Free Speech vs Hate Speech

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<p style=”text-align:justify”>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; Free speech and hate speech are two closely knit terminologies. Distinguishing one from the other has proved to be a daunting task for the vast majority of the population. This ambiguity is brought about by the failure of the statutes to draw clear-cut guidelines to distinguish one from the other. In the United States of America for example, one is able to make any utterances which might be taken to amount to hate speech but these words are protected under the law. Freedom of speech is one of the fundamental rights of every citizen and the First Amendment was enacted to ensure that this right was protected thus bringing about free speech.</p>
<p style=”margin-bottom:0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt;text-align: justify;text-autospace:none”>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; In the recent past, protection of this fundamental right to speech has led to the incitement to violence. The utterances that are made or the imagery or posts that have been published have been deemed to have hateful connotations which spark emotional responses. These utterances are referred to hate speech. Due to the loophole in the law, various individuals have been perpetuating hateful messages across the globe. A major ramification of hate speech is usually violence. During this violence, innocent lives are often lost and in other instances property of unknown value is destroyed. Some of the classical examples of the ramifications of hate speech include the Holocaust during the Nazi regime where close to 6 million Jews were massacred. The other example includes the Rwandan genocides where thousands of people were massacred due to incitement to violence by tribal chiefs.</p>
<p style=”margin-bottom:0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt;text-align: justify;text-autospace:none”>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; The statements that leaders make often carry a lot of weight due to the number of people who are influenced by them. In present America, the current president, Donald Trump has been a deemed as one of the perpetrators of hate speech. Some of the utterances against the Muslim community or against the Mexicans are usually hateful. Nonetheless, he can take refuge on the provisions of the First amendment that protects his freedom of expression. the president was quoted claiming that the Mexicans who resided in the United States were rapists and also criminals, therefore, needed to be deported. Another controversial statement that was hateful related to his accusation that the Americans who had Arabian descent celebrated the 9/11 attack (&quot;Donald Trump: Free Speech V Hate Speech – BBC News&quot;).</p>
<p style=”margin-bottom:12.0pt;text-align:justify;text-indent: .5in;background:white”>Most of the posts, utterance, and images that intend to ridicule the religion of a certain group of people are protected under law within the United States of America. The First Amendment accords this protection under the pretext of free speech. The people who are often on the receiving end of this ridicule often have mixed emotions when these utterances or images manifest themselves. Some people who have felt aggrieved have resorted to venting their rage whereas others have decided to take the lives of innocent civilians as retaliatory measures after being offended. With as much as some of the images and utterances may have offended a faction of the society does not justify taking matters into their hands and the various religious leaders need to come out strongly and shun these inhumane reactions.</p>
<p style=”margin-bottom:12.0pt;text-align:justify;text-indent: .5in;background:white”>All the members of the society need to tolerate each other&#39;s divergent views in order to maintain peace and good relations. With as much as the American citizens have the constitutional right to free speech, they should ensure that they do not overstretch their right and commit bigotry. A case in point was the Muhammad Art Exhibit and Context in Garland, Texas. Thousands of people converged at the art exhibition under the pretense of promoting Muhammadan art but in real sense, they were there to post hateful remarks and malicious art towards Muhammad who is the most prolific prophet in the Islamic religion (&quot;Free Speech vs. Hate Speech&quot; -Nytimes).</p>
<p style=”margin-bottom:12.0pt;text-align:justify;text-indent: .5in;background:white”>The repercussions that came after that wanton disregard of the Islamic religion was the massacre of some French journalists that worked at Charlie Hebdo which was famously known for its weekly satire (&quot;Free Speech vs. Hate Speech&quot; -Nytimes).&nbsp; The satire ranged from politics, economy to religion. Two men took credit for the massacre and stated that it was to serve as a lesson to many who wanted to defame their religion. This incident sparked heated debates on the thin line between free speech and hate speech that incites people to violence (&quot;Free Speech vs. Hate Speech&quot; -Nytimes).</p>
<p style=”margin-bottom:12.0pt;text-align:justify;text-indent: .5in;background:white”>There is also another individual known as Pamela Geller who is always leading Anti-Islam campaigns. She openly declares her hatred towards the Muslim community and she often engages in activities that seek to curtail the spread of Islam. One of the campaigns she was leading was subjected to a botched assassination attempt courtesy of some prompt reaction by a law enforcement agency to gun down two Muslims who intended to attack the venue where the campaign was held (&quot;Free Speech vs. Hate Speech&quot; -Nytimes).</p>
<p style=”text-align:justify;text-indent:.5in”>In conclusion, with as much as some of the utterances that are state might not amount to hate speech, leaders need to take it upon themselves to refrain from making statements that might illicit hateful emotions. Leaders are often deemed to be symbols of unity and should, therefore, foster harmony and unity among everyone within the society regardless of their social status, race, ethnicity, religion or gender. The general public should also avoid bigotry and respect the divergent views that people hold. It is through this mutual respect that people would be able to live in harmony. Hate speech erodes not only the social structure but also the moral and ethical ones. It is a backward ideology that should be avoided at all cost in the 21st Century where the whole world is a global village.</p>

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