Should the First-Amendment free-speech rights of groups like the Klu Klux Klan and other groups that are seen as hate groups be protected? Why or why not? What effects if any could limit the rights of some groups have on all groups? What differentiates hate groups from other groups that promote the interest of a particular race, religion, ethnicity, culture or gender?
The first amendment of the American Constitution gives people certain rights to free speech. They were adopted to the Bill of Rights to help protect the freedom of expression of the Americans. However, there is a lot of question in the current on how the freedom of expression is affecting the equality of the society at large (Kendrick 3). The aim of free-speech rights as composed by the framers of the constitution was to protect the American citizens from political intimidation and retaliation. They allowed persons to express themselves without fear. With time, the laws have evolved to help handle the new issues coming up in the society (Kendrick 15). The government has found its ways to meddle into the freedom of speech. There are debates that the first amendment offers protection to hate groups. There is no clear understanding from the amendment on where the rights begin and stop. The hate groups have used these to their advantage to propagate propaganda and notions of white supremacy in the U.S.
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The hate groups have found their protection in making an offensive speech in the first amendment. No one should be blocked in saying what they think is appropriate to them. This protection of even what seems to be offensive to others brings a question of when the government should intervene and stop the hate speech group. There is a thin line of differentiation between hate speech and having an offensive behavior. As witnessed in August 2017, the white supremacists and the neo-Nazis in Charlottesville to have the supreme court be on their side. For a long time, the hate groups have been winning court cases with judges citing that the law cannot block a little speech that does not lead to hostility or amount to threatening behavior.
There are no clear guidelines on when speech should be protected. However, by looking at the first amendment, it gives a context to understand the extent of right and freedom of speech. The amendment holds that the ?Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech, or the press.’ This wording appears to give absolute protection to speech and free expression. However, with a deeper look into the background of the amendment, something different is seen. In the eighteenth century, the Americans were deeply influenced by the ideologies of liberalism and natural rights. The freedom of speech was held as a natural and inherent human right.
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