Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Argumentative Essay on Freedom of Speech

Argumentative Essay on Freedom of Speech

Often time’s people question what is ethical or not. What is ethical to one person might be unethical to another, and vise versa. This same belief goes with speech and the way we communicate. There are many words and slang’s that have a different meaning according to the person. With that said, someone should not be punished for a hate crime simply because we all analyze and portray speech differently. After reading both articles, my opinion did not change on the subject. If anything it just expanded into a more bias one. I thought that the article where professor Charles Lawrence III agreed with punishment of hate speech had insufficient examples and ideas on the manner. Therefore, I believe that there is no need for punishment.

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No madder what your background is or who you are, you have sometime in your life had to deal with some kind of hatred speech. The difference is that some people have had to deal with it on a usual basis. If the government were to start punishing hate speech, then everyone would be a victim. People would start pressing charges on anyone who verbally abused them.

Nowadays, people are suing others for pretty much anything, and charging people with hate crimes would have the same effect. Jonathan Rauch from Harper’s Magazine states, “Eventually, any criticism of any group will be ‘prejudice.’” This statement sums up the fact that words mean many things and basically anything you say can be offensive to anyone. For instance, if I were to go up to a stranger and say what’s up dog, how are you, then different views could be portrayed? One view, the view that I intended would be calling him/her the slang word “dog” which really means bro or buddy. But others might view the slang word as being insultive or abusive to whom they are. The slang word “dog” is just one example of how words are used and portrayed differently by people. Another reason that punishing hate speech is insufficient is that people might think someone is talking bad about them, but in all actuality, no one is. Jonathan Rauch gives a great example of this when he explains his story about being on the bus. I’m sure you’ve read it, so I’m not going to explain it, but what I am going to say is that this happens everyday. Even if you see someone laughing at something, you think to yourself, “huh, are they laughing at me, do I have something in my nose?” We think like that, even though the other person is not directing his attention to you.

Throughout this article, I have just given you a narrow-minded view about punishing speech. The article by Charles Lawrence III was not convincing simply because all he wrote were examples of how hatred speech have effected people. I already new that and for the examples that I haven’t experienced on my own, I surely have heard them on the news. The point is that he tells me what I have already realized, and does not bring up new views of why speech should be punished. He should have dug deeper and gave opinions that were not self-explanatory.

Speech is something that is vital for communication. It is something that we all can understand but is something that we view differently. We all have the freedom of speech and opinion, which partially makes us who we are. By taking away this freedom and punishing it, people would not be the same. Having different views on issues and subjects have helped Americans learn and understand throughout history. So by taking away this freedom, understanding different point of views would become non-existent, and therefore our mind would become narrowed.

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