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The freedom of speech law was made to exhort pluralism and acceptability in general public in order to bring them together. The law is also there to liberate people from the fear of speaking their hearts out about controversies and their perspective on sects, cults, and authoritative organizations that are responsible for officiating general public regulations. This in return would clear out the misunderstanding and confusions amongst people and bring them closer to each other. Albeit, this was the idea not understood by many, and people have claimed a groups or people to be racist, sexist or bigots. To give people a clear picture of privilege of free speech, American Civil Liberty Union (ACLU) steps in. The article “Hate Speech on Campus” created by the ACLU focuses on freedom of speech and opposes the idea of speech codes in academia. The article is based on what ACLU approves when it talks about free speech and what it disapproves, which is clarified through commonly raised questions about the ACLU along with the answers. The article is very informative and it has succeeded in conveying the precise idea about the freedom of speech in academia.
American Civil Liberty Union (ACLU) is a non-profit organization founded in 1920. Since then it has been nearly 100 years of tireless work that ACLU has devoted itself to. ACLU has dedicated itself to defend and preserve public rights such as, first amendment rights, equal protection under the law, rights to due process, and rights to privacy etc. ACLU works for everyone equally regardless of their sexual orientation, color, religion and mental or physical conditions. ACLU not only works to protect people that are not given their due rights but it goes beyond it by educating general public about what their rights are and what do they really mean. The idea of preaching people about the real meaning of their rights is exactly what drives the article “Hate Speech on Campus”. The article focuses on the First Amendment which talks about freedom of speech to everyone. However, ACLU tends to specifically aim to freedom of speech in academia and why students must be encouraged to debate rather than prohibited to do so. Furthermore through the vast experience ACLU has gathered over an immense amount of time, ACLU explains why restricting freedom of speech on campus is not a great idea. Moreover, ACLU elucidates any misunderstanding about their agenda on freedom of speech through responding a series of queries any reader would have. Albeit this article might shroud the kaleidoscope of liberty laws on which ACLU works on, nonetheless it is enough to give a taste of what ACLU’s authority and work.
Article “Hate Speech on Campus” has focused its base on the academia. Even though the article is centered upon college campuses and speech regulations placed there, it makes one wonder what their individual rights are and what is exactly permitted by the liberty of speech given to them. The article is very straight forward in defining the real meaning of the freedom of speech when it quotes “Where racist, sexist and homophobic speech is concerned, the ACLU believes that more speech — not less — is the best revenge.” This makes it crystal clear to the readers that the article although talks about the academia it focuses on the bigger picture of the liberty of speech. The article is captivating as the persuasion method that this article uses is not emotional but intellectual reasoning. The article provokes thought in people by disagreeing to general public on who they think should not have the right of free speech.
The overall public thinks that racist, sexist, or any other kind of speech promoting bigotry must be silenced. Although, ACLU thinks “Codes that punish bigoted speech treat only the symptom: The problem itself is bigotry.” which indeed is correct and as they build upon this idea in the article the root cause is identified and described to the people. Question and quotes are the soul of this article, with which the article has done great justice. The beauty of this article is that it disagrees with what we usually except is protected by the First Amendment such as when the ACLU writes “Speech that deeply offends our morality or is hostile to our way of life warrants the same constitutional protection as other speech because the right of free speech is indivisible: When one of us is denied this right, all of us are denied.” It makes one wonder what their rights actually mean and such unsettling words spark curiosity in the readers, which is simmered downed by the explanation ACLU provides later in the article. The article itself is very informative, thorough and interesting but the thing that would keep the reader captivated and determined on reading this article is the cohesive cognitive thought process on which the article is well constructed upon.
The article by its title “Hate Speech on Campus” is enough to understand what the rest of the article would be about. Albeit it is not about “what” but why is it specifically pin pointed and chosen academia that brings out the real perspective of what is freedom of speech. Any academic institution has the fundamental idea to educate students. Education has the basic purpose of liberating people from ignorance. The reason why ACLU has chosen it topic to be centered upon is if the students are not given the chance to speak their minds regardless of how hurtful their words might be the problem created through misconception or lack of awareness would not be solved. The reason why ACLU advocates idea of fighting speech with speech and disapproves speech codes on campuses is written in the article as “Speech codes are not the way to go on campuses, where all views are entitled to be heard, explored, supported or refuted.” To back its claim ACLU gave the example of University of Michigan and how in just a matter of 18 months 20 cases were filed by white students against black, which resulted in punishment to one of student.
To safeguard the right of students ACLU intervened and brought down the code as unconstitutional. Furthermore ACLU encourages the academia to exhort its students to speak freely about even the most controversial topics because it believes that bigotry lie in the mind not in words as the article states “Banning bigoted speech won’t end bigotry, even if it might chill some of the crudest expressions. The mindset that produced the speech lives on and may even reassert itself in more virulent forms.” ACLU supported this idea by stating that if students are not permitted to speak out their opinions, not matter how hurtful they maybe, they will continue to think those ideas private and correspondingly academia would loses it chance to educate its student on his/her misconceptions and ideologies. ACLU points out the case of Brown University on expelled its student for shouting racist nicknames, to which ACLU states that the University failed to demonstrate it power of tolerance and achieved nothing. ACLU quotes a critic in their article who said “Verbal purity is not social change.” Which is a great quote and ACLU does exactly this by answering questions that are directly pointed at them at the end of the article.
The article overall is very insightful which shows its concern when it states that speech codes only cures the symptom but not the disease because they only can restrict the tongue from speaking not mind from thinking. ACLU believes in smothering out any misconceptions in people before they reach a point of no return, the organization states “Besides, when hate is out in the open, people can see the problem. Then they can organize effectively to counter bad attitudes, possibly change them, and forge solidarity against the forces of intolerance.” The purpose ACLU picked academia is because students are essentially the future of their country if ACLU can correct their mentality about freedom of speech then the society in return would improve. This is the basic aspect which organization thrives to accomplish and expects the whole society to do the same by showing the courage to listen and correct any misconceptions by debate rather than quarrel.
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