In recent months, an advertisement was put up in the New York Subway system that read, “In a war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad.” This advertisement raised much controversy even before it filled 400 different subway stations. Although at first the New York Transportation Authority rejected the advertisement, it was still protected under the First Amendment of the Constitution.
Not only is the advertisement biased, it is also extreme and hateful. Referring to this advertisement directly, the words are of pure ignorance, hatred, and fear. Although the First Amendment is used to back up these hateful postings, I am left wondering; when does it become too much? When is it decided and by whom is it decided that freedom of speech could also become the freedom of hate?
Under the First Amendment, anyone’s opinions are protected. Hate groups trying to undermine minority groups and religion abuse the luxury of the freedom of speech. They feel as if there are no legal consequences to hate speech. However, a combination of words that insult or dehumanize a group of people has a pretty high chance of disrupting the peace of the society and sheds a negative light on those being attacked as well as on those doing the attacking.
While looking into this topic some more, I thought that it was interesting that the United States does not have a law forbidding hate speech while countries like the United Kingdom and Canada do. In a generation and time where hateful words and speech can instigate distress and unrest in society, a law forbidding hate speech seems essential.
With all this being said, we are given the freedom of saying what we want when we want which is a true blessing.
Speech is free. Use it wisely and carefully.