I live in Brazil and I grew up here learning in schools and educational institutions in general that verbal violence is a thing, that hate speech is violence. And when I came to Tumblr and saw that many people (specially people who disagree with sjw rhetoric) don't see hate speech as violence was really strange to me. As a gay man who lives in a abusive home with bigoted religious people who say all the time that lgbt people deserve to be beaten and burning in hell (1)
I can say for sure that hate speech can be extremely harmful to mental health just like physical violence is, too. What are your thoughts on that? (2)
They’re two separate things. Violence is physical and hate speech/verbal abuse/verbal bullying isn’t.
That doesn’t mean that any kind of verbal abuse or bigotry isn’t hurtful, harmful or seriously damaging, but I think that it’s entirely wrong to conflate the two.
If hate speech is violence, then a random person passing by a lesbian shouting, “Disgusting dyke!” is comparable to a random person beating up a lesbian, and that isn’t fair. Obviously the first hypothetical lesbian is more than likely going to feel upset, hurt and angry by the homophobe’s words, but the second hypothetical lesbian could end up in the hospital or even die.
On the same token, if a random person constantly spouts vicious, homophobic abuse to the point of a lesbian being forever psychologically scarred, it isn’t fair to compare that with a random person shoving a lesbian and leaving a small bruise.
The beating and the small bruise are both examples of violence. A single example of name-calling and long-term psychological abuse are examples of bullying and verbal abuse. They’re different things. Only the context determines if one is “worse” than another, as well as the situation that the victim of those things is in and their full personal context, too.
I think that it’s better to acknowledge that bullying is a serious issue and that it isn’t simply something that happens in school between children. A bully isn’t just a stock “Wow, that person is an asshole” character that we can dislike and then move on from, they can be vicious, cruel and leave long-lasting psychological scars.
We don’t have to pretend that verbal abuse/bigotry is the same as violence to understand that it’s serious, damaging and completely abhorrent.