As stated by the constitution, the First Amendment applies that it is illegal to make laws that limit one’s freedom of speech or religion, yet where is can that line being crossed? Many people are capable of determining right from wrong, yet hate speech is still viable in the world today. Frequently on debate, one side claims that hate speech is covered under the First Amendment, while others believe it is both harmful and only causes problems.
According to American cognitive linguist and philosopher, George P. Lakoff, he states in his article, Why Hate Speech Is Not Free, “Like violence, hate speech can also be a physical imposition on the freedom of others. This is because language has a psychological effect imposed physically – on the neural system, with long-term crippling effects.” Essentially, Lakoff is imposing that hate speech can do the same damage as violence. For example, a racial slur can be as hurtful as getting slapped in the face. Continuing in his article, Lakoff states “… hate speech imposes on the freedom of those targeted by the hate. Sense being free in a free society requires not imposing on the freedom of others, hate speech does not fall under the category of free speech.” After reading Lakoff’s article, it seems that we can connect hate speech and fighting words due to the fact that they both can incite or bring harm upon others.
On the other side of the debate, hate speech is a form of freedom of expression which is covered by the First Amendment. In the court case of Matal v. Tam, the patent and trademark office denied a band wanting to be called “the slants” due to the derogatory term used in their name that can be offensive to Asian-Americans. The Supreme Court of the United States ruled a firm 8 to 0 decision in favor of the name, indicating that hate speech is covered under the First Amendment. The Supreme Court of the United States chose that it is important to protect the people’s right to freedom of expression instead of eliminating a term that could be hurtful to others.
In conclusion, hate speech is intentionally covered by the First Amendment under the case of freedom of expression, yet I believe that it should not be covered at all. Hate speech is crossing the line when a statement or action brings hurt and shame to another person or group. By allowing this type of expression, the constitution is essentially creating happiness for the bully or speaker. Why would you allow someone to hurtfully disagree with others in a free society where you are suppose to encourage other ideas? By allowing such harmful actions take place in our world today, clearly no benefits could possibly come from such commotion.