Tag Archives: real world

Hate Speech: Should it be Covered Under the First Amendment?

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.

 

Work Cited:

 

https://georgelakoff.com/2017/09/08/why-hate-speech-is-not-free-speech/

 

https://www.nationalreview.com/2017/06/slants-supreme-court-matal-v-tam-decision-protects-free-speech/

 

https://kids.laws.com/first-amendment

 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/volokh-conspiracy/wp/2017/06/19/supreme-court-unanimously-reaffirms-there-is-no-hate-speech-exception-to-the-first-amendment/?utm_term=.19520e18aad1

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Is censorship in schools an example of Obscenity?

Topic:  Censorship

Essential Question: Is censorship in schools an example of Obscenity?

 

The school system is very strict of what they can or can’t show you. There are all kinds of censorship that the the school system portrays on the student body. “Teachers, principals, and school administrators make decisions all the time about which books and materials to retain, add or exclude from the curriculum”. “As the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and International Reading Association (IRA) note, there is an important distinction between selection based on professional guidelines and censorship: ‘Whereas the goal of censorship is to remove, eliminate or bar particular materials and methods, the goal of professional guidelines is to provide criteria for selection of materials and methods’.” When a book has swearing or bad words in it, but it’s used for educational purposes does that make it obscenity? There were lots of books that were banned from schools all around America when it is really showing us students how life was at that time in the past. When teaching the english language we need to have examples of both the good and the bad. When dealing with American history the best way to teach us it not filter out everything. There was a time the Supreme Court considered whether a local school board violated the constitution by removing books from the school library, it was held that the right to receive ideas is a necessary predicate to the recipient ‘s meaningful exercise of their own rights of speech, press, and political freedom.  Most censorship of materials and restrictions are commonly prompted by public complaints causing the library board or school administration to be mindful of the importance of their neighbor’s religious values, moral sensibilities, and protecting children from offensive materials. So really the ordinary citizens are the driving force behind the challenges to the internet, information, and ideas. Even though there will always be controversy on school censorship, I know that it is an example of obscenity that needs to come to a mutual agreement in the future.

 

Us, About et al. “The First Amendment In Schools: Censorship.” National Coalition Against Censorship. N. p., 2018. Web. 18 Feb. 2018.How does the first amendment protect what teachers say in the classroom? http://ncac.org/resource/the-first-amendment-in-schools-censorship

“First Amendment And Censorship.” Advocacy, Legislation & Issues. N. p., 2008. Web. 18 Feb. 2018. http://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/censorship

Flag Burning: Protected by the First Amendment or not?

Topic: Burning the Flag

Essential Question: Is the burning of the flag protected by the symbolic idea of the First Amendment? 

There have been many incidents of people burning the American flag during heated protesting. Many people view burning the flag as expressing their anger towards the government. Many do this act not because they hate America, but because they do not agree what the flag stands for.

On the other hand, non flag burners view this act as disrespectful not only to America, but to the hard working men and woman that sacrifice their life to keep us and our loved ones safe. To answer the questions above, yes burning the flag is protected by the First Amendment and you are entitled to your beliefs. For example, student protesters in Northwest Washington burned the flag through anger of our president Donald Trump. They were looked down upon by their school administration, but no legal action was taken against them because their actions were protected by the First Amendment. 

Even though the action of burning our flag is protected by the symbolic idea of the First Amendment, you are not only practicing your right to free speech, but you are blatantly disrespecting all the lives of people who have died protecting our flag and our right to the First Amendment.

Flag Burning: Symbolic or an Action that should be Torched

You might not think about it, but the 1st Amendment is much more than the right to practice the religion you choose, it is much more than the right to freedom of the press, and it is much more than the right to freedom of speech. It is all much deeper than just that. Within the freedom of speech, you not only have the right to express yourself verbally, but you also have the right to express your ideas through actions. That is symbolic speech. Like most limits of the 1st Amendment, the limits to symbolic speech are very blurred and not completely understood. This raises many questions, one being is burning the flag of the United States of America protected as symbolic speech under the 1st Amendment?

The simple answer to that question is yes, burning the US flag is protected under the 1st Amendment. While this controversy still exists today, it has been around for a while. This idea first came into question in 1984 in the Texas v. Johnson case. Gregory Johnson wanted to protest President Reagan and his policies at the Republican National Convention in Dallas, Texas. To do so, he burned a flag outside the convention center where it was being held and was arrested when bystanders felt offended by his actions. He was being charged for ¨violating a Texas statute that prevented the desecration of a venerated object, including the American flag, if such action were likely to incite anger in others¨. Johnson’s defense: his actions were protected under the 1st Amendment as symbolic speech. After a trial and an appeal, the case moved to the Supreme Court where they ruled 5-4 in favor of Johnson. Their reasoning, ¨The majority of the Court, according to Justice William Brennan, agreed with Johnson and held that flag burning constitutes a form of “symbolic speech” that is protected by the First Amendment. The majority noted that freedom of speech protects actions that society may find very offensive, but society’s outrage alone is not justification for suppressing free speech¨. This ruling only applied to Texas law, so the federal government decided to enact a law that prohibited all flag burning, ¨with the exception of burning and burying worn out flags¨. In the same 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court voted against this law, ending its enactment. Due to that, the guidelines from Texas v. Johnson are the ones that we follow today regarding symbolic speech, although they are occasionally challenged. When challenged, the prosecutor (often the government) must prove to a court that there is sufficient reason that the action in question should not be protected as symbolic speech. This reason cannot just be that the prosecutor disapproves of the action and finds it offensive.

While not all issues with the 1st Amendment are always crystal clear, the issue regarding flag burning seems like it is set in stone, burning the US flag is protected as symbolic speech under the 1st Amendment. While many may not like it, it offers one to voice their displeasure over problems regarding the state of our nation through actions, not just words.

 

 

Works Cited

What do you believe should be censored in our school?

Censorship in school is very controversial subject that could violate our obscenity limits under the First Amendment, everyone has different opinions and there is a very thin line on what is acceptable to some and what isn’t. Obscenity can be defined as something you know that is wrong when you see it, based on community standards. There have been many cases where students believe their rights are being violated by the school for not allowing them to wear or speak on something they believe in. One example is the Tinker vs. Des Moines case where about 4 students wore black armbands to school to protest the war and the school told them to take them off or go home. When they didn’t take them off they got suspended and were fighting that their rights were violated. The court ruled that school officials could not censor speech or actions unless it was disruptive or hurtful to others and in this case a plain black armband did not. This case is a huge point for future students and knowing what is right and what is wrong in the school setting. On the other hand, there are many parents that are concerned on what is happening in our schools and if it is too obscene. There are many fighting in Mississippi and even here at our school to get To Kill a Mockingbird removed from our curriculum because it is seen as offensive and hurtful to children of a young age. This book is supposed to make you uncomfortable and initiate discussion on how these situations they went through in the book are wrong. Censorship should be based on the schools rules and if a parent does not want their child reading a book they should be allowed a different option but it should not be taken away for everyone. I believe that schools should come together with students and make rules about what is obscene based on the setting and decide what they should censor. I think if we all agreed we wouldn’t have problems with the First Amendment and what is allowed and what isn’t. In the end it is hard to come to a conclusion on these problems because everyone has different beliefs on what should be allowed in school.

References

American Civil Liberties Union. (2018). Tinker v. Des Moines – Landmark Supreme Court Ruling on Behalf of Student Expression. [online] Available at: https://www.aclu.org/other/tinker-v-des-moines-landmark-supreme-court-ruling-behalf-student-expression [Accessed 19 Feb. 2018].

NBC News. (2018). Opinion | Why do we still teach ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ in schools?. [online] Available at: https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/why-are-we-still-teaching-kill-mockingbird-schools-ncna812281 [Accessed 19 Feb. 2018].

STUART TAYLOR Jr., S. (2018). Court Hears School Censorship Case. [online] Nytimes.com. Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/1987/10/14/us/court-hears-school-censorship-case.html [Accessed 19 Feb. 2018].

United States Courts. (2018). Facts and Case Summary – Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier. [online] Available at: http://www.uscourts.gov/educational-resources/educational-activities/facts-and-case-summary-hazelwood-v-kuhlmeier [Accessed 19 Feb. 2018].

Burning the American Flag

Burning the American flag is symbolic speech. Symbolic speech is an expression of an idea that doesn’t use words. For example, Gregory Lee Johnson was convicted for desecrating a flag in violation of Texas law. The Court determined if his conviction was consistent with the First Amendment. The Court of Criminal Appeals viewed Mr. Johnson’s conduct as symbolic speech which is protected by the First Amendment. “Given the context of an organized demonstration, speeches, slogans, and the distribution of literature, anyone who observed the appellant’s act would have understood the message that appellant intended to convey. The act for which appellant was convicted was clearly speech contemplated by the First Amendment.” Id., at 95. If Mr. Johnson was disturbing the peace there would be charges. Since Mr. Johnson wasn’t disturbing the peace with his desecration of the flag there were no charges.

A con to burning the American flag is that the American flag is losing significance. A citizen could see flag burning as a threat to the United States. Barry states on web.b.ebscohost.com, “Our freedom is protected institutions, groups and individuals; the police, legal system, ambos, parliament, and trade unions. The treat to our society will more likely come from within unless we are tolerate, accept people’s differences, and treat all those who come to our country with respect and dignity.” Burning the American flag is disrespectful towards our country.

Work Cited

Brennan, William J., and William H. Rehnquist. “Court’s Opposing Views Create Storm of Debate.” Palm Beach Post (West Palm Beach, FL), 02 Jul, 1989, pp. 1E+, SIRS Issues Researcher, https://sks.sirs.com.

Illawarra Mercury (2018). Flag has Lost Significance. [online] p.pg 15. Available at: http://web.b.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail/detail?vid=1&sid=b9560f2e-626f-4f72-be1b-eaf4efe97c86%40sessionmgr101&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZSZzY29wZT1zaXRl#AN=SYD-63GPV4XJJUO173JML1EO&db=n5h [Accessed 14 Feb. 2018].

Police arrest protesters at flag-burning outside convention. (2016). [Blog] Sofrep. Available at: https://sofrep.com/59653/police-arrest-protesters-flag-burning-outside-convention/ [Accessed 19 Feb. 2018]. 

Praying Before Football Games- Against the Law or Not?

In a lot of places, they pray before football and other games. It has been going on for a long time. Now, people are challenging if this is going against the law. The 1st Amendment gives people freedom of speech and religion. How people interpret that leads to conflict on this issue.

The football team in Dumore has prayed before games for a long time (read more here). They are now told they can’t and are not happy about it. They can’t pray before the game anymore because they were told it’s against the law as public teacher and coaches should not be involved in leading religious acts. The 1st Amendment says freedom of religion. Some people think that means that people should be free to pray if they want. The other side thinks that means students can choose to pray, but it can’t be led by staff because it goes against the separation of church and state. If people from a different religion or belief were there, they could feel pressured to just follow along or be treated differently.

In conclusion, students can still pray if they want, but the 1st amendment makes it so people can be free to practice their own religions how they want to and not how the school tells them to.(read more here)

Works Cited:

“PRO/CON…Should sports teams be allowed to pray before games?” October 18, 2012 by Amy Ayala from King’s Courier

http://www.ecrjournalism.com/opinioneditorial/2012/10/18/procon-should-sports-teams-be-allowed-to-pray-before-games/

“When Faith and Football Don’t Mix” by Ken Paulson October 23, 2012

http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2012/10/23/football-texas-religion-prayer/1653057/

“Prayer Before Football Game Ruled Against The Law” by Stacy Lange 11/4/2016

wnep.com/2016/11/04/prayer-before-football-game-rule-against-the-law/