On Racist Speech

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C.R.Lawrence “On Racist Speech” Charles R. Lawrence III presents his ideas on the relation between the freedom of speech provided by the First Amendment and the racist speech that comes into direct antagonism with the first. Lawrence uses the Brown vs. Board of Education as an example to show that even despite the segregation seemed to be the main issue there; it was the message delivered to the people that made opinions differ. He shows that there is a controversy since if the racist expressions and speeches are forbidden, First Amendment becomes violated. However he refers to the Supreme Court that ruled by its decision that words that calls for breaking peace or causing violence and thus it seems possible to solve the case. It was also regulated by courts that public speech that can be avoided should not become a subject of regulation unlike the one uttered at one’s home. Thus Lawrence suggestions universities should guarantee their students an opportunity of having some public space free from any racist or alike expressions.

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Lawrence does not agree with the common argument that for the sake of society the rights of the minorities or small groups can be ignored and thus racist speech should not be regulated. He believes that this way we may compromise the freedom of speech and the principles of equality on the other hand. The author believes Brown case is an example of psychic trauma that may be caused by racist speech to black children. Speaking of university students, they fall under the possible danger of constant expectations of moral assault at them and this may be the reason for worse academic performance. Lawrence states that even courts often leave various speech issues unregulated which may be harmful in the opinion of the black and other people of color as the ideas that are most frequently brought up gain public acceptance. Finally Lawrence concludes that governmental arguments for leaving the speech unregulated are rather artificial and cannot be implemented. He calls to the lawyers of the black people who may go with a number of civil cases against the universities failing to guarantee the comfortable learning conditions for their students.

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