Sticks and Stones
Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.
This is an expression which was commonly used by children in response to bullying but it is generally untrue.
Hurtful words can continue to hurt even longer than physical hurts.
This is why Samaritans opposes proposed changes to the Racial Discrimination Act which will weaken protection against racist abuse.
There is a fundamental belief in liberal philosophy that the state should limit the freedom of its citizens if this is needed to prevent harm to others.
In this situation, freedom of speech should never mean freedom to abuse on the basis of race.
The Federal Attorney-General has asserted that “people have a right to be bigoted”. This may be so but we should ensure limits to the expressions of bigotry through the Racial Discriminations Act.