Free Speech vs. Hate Speech Essay

1362 Words May 11th, 2006 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…
According to the University of Colorado, many political jurisdictions have enacted laws that forbid destructive speech. These laws give the police power to investigate persons suspect of committing hate speech. If found guilty, the persons are tried and punished according to the law. Although many insist that hate speech should be illegal, the First Amendment still stands; the right of free speech applies to every citizen of the United States and if restrictions are set, then that liberty is taken away.
Even though hate speech can be damaging to the targeted victims, it still cannot be set to a standard or principle because it is hard to define what is and is not hate speech. Hate speech is so wide-ranging and vast, no limit can be set to regulate it. What some groups may consider to be hateful and demeaning, others groups deem to be their founding principles and beliefs. A study taken place at University of Colorado quotes, "Often, when hate speech prohibitions are in place, people engaged in serious intergroup conflicts simply refuse to talk at all, preventing constructive problem solving and allowing tensions to build." American Civil Liberties Union suggests the best way to counterattack hate speech is to not censor it, but to respond with more moral speech. ACLU goes by the principles that the rights of free speech are indivisible:
Restricting the speech of one group or individual jeopardizes everyone's rights because the same

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