Hate speech—words or symbols targeted at a particular group or person that attack or intimidate them based upon sex, race, religion, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, or gender—has recently become extremely controversial, especially in regards to college campuses. Although merely visual or verbal behaviors, hate speech can indirectly and directly cause physical and psychological harms. Philosophers Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic delve into the negative impact of hate speech in their essay “Words That Wound”, detailing exactly how supposed expressions of freedom of speech can detrimentally impact its victims. Such dire consequences thus call for targeted and threating speech to be banned in certain spaces in order to sustain a safe environment for the majority of people.
The First Amendment of the United States Constitution protects the right of “freedom of speech” Bill of Rights, n.d., p. 1). It was designed to guarantee a free exchange of ideas, even if the ideas are unpopular. One of the most controversial free speech issues involves hate speech. Hate speech is a public expression of discrimination against a vulnerable group, based on “race, ethnicity, religion,” and sexual orientation (Karman, 2016, p. 3940). Under the First Amendment there is no exception to hate speech; although, hateful ideas are protected just as other ideas.
The ability to speak freely is written in the bill of rights and has been preserved for decades, but when free speech turns into hate speech it brings up the widely deliberated issue about banning hate speech. There are many different perspectives on the issue of hate speech. Author of Hate Speech is Free Speech, Gov. Dean and Law professor, Glenn Harlan Reynolds, applies a strong historical perspective on the situation arguing that people are “constitutionally illiter[ate]” when they make the claim that hate speech is not part of the First Amendment. Believing that it is impossible to ban hate speech because everyone will always disagree with any idea, Reynolds focuses on the problems with banning hate speech and what might happen if hate
After mentioning why racist speech is wrong, Lawrence comments “I also have a deeply felt apprehension about the resurgence of racial violence and the corresponding rise in the incidence of verbal and symbolic assault and harassment to which blacks and other traditionally subjected and excluded groups are subjected”(72). Putting emphasis on how racist actions hurt others is important for the reader to comprehend. Furthermore, the idea of free speech “reinforces our society’s commitment to tolerance as a value”(71). Gives choices to each individual to decide who and what they stand for, no more pandering and watching what others do. As a result, free speech brings community together as a whole.
looks at how it ultimately affects society and targeted groups. There are a myriad of arguments for and against the allowance of hate speech. Some citing Democracy and the first amendment others stem from the fear of eroded freedoms of expression and have valid points, but ultimately, it corrodes society’s human rights and freedoms. The two fold issue being intolerance of the freedom of self-determination and the fact that some are born a color or culture and have no choice. Therefore, hate speech is anti-social and damaging to society as a whole. While politicians can control the masses through society, they can always manipulate their agendas using such tactics against the population.
In the New York Times article “The Harm in Free Speech”, Stanley Fish argues that it would make no difference if Jeremy Waldron’s book, “The Harm in Hate Speech,” was titled “The Harm in Free Speech”. While providing an insightful review of the novel, Fish promotes the ideas depicted in the novel. Fish argues that American society is obsessed with using the First Amendment to say outwardly offensive statements. Fish asserts that “hate speech” is not simply expressing an opinion, but rather a way to belittle members of society a person deems unworthy. Americans hide behind the First Amendment and use it as a justification to spew hate speech.
Many people believe that the First Amendment gives the people right to say whatever they want but it’s not true. There is no hate speech exception to First Amendment. There are some kind of words which are not protected especially the fighting or insulting words or speech in which a person threatens to commit a crime that would result in death, serious injury, or damage is not protected by the First Amendment, instead First Amendment gives the right to fight against injustice, inequality and unfairness. For example Black Lives Matter movement, this movement has every right to express their feelings. The ways they are protesting are protected under the First Amendment.
First Amendment rights are guaranteed to all American citizens, but current free speech issues are testing Constitutional boundaries. Where must the line be drawn between free speech and infringement upon others’ rights? Is there some speech so cruel and so appalling that it does not merit protection? These issues have been raised by the recent activities of the Westboro Baptist Church. Based out of Topeka, Kansas, this small group of radicals is marked by their hateful views and their contempt for homosexuality. The Westboro Baptist Church has gained notoriety and sparked national outrage with their offensive acts, particularly by protesting the funerals of fallen soldiers.
The time in which we live is the age of communication and the speech or talking one of the important ways of communication and expression. There are different types of Speech and communicate, one of them hate speech. Hate speech means attacking a person or group based on different basis such as gander, religion, race, ethnic origin or nationality and disability. In the other hand, some of human rights treaties agree with freedom of speech or freedom of expression it could offend or disturb others so government of Countries placed laws of hate speech to avoid harms, troubles and problems. Over years Hate speech law became one of the most known laws in international law.
There are currently no constitutional limits on hate speech, even though many community areas such as college campuses have passed restrictions. Any law that restricts hate speech is actually unconstitutional as of right now, and to move forward with an agenda that would restrict speech in this way on a federal level is simply not supported by the Constitution. Attempting to pass a law that defines hateful speech and outlaws it would be a violation of the first amendment, as it would be very difficult to do so in a way that does not infringe on other liberties granted under the first amendment. Many of those who support hate speech as a first amendment right argue that hateful words do not incite violence unless that violence already existed, and would have happened with or without encouragement. This is a nice thought, and in a perfect world it would even be true, however, this notion is not supported by the massive amount of evidence showing violent acts encouraged by hateful speech.
Free speech and hate speech can be classified as different topics and when arguing for one, we can also criticize the other. Free expression and free speech on campuses are crucial for sparking important conversations about equality and social justice, and the suspension of free speech and expression may have dire consequences on college campuses. First, freedom of expression allows students to show their own political, social, and cultural views, while also allowing students with common beliefs to align. Free speech and the call for free speech allows those who have been historically systematically oppressed to use their voice.
In my interpretation of the First Amendment, the rights of the people to freely express their opinions, even if unpopular, is clearly protected. Specifically, hate speech is not clearly defined and may differ between people. Individuals and groups can disagree on if specific issues may be considered hateful. Advocates of, what some may consider as hate speech, will likely disagree that their opinions on an issue would be considered hate speech. Protecting all speech, including hate speech, should only imply that the government is following the first amendment to not interfere or be prejudice against anyone expressing their opinions if done so with regard to other laws.
What distinguishes a hate crime from any other crime is motive. In order for a crime to be considered a hate crime, it must be motivated by the group membership of the victim. Critics of hate crime laws have argued that they are unconstitutional and violate First Amendment protections of free speech, association, and freedom of thought. Opponents of hate crime laws refer to the Supreme Court decision in R.A.V. v. City of St. Paul (1992) in which freedom of thought was determined to be implied by the First Amendment.
Whether laws intend to limit the offensive power of a minority or protect a minority from attacks, either way rights are lost. In the words of Roger Baldwin, founder of the civil liberties union, “In order to defend the people you like, you have to defend the people you hate.” Roger Baldwin’s statement indicates that if we limit the free speech of one group we ultimately limit our own freedoms. The first Amendment clearly states the limiting of any groups right is unconstitutional, “make no law … abridging the freedom of speech.” The basis behind not allowing the government to define free speech allows Americans to create their own social order and among themselves determine what is acceptable.
We can’t misuse the freedom of speech, saying words that can cause serious harm (bullying). This form of speech will cause depression, suicide, and stunted social development. When freedom of speech hurts others, then it is not just an opinion anymore; it is a form of hate