Hate Speech Summary - Essay Example

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At the beginning of the article, it mentions the First Amendment to the Constitution, which allows the freedom of speech, religion, assembly, and the press. This is a…
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Hate Speech The article debates the difference between freedom of speech and speech that can be considered as a hate crime. At the beginning of the article, it mentions the First Amendment to the Constitution, which allows the freedom of speech, religion, assembly, and the press. This is a fundamental principle that the United States of America is built upon, although it can be considered controversial depending on what point of view you are coming from. In terms of the judicial system, most judges concur to the view that individuals have the right to express themselves in any way that they wish so long as the speech at hand does not put someone else down. However, there are those who say that speech should be restricted if it encourages hatred or prejudice against someone of a different race, sex, religious group, or sexual orientation. One example that the article uses is that of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor from 1987. Racist fliers were distributed that used foul language such as saucer lips, porch monkeys, and jigaboos. Many universities responded to this outrage by banning hate speech through the use of speech codes. The reasoning for this is that hate speech may encourage people to go out and attack certain individuals based on their ethnic or religious background. The article uses statistics to prove that the number of hate groups is on the rise in the U.S. Some of the major groups that it mentions include the Ku Klux Klan, neo-Nazis, and the Nation of Islam. The problem with acting against these hate speech groups is that it would be a violation of their First Amendment rights, which protects them from prosecution for any words that they might say about another group of people.
In my opinion, banning people from freedom of speech opens up a whole can of worms. This is because once you ban one group from speaking out, it would only seem fair to ban the next one, and the next one, and so on. Also, the matter of who is the authority to decide what type of speech is allowed and what type of speech is not allowed becomes a dividing issue. In fact, cracking down on hate speech could result in an increase of even more hate speech; this is one outcome that those who champion restricting hate speech would not want to see.
I agree with the views of David Cole, a law professor at Georgetown University in Washington D.C., who says that the restriction of hate speech would only take away the rights of one particular group only to give even more rights to another. This would be biased because it would be treated someone based solely on their views, which is what the restriction of hate speech is firmly against. The restriction of freedom of speech would ultimately make our society less safe because it would cause these groups to go “underground” with their points of views. This may even lead to more aggravation in society because views would be shared in an environment that was not conducive to free and fair speech. It is for this reason that I think that hate speech should be allowed as long as it is in a controlled manner and can be shut down if the views go too far. Read More
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