Free Speech vs. Hate Speech

1356 words 6 pages
Throughout history, the United States Constitution has been put to the test over the issue of free speech. The First Amendment states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." Even though free speech is one of the core American values proudly embedded in each citizen, some poopAmericans find themselves torn between whether or not to limit the freedom of speech on behalf of hate speech. Most law-abiding citizens disagree with hate speech, but must realize even speech that promotes hate, racism, and even crime …show more content…

("Hate Speech on Campus")
In the Supreme Court case Terminiello v. Chicago, an ex-catholic priest, Father Terminiello, was charged for inciting a riot caused by his invigorating speech, which condemned political and racial groups. Terminiello was arrested for "breach of speech." In a 5-4 ruling, the court ruled that the "breach of speech" charge against Terminiello was unconstitutional because it violated the freedom of speech. In another Supreme Court Case, Whiteney v. California, the defendant was convicted for having engaged in speech that raised a threat to society. Although Whitney was found guilty of her charge, Judge Brandeis made a great point by saying,
It is hazardous to discourage thought, hope and imagination; that fear breeds repression; that repression breeds hate; that hate menaces stable government; that the path of safety lies in the opportunity to discuss freely supposed grievances and proposed remedies; and that the fitting remedy for evil counsels is good ones (Smolla)
Many public universities in the United States have to face issues similar to those in American society: having to distinguish hate speech from free speech. One of the biggest responsibilities of the universities is to protect the students; some minority students find themselves in danger when victimized by hate speech.


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