Freedom Of Speech Vs Hate Speech

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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.” Freedom of Speech is one of the core values that is proudly embedded in Americans. Although, some people wonder if there should be limits to this right that Americans have, Freedom of Speech. Many citizens are against different forms of hate speech, yet still understand that hate speech is protected under the first amendment. Hate speech is a way for people to express themselves and defend what they believe in. If the United States were to put …show more content…
People have the right to be able to express themselves through hate speech. As the first African-American Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall stated in the 1974 Supreme Court Case Procunier v. Martinez, “ The First Amendment serves not only the needs of the polity but also those of the human spirit- a spirit that demands self-expression.” (Smolla 615) Being the first African-American on the Supreme Court, Justice Thurgood Marshall knows himself, what it feels like for people to offend and insult you because of your race. Although, it was not easy for Justice Thurgood Marshall, he proved others wrong and strongly believed and appreciated the First Amendment and the right to Freedom of Speech. Justice Marshall would consistently defend Americans rights to freedom of speech, and strongly believed that every American should have the right to express themselves in different ways. As Rodney Smolla claimed, “Freedom of Speech is intimately linked to Freedom of thought, to that central capacity to reason and wonder, hope and believe, that largely defines our humanity.” (Smolla 615) Freedom of speech is essential to humanity. It helps us to grow as a …show more content…
According to the American Bar Association, hate speech is speech that “offends, threatens, or insults groups”. This definition is far too broad, and the meaning of words can change depending on the person’s perspective. For example, some people may find it insulting if you call them a “nerd”, they may find it offensive and feel like you are calling them a socially awkward math or science geek. On the other hand some may take it as a compliment, they may agree and say yes, I am very smart and good at math or science. In other words, Smolla states that, “This is not to say that in some simplistic sense everybody in America believes in freedom of speech, and it is certainly not to say that everybody in America believes that freedom of speech means the same thing.” (Smolla 615) Everyone interprets the constitution in his or her own way. One thing all Americans believe in is the First Amendment and the right to freedom of speech. However, some American’s believe there should be restrictions to that right while others disagree. Elizabeth Nolan Brown also states that, “hate speech is not narrowly defined, it’s up to those in power to decide what qualifies as hade and what doesn’t. That often depends on who the speaker is and who has powerful people’s sympathies.” (How Hate Speech Laws Actually Work) It is nearly impossible to put restrictions on something such as hate

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