CONCEPTS AND KEY IDEAS
Defining hate speech as any discursive act intended to intimidate, attack, harass, dehumanise, subjugate and humiliate individuals or groups perceived as non-white, this research focuses on the various historically belittled groups. What is what is at stake is the historical affirmation or reaffirmation of the inferiority of certain ethnic-racial groups vis-à-sis other groups seen as superior.
WHO ARE THE TARGETS OF HATE SPEECH IN PORTUGAL?
Populations of African, Roma and Muslim origin, as well as those perceived as non-white or non-Portuguese, contributing to the perpetuation of hierarchies between social groups based on race, ethnicity, gender, sexual and religious orientation or national origin.
Following a counter-hegemonic theoretical approach, we argue that racism must be conceived as a system of oppression and domination, historically constructed, and that is embodied in issues of power and privilege. Therefore, we stress the inefficacy of the thesis that supports that racism is a set of individual attitudes or prejudices.
The thesis of reverse racism – based on the idea that, by being universal, racism can also be aimed at white people – mirrors the ideological framework of Western societies. Considering that racism is a system of power, the thesis of its inversion is seemingly ineffective, in the sense that potential offences towards white people are not linked to any type of exploitation nor domination.
FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
The ongoing normalization of hate speech cannot be dissociated from the hegemonic ideological framework that characterizes Western societies which, based on an alleged liberal universalism, seeks to define the limits of what can and cannot be said and what can or cannot be called racism (Lentin, 2018). Thus, the dissemination of racial violence is hidden, on several occasions, in the freedom of expression thesis. Contrary to this tendency, we stress that hate speeches are not opinions, but crimes.
LEGISLATION IN PORTUGAL
In Portugal, there is no legal definition of hate speech, although these acts are defined and criminalized when they concern race, ethnicity, religion or national origin, by the Law n.º 93/2017 , that establishes the legal framework of prevention of discrimination according to racial and ethnic origin, color, nationality, ancestry and territory of origin, and which was published in Diário da República on August 23th, 2017.