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The Incidents at the UCSD Campus - Essay Example

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The reporter casts light upon the fact that the racist sequence of events on the UCSD campus early in 2010 should not only be denounced but should not be protected under the First Amendment…
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The Incidents at the UCSD Campus
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The racist sequence of events on the UCSD campus early in should not only be denounced but should not be protected under the First Amendment. Freedom of speech is protected under the First Amendment in our country but there is a fine line between freedom of expression and hate crimes, all depending on the precise circumstances. When the actions that are taken can be seen as a threat to the lives of others, such as the African American students on campus, the perpetrators of violence and the causing of fear should face legal repercussions.
The incidents at the UCSD campus were not isolated events but repeated demonstrations of intolerance meant to instill fear, hatred and retaliation towards the targeted group. When looking at the occurrences and seeing the reaction of the perpetrators even after their actions were being denounced by their academic institutions and the public, the perpetrators continued to fan the flames by referring to the offended students as “ungrateful niggers.” This racially inflammatory rhetoric not only displayed their insensitivity but also was a provocation, which could have easily escalated into a graver situation.
The fact that a noose was hung in a public location such as the public library really takes these events to the next level and was inciting some type of reaction on the African American communities behalf. A symbol such as a flag being displayed in a public setting has a very different meaning than that of a noose and therefore these symbols should not be protected under the First Amendment. The history of nooses cannot be ignored. It has long since been a symbol of killing, death and lynching that African Americans were subjected to until only very recently in America.
The United States has a history of injustice perpetrated at African Americans and these actions should be condemned because they have led us in a direction that society has worked so hard at putting behind. The United States strives to be a country of equality and acceptance. We have worked hard to pass legislation that protects our citizens; a threat to a person or group of people should be taken very seriously and protected by law. Some could argue that the right to exercise free speech allows people to express themselves without censorship and the right to express themselves without fear of being punished. They would argue that this is exactly what has led to the progress and acceptance of African Americans in society. However, these threats were meant to intimidate a group according to their race and put students that were in an environment to learn into a hostile environment where they were repeatedly being targeted by hateful and racist messages.
The events that took place this year on the UCSD campus were not “isolated incidents” and the fact that some might believe that this is “standard-issue frat behavior” sends the wrong message about the thousands of fraternity members that are doing good things in their communities and are positive role models and productive members of their communities. I believe there should be zero tolerance for this behavior as it can lead to the alienation, humiliation and fear among the African American students. The hateful publications, expressions on the radio and the hanging of a noose on public property are hate crimes because they involve harassment and verbal abuse of a targeted racial group. The mere act of putting a symbol of hatred in a public location is not enough to warrant legal action but in this situation I feel that the perpetrators where evoking some type of reaction and the truth is that this situation could have easily escalated to something much worse than what it is. The acts of these students was racially motivated and it cannot be argued that there was any other motive for these acts other than to instill fear in a group of people based on the color of their skin. Read More
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