Free Speach Essay

943 words - 4 pages

How can you define free speech? Does free speech include free inquiry? Can one determine or prevent what can be or can't be written, spoken, or thought? How can such a broad and sensitive topic be discussed without offending someone? There have been many discussions across North America about what can and can't be said or used without a race, gender, or someone's sexuality being offended. Although many people can be offended by free speech, our society would not have progressed as fast as it has without it. Free speech is a building block to our learning and development as students and as a society as a whole. I believe that regulating free speech is a step backwards in the fast-growing society we live in today. With reading both essays, Hentoff and Lawrence, I believe the stronger case and more intelligent outlook is to have free speech on campus and in the lifestyles we live in today.Hentoff's essay "Free Speech on Campus" deals with real life situations and how our society dealt with the problems that occurred in universities across North America. For example, a professor in Philadelphia named Murray Dolfman was exiled from the university for one year. In his attempt to protect and fight levels of racism he offended many Black and Jewish students by calling them ex-slaves. In Dolfman's defense he states, "You're better equipped to fight racism if you know all about those post-Civil War amendments and civil rights." (Hentoff 34) Dolfman had the right intentions and idea, but in this society anything that has the potential of someone taking offense to, they will. With Hentoff's advice it educates and better equips society to fight any racism or prejudice that may present itself. In every discussion there are always two sides and Charles R. Lawrence is one who is for regulating free speech on campus.Lawrence writes on "Regulating Racist Speech On Campus" which in theory has a positive solution and a better outlook on society. He believes in equal educational opportunities, he tries to show how verbal and visual assaults hurt everyone not only the victims, and finally he thinks minorities are shown as second class citizens. Although his essays make many good points with protection for all students and give equal rights to all, he takes one major right as students which is personal space or privacy.Privacy must be an issue when talking about free speech. If regulations are put into place, they will not be enforced in a conversation behind closed doors. Therefore anyone can speak their mind as long as no one around will be offended. This law of regulating free speech cannot be enforced like the laws today. For example, if a murder was to take place behind closed doors, law enforcement will be there to deal with the matter and justice will be...

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