Hate Speech Should Not Be Tolerated


Stephanie Duncan, Contributor

Hateful speech that questions individual identities should not be tolerated on university campuses.

In Thomas Fuller’s article, “Left Right-Wing Speakers Come to Berkeley? Facility Is Divided,” Professor Nancy Scheper-Hughes states, “Sexual harassment was an example of how certain categories of speech are illegal and that there should be further changes to the county’s free speech laws.”

The essence of Professor Scheper-Hughes argument is that our country needs to make certain speech illegal, such as hate speech. Calling certain races derogatory names is not acceptable in society and yet, to some people, it is still considered “freedom of speech.” Students should not feel threatened as they walk around their university campus because of an individual who has the ignorance to take advantage of their privilege of “freedom of speech.” Regardless of protest, hate speech should not be tolerated on campuses of any sort.

As a student walks around their university campus, they should feel protected, not threatened because they are afraid of being called derogatory names based on their religious identity. This has been an uprising conflict with universities in California. Recently at San Francisco State University, various hateful posters were hung around campus that made multiple Islamic students unsafe.

Jamal Dijani, contributor to the Huffington Post and Co-Founder of Arab Talk Show, states, “The posters, printed in the style of Wild West Wanted posters, target professors, students and activists from different ethnicities, including Muslims and Jews.”

In making this comment, Dijani gives a clear example of how people are abusing their freedom of speech.  These students have to walk around their campuses with posters that imitate the style of a wanted poster just because someone dislikes a certain religion. A person’s religious identity should not be a contributing factor in why students feel at high-risk of danger while on their university campus.

Racial slurs should not be tolerated as a “freedom of speech.” Unfortunately, in the recent years, this has been an uprising conflict on university campuses. For instance, Taylor Dumpson became the first African-American woman to ever hold the job of student body president at American University. Shortly after she was elected, someone placed bananas hanging from, what seemed to be, nooses around the campus.

In Sara Sidner’s article, “What It’s like to Be the Target of Racist Incidents on Campus,” Dumpson states, “I think the message that they were trying to send is, I shouldn’t be in the position I am.”

Dumpson’s point is that people do not want her to hold the job of student body president just because of her race. This goes to show that racial discrimination is still prominent today, even when people know there are limits that come from political correctness and everyday common sense. People need to respect their privilege of freedom of speech, in which racial slurs should not be considered one of those privileges.

A student’s sexual orientation and gender identity should not be threatened as they attend their university. Recently, the LGBT community has been growing on university campuses. However, students who identify as lesbian, transgender, bisexual, etc. are more at risk for harassment.

Kristen Renn states, “Of particular concern are student reports of harassment in classrooms and other learning contexts, of widespread cyber bullying, and of the amplification of racism and sexism through homophobic and transphobic harassment.”

Stating this, it is clear that LGBT students are at higher risk for harassment. An attack on a person because of their sexual orientation or gender is defined as a hate speech. So if a transgender or gay student is being troubled because of their sexual identity, then it is a hate speech. Rather than being overlooked as someone making fun of their classmate because they are gay, it should be taken into further action. A student who identifies as a member of the LGBT community should not feel threatened as they walk around their university because they are terrified of being harassed or attacked. It should not be tolerated as a free speech and no way be protected under the First Amendment.

Some people argue that their free speech is still protected by the First Amendment, so therefore they should be able to say whatever they want. To a certain extent that is understandable, people should be able to express their opinions due to the protection under the First Amendment. However, there is a point where “freedom of speech” becomes a “hate speech.” A hate speech is defined as a speech which attacks a person or a group on the basis of attributes such as race, religion, ethnic origin, sexual orientation, disability, or gender. Hate speech should not be, in any way, considered freedom of speech, and it should not be protected under the First Amendment. If a hateful remark is made about someone’s race, religious identity, or sexual orientation, then it should not be protected as a freedom of speech under the First Amendment. It needs to be considered a hate crime. As the way a hate crime is defined above, it is no way a privilege of freedom of speech.

Hate speech on university campuses should not be tolerated because it questions individual identities. Sexual harassment and racial slurs should not be considered a freedom of speech under the First Amendment. Our free speech is protected under the First Amendment, yet some people take advantage of it and make fun of a person’s race or ethnicity. People need to take a stance to make hate speech illegal. Students should not have to tolerate hateful speech made about them, especially when it regards their race, religious identity or sexual orientation.

Therefore, hate speech of any sort needs to be declared illegal so students will not feel threatened as they attend their university.