Free Speech vs Hate Speech Essay

1647 Words Apr 20th, 2013 7 Pages
Free Speech vs. Harmful Hate Speech Freedom of speech is instilled at the beginning of the Bill of Rights and it allows citizens of the United States to express their opinions without being afraid of what might happen to them, much like in other countries. Many times people are directly or indirectly harmed by others’ actions that are considered a right under the freedom of speech clause. Though, some people worry that if we do not allow for complete freedom of speech, it is hard to figure out what the limits are. So how can we distinguish between what is covered under our freedom of speech right and what is not if there are no limits? Freedom of speech is a constitutional right given to every citizen, entitling them to voice their …show more content…
In response, the Superintendent issued a ban on all such anti-religious speech. Ironically, the cheerleaders meant no harm, obviously the banner was against a school whose mascot was a Native American. The cheerleaders in turn, sued the school district to preserve their rights to free speech, which resulted in an injunction allowing them to display the banner. “Free speech prevailed, reminding us of the well-established principle that students do not shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate” (Mateer). In a case such as this, where no one was being harmed, an advocacy group came out and stated that the banner indeed racially targeted a group of individuals, when in fact it was not doing anything of the sort. Things like this will always happen, it does not matter if boundaries are placed on the freedom of speech clause or not, there will always be a way to get around it unless the government says “no one has any freedom of speech.” In this day and age, we are subject to many instances of harmful hate speech, even if it is not directed toward us. The current legal standing in the United States state that the government cannot limit speech on the basis of its content. Thus, speech cannot be censored because its message is racist, religious, sexist, or inspirational. While the prevailing attitude in the American judicial
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