Hate Speech

1536 Words Apr 12th, 2006 7 Pages
Hate Speech Essay

In the first amendment of the United States constitution, American citizens are guaranteed the right to free speech. This is a fundamental right of American law, and one of the foundations of the U.S. Constitution. It is also the breeding ground for one of the most widely debated issues in America: What, if any, measures should be put into place to regulate hateful language? Most people will agree under one definition or another that hate speech is a socially deviant activity and worthy of some form of punishment. However, each person's definition of hate speech is different from the next. Some might say that there is no such thing as hate speech, and that because of the first amendment any and all speech should be
…show more content…
constitution to say it. However, there is a difference between these two types of viewpoints, as to the level and scale that their views can be expressed. For example, if a civil rights leader makes a speech at a rally about equality and human justice, he is contributing positively to the crowd at hand and spreading a larger statement of peace to the community. This sends a positive moral message to those involved. On the other hand, if a white supremacist speaks at a rally and spreads a message of hate and violence and in doing so inspires people to act in a hateful and violent way, then that person has committed an immoral act by inspiring other people to act immorally. If you consider these examples in a historical sense, one could make the same observations about Gandhi and Hitler. Both had

extremely powerful messages that were spread to a large amount of people, though one inspired people to act and live in peace, while the other inspired people to discriminate and kill. When a persons' words cross the line from general speech into inspiring other people to action, the effect of those words becomes much more important, and in the event that they inspire people to act immorally, the person who has incited them into action has broken the law. However, this does not mean that said individual does not have the right to express their views, legally.
Because there is nothing illegal about speaking, no words will ever be illegal to say in the U.S. When
Open Document