Hate speech is bad, but important

The world seems to have a lot to say lately, and thanks to social media, they can say whatever they want. I mean, it’s America, land of the free, right? Obviously, everyone has an opinion, but I have recently heard many people critique what seem the more controversial opinions, for example the opinions of those who marched in Charlottesville.
The US has luckily been guaranteed free speech by the first amendment of our Constitution, which lets any protester or Donald Trump critic tweet and say whatever they want. With this week being Constitution Week and hate speech being a hot topic in today’s society, the real question is: should hate speech be considered free speech?
My answer is yes.
While I do agree that hate speech is vile and disgusting, we need hate speech. Without the right to spew hatred in any direction possible, the public wouldn’t be able to distinguish those with decent morals from those who are stupid enough to reveal how close-minded and ill informed they truly are.
As a reporter, I have heard countless times from my professor that our duty is to be watchdogs. Those who use their first amendment rights for hate speech must be watched and accounted for. That way, we are aware who may be teaching our children, running our country, or even doing our taxes. Revealing those who sponsor hate speech is our duty.
Also, if we begin to ban hate speech, who gets to decide what qualifies? And if that job really does exist, maybe I should apply.
Variations on the definition of hate speech and different ideas of what would be considered hate speech may become a setback for those who are looking to put limitations to our first amendment. For example, I love puppies. As the hate speech prosecutor, I can decide that anyone who says a puppy isn’t cute will receive a jail sentence (which is well deserved). While that may seem a bit extreme, my point is that if we begin to restrict our free speech, where do we stop?
The only way to have an effect against hate speech, at least in my opinion, is to refuse to give those who speak hatred the time of day. They only speak their opinion because they think it matters, but little do they know, the world will continue to turn and no skin color or sexuality will change because they wish it. Bullies simply want attention, so I say we don’t give it to them. The haters are gonna hate, but maybe they’ll be a little more quiet about it next time when they realize their words are irrelevant.

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1 Response

  1. Your slippery slope argument doesn’t work because we already have a definition for hate speech.

    “Hate speech is speech which attacks a person or group on the basis of attributes such as race, religion, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, disability, or gender.”

    Enforcement would not be at the whim of the person in charge. It would be based on a legal definition which I can assure you would not be that arbitrary

    On top of that hate speech is not a protected form of speech in Canada and many democratic countries in Europe and nobody is getting arrested for hating dogs.

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