I hate to break it to you, but hate speech is inseparable from people’s right to free speech under the First Amendment.
But, there are some limitations. For example, you cannot advocate for lawless action or incite harm onto someone.
People are entitled to their feelings and opinions, but they are not entitled to strip away someone else’s right to free speech just because they disagree with what was said.
It is difficult to regulate hate speech because people define hateful and offensive speech differently, especially across different cultures and ethnic and religious backgrounds. The subjectivity of hate speech makes it hard to truly determine what is punishable.
Censoring what some individuals identify as hate speech is the beginning of the infringement on the right to freedom of speech. Our democracy is dependent on individuals having the liberty to use their voices to express themselves.
There is a difference between hate speech and hate crimes. It is not a crime for someone to hate you because of your race. But, if they threaten violence against you because of your race, then it becomes a crime.
Last fall semester, I attended a Campus Clash event at Long Beach State, which was hosted by Turning Point USA, a non-profit conservative organization that educates students about free markets, limited government and fiscal responsibility.
Some students protested outside the venue because they were unhappy that conservative speakers Charlie Kirk and Candace Owens appeared on campus.
The protestors had every right to label the speakers of the event as “fascists” among other things, even if those statements were not true. It is their opinion.
I noticed the protestors felt that Turning Point USA should not have the right to peacefully assemble and speak at CSULB, because they deemed its message as hate speech. But, at the same, the protestors were engaging in “hateful” dialogue about the speakers.
No violence occurred at the event, but if it did then the rights for students to assemble would have been revoked, according to an email sent to students before the event from President Jane Close Conoley.
This brings up an interesting question about how hate speech should be regulated. In other words, who should be silenced?
It would be unfair for Turning Point USA to lose its privilege to assemble if its message provoked protestors to engage in violent acts against the attendees. In this scenario, the protestors should lose their right to assemble, because they chose to be violent.
If it had been the other way around, then Turning Point USA supporters who became violent toward protestors should lose their privilege to assemble.
Diversity of thought is important to discourse. It is difficult for individuals to grow in their understanding of others if they are not willing to have an open mind. People come from different backgrounds, which means there is plenty of room for disagreements.
We need to be careful in what we label as hate speech.
The Ku Klux Klan is a great example of a group that is not beneficial to society because their beliefs are rooted in hate and violence. Now compare this to people labeling Turning Point USA as hateful just because of its conservative beliefs.
Hate speech goes against my beliefs, we should always love and respect each other, but that is not enough of a reason to censor it and take away someone’s freedom of speech.