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In recent years, in attempt to reduce hate crimes and to protect the minorities, many colleges have adopted codes and policies prohibiting offensive speech based on race, gender, religion and sexual orientation. While college administrators may find speech regulations as an attractive solution to all of these problems, experience has showed us that restrictions of free speech on campus create even more complications and confrontations between students. By adopting speech codes universities would only close the discussion instead of solving the actual problem. Furthermore, even if speech regulations werent prohibited by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, it would be impossible to enforce them fairly. I believe that restrictions of free speech would not only hurt the whole process of education, but would also put the future of our democratic society in danger.
In my opinion, expressing and discussing is the only way to solve a controversial problem. Speech codes have not stopped hate speech. They have diverted the dialogue from a focus on a fair society to a preoccupation with censorship ( McMasters 173). By restricting certain kind of speech we only be seeming to find a solution for the underlying issues such as sexism and ageism. Everybody, when come to college, brings with them the values and assumptions they learned while growing up in society, so its unrealistic to think that restrictions of certain kind of self-expression can solve the problem of hate speech or racial slurs on campus. As one critic said: Verbal purity is not social change. Racist statements, for example, are not the problem between the races, racism is. By barring racially based comments we refuse to identify the problem of racism and, as a result, are never be able to resolve it. The speech codes and regulations can only cure the symptoms not the disease and, therefore, absolutely unnecessary. If we do not allow open expressions then there can be no change or growth. Speech regulations are not the way to go on campus, where all views are entitles to be heard, explored, supported or rejected. Besides, when hate is out in the open, people can see the actual causes of the problem and can deal with it far more effectively.
Racism, sexism and ageism are not going to disappear without being addressed in higher education. Some people argue that speech regulations on campus can protect students from dealing with controversial problems such as sexism and racism. Mari J. Matsuda said that Hate speech shuts down conversations and keeps us from the important work of learning to talk across difference (153) Thats simply wrong. I believe that one the primary purpose of college education and experience is to teach student how to deal with real life issues, no matter how controversial they may be.
Education requires that all forms of speech are protected. By denying one point of view we eliminate the open discussion. Without the open forum for thought and the freedom to express ourselves college education is worth less. Any speech regulation can only limit the access to the world of ideas available to us and, therefore, can hurt the whole process of education.
Just because something is offensive to one person does not mean that it is offensive by definition. Furthermore, offensive speech is not a crime. According to the United States Constitution everyone has the right to express its opinion about the government and about each other. It actually protects speech no matter how offensive its content. In other words students, just like everyone else, have constitutional right to speak freely about anything. Speech that is protected outside of the college campus should be also protected inside it. Restricting the free speech in Universities can jeopardize everyones right, because the same codes and regulations can be used to silence people who defend the rights of civil rights workers or anti-war protesters outside of college campuses.
Freedom of speech is the spine core of any democratic society. I was born in the country where free speech existed only in theory. People of Soviet Union, through the brain wash and terror were taught to be silent. As a result, broken down economy, civil wars and poverty. By adopting codes and policies prohibiting offensive speech on campus, college administrators are not only silence students and refuse to deal with the actual causes of any controversial issues, but also jeopardizing the future of our country.
All of the facts that I have presented above prove my point that any form of regulations and restrictions of free speech are unnecessary, illegal, and dangerous for our society as whole.. I understand that universities are obligated to create an environment of mutual respect among members of the campus community. I also understand that it is difficult and often impossible to tolerate offensive speech. But as McMaster said, All sides must need its mandate for tolerance, understanding, and a search for common ground. In it, there is hope. It may be the only hope (176).
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