word in a positive way. There’s no confusion about this point of law.”
What do you think?
Should more states consider a bitch ban? Why or why not? Contact your representatives (but don’t call them bitches), then share your thoughts below.
(Photo Credit: iStock / VladimirFLoyd)
U.S. Launches Airstrike on Iran-Backed Militia Near Syria-Iraq BorderWhat’s the story? A pair of F-15E Strike Eagles from the U.S. Air Force on Thursday carried out an airstrike on a compound in
by Causes | 2.26.21
Golden Trump Statue Appears at CPACWhat's the story? The 2021 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), happening this weekend in Orlando, Florida, includes
by Causes | 2.26.21
Final Day To Comment: How Should the USDA Regulate GMO Animals?What's the story? Today is the final day to comment on the regulation of the movement of genetically modified animals, including
by Causes | 2.26.21