It’s hard to accept that someone has the right to spout vengeful hatred under the Constitution. But even so, the First Amendment protects speech we hate to hear. Of course, you shouldn’t crash your car into someone who expresses opposite opinions.
The fact that hate speech isn’t free speech is something that’s been said for years, but in light of recent events, many just don’t get it (I’m looking at you, Republicans). Yes, they have the right to express themselves. Yes, they can threaten someone’s life. No, there will not be repercussions.
Because, by law, hate speech falls under free speech. People are allowed to say they hate black people, but as long as that Amendment stands, the most justice that will be received is backlash from people alike, maybe even a doxx or two.
This applies to Neo-Nazi’s, too. With white supremacy more prevalent than ever, white supremacists don’t get the treatment they deserve. Outing them not erase the fact that there are literal Nazi’s walking the streets, carrying with them a legacy of hating every race except white. But it’s free speech, right? They shouldn’t have to watch what they say just because special snowflakes’ are getting ‘triggered’, right?
When it comes to neo-Nazis, the right to promote their twisted thinking goes back to the 1977 case Nationalist Socialist Party of America v. Village of Skokie. Organizers who described their group as a “Nazi organization” wanted to march through the streets of Skokie, Ill., which was at the time a village where over half the residents were Jewish, some survivors of Nazi concentration camps.
The residents of Skokie argued the march would “incite or promote hatred against persons of Jewish faith or ancestry.” In the end, the Supreme Court upheld the Nazis’ right to march with swastikas, on the grounds that promoting religious hatred is not a reason for suppressing speech.
We need to speak up against this hate. It’s clear that with silence comes vulnerability, and vulnerability becomes ignorance. As the Supreme Court says, hate speech is still allowed in the First Amendment. You are an asset to combating this. Don’t let hate speech slide, watching people make excuses and say “well, it’s under the First Amendment.”
That’s true. They’re not wrong. But free speech has no room for threatening someone’s religion, family, life and getting away with it. This privilege was given to us as a way to express ourselves against the government’s reign, not so others can abuse it to their liking. We must try to keep protected speech from turning into acts of violence.