The Revised First Amendment and Hate Speech

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“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. These rights are only granted if the person(s) and/or organization(s) do not preform or mention something that is seen as unethical, racist, and/or seen by a large portion of people as hurtful or hateful. Persons of high power and/or holding government positions are strictly prohibited from exclaiming and/or presenting racial and unethical remarks or actions.”

The First Amendment is one of the central principles that defines the United States of America as the land of the free. It presents us the right to do or say anything we want, without the fear of punishment or imprisonment. That is because there is a lot of, so to speak, wiggle room and grey area within the First Amendment. Looking at U.S. Supreme Court cases such as Texas v. Johnson (flag burning) and Tinker v. Des Moines (black armbands), we can see that many so called “violations” of the First Amendment are actual legal. That is due to the fact that, as previously stated, the First Amendment is written so vaguely and openly that it is free to interpretation.

Hate speech, in the revised First Amendment, would be illegal. Supposed “organizations” like the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) or the American Nazi Party (ANP) would be forbidden to practice their beliefs in public. That would include renting out public spaces to hold meetings and preforming demonstrations and parades in the streets. Racism is one of the main things dividing this country. There is constant unneeded tension because of it. Eradicating hate speech would open up a whole new world for a lot of people afraid of participating in common activities, without the fear of being discriminated against.

Because the First Amendment is open for interpretation, it allows people with unethical and racist views to preach their opinions to the open public. People with outrageously unpopular views abuse their First Amendment right to inflict psychological pain in people. Just the other day, a man in a black suit stood on the University of North Florida “green.” He held up posters that could be seen as derogatory to females, in turn, causing a large crowd to form. Many students, from the typical passerby to people that were visibly outraged by his posters, listened in on what the man had to say. Even though his posters might have created unnecessary anger among a portion of the student population, he was fully protected by the First Amendments right to free speech.

Under the revised amendment, this speech would be outlawed. There is no need for someone to be saying offensive things against anyone. They don’t have the right to make anyone feel insignificant or to beat down their morale for something they do or because of the color of their skin. Things like what the man was declaring should be kept to oneself, and especially away from the still developing minds of youth on college campuses. While it is important for us college students to be able to form our own opinions on controversial topics, we don’t need anyone telling us things like “Jesus hates (certain people).” It isn’t right. That person would be much better off having a real job.

A significant issue that does face Americans who are advocates of hate speech laws is who actually possesses the right to constitute what hate speech actually is. Racists, the main culprits of hate speech, are cloaking themselves in the vail of “free speech” to attack vulnerable populations. Social media provides how speech code actually backfires and hurts the very minorities that they are intended to protect. Social media networks such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are private companies that are free to ban whatever they deem as hate speech. But their attempts to do so has only added hatred between those in support for new speech laws and those who are not.

Even though hateful speech might be stupid, hurtful, or just plain wrong, if we deprive ourselves from the opportunity to hear it, we will also lose the opportunity to rebut it. However, this is a fairly dangerous game, as a person who is willing to speak “forbidden” words in the end might become even more popular. They would give inspiration and become role models to followers. In the United States, attempts to out shout or shut down speakers has only had a detrimental effect by only boosting the visibility of provocateurs like Milo Yiannopoulus for example in his speech at Rutgers University a few years back.

As a recap, the main purpose of adding “These rights are only granted if the person(s) and/or organization(s) do not preform or mention something that is seen as unethical, racist, and/or seen by a large portion of people as hurtful or hateful” to the end of the original first amendment is to prevent future violence between people with two different viewpoints. The racially fueled riots and shootings need to come to an end. And the only way to do that by limiting what people can and can not say. Individuals that are not in support of stricter speech laws may say that it would be hard to say what is supposed to be banned. In reality, it is fairly simple. We have dozens of other countries around the world, including our closest neighbors Canada, that have implemented hate speech laws into their preexisting laws. They provide the United States with a free, open templet on what laws should be placed and what punishments should be executed should those laws be broken.

While the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that speech that is meant to instigate lawless action is prohibited, it has failed to realize that hate speech is that type of speech that prompts outrage. With the revised amendment including “Persons of high power and/or holding government positions are strictly prohibited from exclaiming and/or presenting racial and unethical remarks or actions,” we can make even larger steps to limit what people in established government positions and leaders of corporations, and famous people in general can say. This is only because they occupy such stature and influence over people beneath them and they would have the potential to insinuate mass rallies and gatherings of followers supporting the same cause that they are. Presidents, actors, musicians, athletes, etc. would all be intensely scrutinized in what they say or do.

The revised First Amendment would bring about change all over the country. It would increase cooperation among all races and once and for all, united us as one as our founding fathers would have hoped for. Given that the United States is seen as one of the world’s last “superpowers,” it could even influence other countries like itself to reform their speech laws and promote laws against hate speech. This in turn might bring us closer as a world, maybe even getting rid of the risk of war between countries that were once hostile to each other. Presenting a new first amendment to the citizens of the United states would be a monumental challenge. There would be nationwide denial, as well as acceptance. But just as everything else, given enough time, people will conform and eventually adopt it for what it is. Prime examples would be same-sex marriage and the slow increase acceptance of legal recreational marijuana. The United States of today is not the same as it was more than two centuries ago, which is why a change in the first amendment is vital for the future of this country and the melting pot of people coexisting in it.

Cite this paper

The Revised First Amendment and Hate Speech. (2021, Oct 25). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/the-revised-first-amendment-and-hate-speech/

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