Hate Speech Essay, Research Paper
Hate Speech and the People who use it
Hate speech; is this the type of speech that the First Amendment protects? Should this type of speech be defended? If this type of speech is censored on college campuses, have the students lost their right to the First Amendment? What kind of damage does hate speech cause physical and emotional? Who does hate speech affect?
Is hate speech protected by the first amendment? According to Charles R. Lawrence III, it is not. “When racist speech takes the form of face-to-face insults, catcalls, or other assaultive speech aimed at an individual or small group of persons, it falls directly within the “fighting words” exception to First Amendment protection.”(Goshgarian 382)
As I started to read Hate Speech on Campus, the first sentence is a quote from the First Amendment “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech.” The two words that are stressed from this quote is no law. Obviously the writers of the constitution were trying to protect the future generation from losing power to their freedom of speech. But, because of the vagrant misuse of speech that we have in the world today, has everyone looking for a way to censor it.
Should this type of speech be defended? No I do not think that this type of speech should be defended, because hate speech allows ignorance of future generations it also ensures that peace will never be an option. People who hate other because of their race, religion, or gender will never understand what life is all about. They will pass on their hatred to their unknowledgeable children. Hate speech must be controlled. I do not mean that people shouldn’t express themselves but maybe they could do it where it will cause no harm to anyone.
If this type of speech is censored on college campuses, have the students lost their rights of the First Amendment? According to Nat Hentoff, if we allow censorship on the college campuses the rights of the students have been taken away. Hentoff gives us examples of colleges that have censorship on campus but these campuses have taken the extremist route. They do not allow the teachers to teach the students what hate speech is and what they can do to protect themselves.
I believe that censorship of hate speech is necessary to a certain extent, for example hate speech that is violent toward others should be censored because if it is not that we are denying the students that the hate speech is directed toward an equal opportunity to an education. If the students are afraid to go to school that what good is school?
What kind of damage does hate speech cause physical and emotional? The physical damage is very apparent when the hate speech turns into the hate crime. When a cross is burned in someone front yard, or when walking down a street a person is assaulted because he/she is from a different race, religion, gender, or because of their sexual preference.
The emotional damage that is inflicted upon a person of a hate speech is very harmful. “Some of these students came to college as a means of escaping a life dominated by race-based discrimination but found an environment more hostile than they had expected.” (Marcus 147). If our students do not feel safe while at school they will not attend school, if the number of educated people go down at a high level we will soon have a society that is dominated by the uneducated. The overall effect of the emotional strain will result in high drop out rates and an uneducated society.
Who does hate speech affect? Hate speech affects everybody, including those that use it. Hate speech hurts the people that are being harassed. It affects the children of the people who condone hate speech, the children learn to hate and they don’t know why they must hate these people. The only thing that they understand is that the adults that they learn from are doing these things to other people so it must be okay to treat others in the same way.
There are many reasons to defend the freedom of speech, but because of hate speech the government is continually looking for ways to limit what can and can’t be said. Ever since the case Brown v The Board of Education the rights of people have increased. This case made sure that everybody had the right to an equal education. This case even gave rights to the handicapped children of the United States of America. This case continues to be a landmark case even for defending the first amendment.
How long has hate speech been around? I was thinking back to the bible and started to wonder about the religious wars. These wars were started because they believed in different entities. And the treatment of women in those days and even still today in some countries would be considered hate speech or in some cases hate crimes. So if we look at hate speech from that point of view hate speech has been part of our heritage. Over the centuries most of the people have been able to see the light and turn the other cheek, but the few that have not been able to do this will forever be left in the dark, they will never understand the true meaning of happiness.
I was searching the internet for information on hate speech and I ran across a story of a man who was very high up in the ranks of the Arian nation he was a true believer in everything that they stood for, until his wife gave birth to a baby boy. His little boy had a birth defect; his palate in his mouth was missing according to the rules and regulations of the Arian nation his son was to be erased from society. This type of action that would be taken to his son finally showed him that his beliefs were wrong. He left the Arian nation ranks and joined the fight against hate speech and hate crimes.
After reading this story it confirmed my belief that people who believe in these types of acts against others are uneducated, they don’t understand that it could affect someone close to them even a family member. Unfortunately it takes measures of this extreme to make them realize the error of their ways, but by the time they realize their errors they have already hurt hundreds of people.
If we continue to educate our children of the harm that they can inflict upon one another than maybe we have a chance to live in a peaceful world. But as we all know that will never happen because the ignorant people will also be teaching their children with the belief that they hold dear to their hearts. I am a firm believer that people should believe in themselves, but when what they believe in, is to inflict damage upon someone who has done nothing to hurt them in any way is wrong and those people should be punished according to the law. Hate crime and speech should be punished accordingly.
Maybe we do not need to censor the speech of others just control the damage it causes and judge them for the damage they have caused.
Goshgarian, Gary Exploring Language, Addison-Wesley Educational Publishers Inc., 1998
Marcus, Laurence R. Fighting Words, Praeger Publishers, 1996