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OPINION: Racist Speech Should Be Outlawed


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The American ideal has always been to protect the concept of free speech since the dawn of our country, even when the people are aggrieved by it.

At first glance, one may already see that in the past year our nation has encountered multiple scenarios involving riots, hate speech, white supremacy, travel bans, which many saw as religious discrimination, and much more.

However, at what point does one man’s freedom impede the freedom of another?

Hate speech is the greatest impediment to the freedom of speech.

Hate speech is defined as speech that attacks a person or group for their race, sex, orientation or religion. There are no limits as far as the Constitution is concerned.

Most people would agree that hate speech is indeed repulsive.

Hate speech breaks down who a person is, violating their personal character and how they view the world. Freedom of speech was granted along with the idea of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, which is what America stands for.

But doesn’t hate speech tear down another person’s happiness?

For example, yelling, “Go back to your country,” forces people to feel like they are restricted from even walking on this land of the free without being insulted for just existing.

How is that full freedom for the victim of this hate speech if they are personally being attacked for being themselves?

It puts them into a trapped space, as if they aren’t allowed to do what they want because of the insults they hear.

Not only does hate speech damage one emotionally, it can also damage one physically too. Not many realize hate speech could provoke people to become violent, as the world witnessed earlier this year in Charleston, Va.

This tragedy befell a woman named Heather Heyer, who lost her life in Charleston, when a white supremacist ran his vehicle into her at a white nationalist protest. Heyer was there as a counter protester, standing firm against the racists.

Heyer’s mother, Susan Bro, spoke at a service honoring her daughter: “They tried to kill my child to shut her up.”

She states how people use violence to enforce their hate speech and that her child had to pay with her own life for this so called “freedom”.

This incident has sparked a lot of attention to the question of whether hate speech should be limited.

Perhaps people shouldn’t be allowed to say things that are hurtful to others.

The consequences of hate speech are clearly evident.

The concept of free speech was developed during an era in which racism and sexism were commonplace.

In the past, slavery and segregation were legal. White men who owned land were dominant in society. Everyone else took a
backseat.

It’s time to update the First Amendment. We should urge our elected leaders to pass laws to this end.

This may sound like a radical approach, but desperate times call
for desperate measures.

Every member of society should be free to pursue their happiness without being victimized.

Frances Oyola is a freshman at Poinciana High School.

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OPINION: Racist Speech Should Be Outlawed