Censorship of ‘Freedom of Speech’

In Summary

In light of recent events, the question of  free speech in public spaces that are not tolerated by the greater public-speech indicating intolerance of certain groups of people- is in question for review. Already the ACLU has considered to change its policies regarding protecting the rights of those rallying, protesting, or marching with the active presences of firearm weapons. There are those within the greater public asking whether hate speech should be given a platform. Again, already there are companies censoring known hate groups and their various media sources. However, there are concerns about what groups will be censored and why. As the civil rights groups and companies are taking action to ban the platforms of documented white supremacist and nationalist, are they to censor just those well known hate groups or all others as well? The concerns of the public include the presence of Black Lives Matter movement participants and supporters, as well as Antifa gaining traction in the media as of lately. The association and concern being that black supremacist and the militant nature of the latter group are cause for censorship and public condemning as well. There is even a petition going to consider Antifa a terrorist organization. In light of this President Donald Trump has condemned both sides as racist and as thugs, though in only naming the white supremacist and nationalist groups. He labeled the non-white racists and thugs as ‘other hate groups’.

Here the questions are begged: Is hate speech free speech, or should it be considered for equal protection under the U.S. Constitutional law? Then what about the ‘other hate groups’ not traditionally known or condemned as regularly alongside white hate groups. Should they be censored as well?


In Regards to the Free Speech Clause

As it has been interpreted and determined, free speech is protected speech regardless if the speech is accepted by the public-minor or by the majority. Free speech is a protected right, so long as violence is not incited. This has already been decided by key court cases as follows:

Brandenburg v. Ohio, 395 U.S. 444. A KKK clansman during a public rally in Ohio made a speech to determine a goal or action toward groups of people not specified. The court ruled that it is protected free speech so long as a call for violence is not mentioned, though not prohibited if such speech is likely to incite violence.

Texas v. Johnson, 491 U.S. 397. Gregory Johnson protest against former President Reagan by desecrating the U.S. American flag. The court ruled that it is protected free speech to express opinions that are in disagreement with the public-minor or by the majority. And that the public taking offense is not a ground to either limit or to prohibit such speech.


Hate Groups

White Supremacist and nationalist organizations/groups are well known U.S. American hate groups. However, there exist ‘other hate groups’ not at all named specifically as they are unknown majorly. Here are some of the following white and black supremacist and nationalist groups that are considered hate groups:

According to the Southern Poverty Law Center there are nearly 1,000 active hate groups within the United States. The hate map provided in this link will reveal their location and, as well, providing the option to filter through all of those mentioned.

  • Alternative Right (Alt-Right)
  • KKK
  • Neo-Nazis
  • Nation of Islam
  • New Black Panther Party for Self Defense
  • War on The Horizon
  • Neo-Confederate

New Questions on Hatred

Hate speech will remain as protected speech, so long as violence is not cited or spoken by the representatives of the group. This right to speak is given to all, including those aforementioned ‘other’ hate groups listed. This means, so long as direct violence is not spoken or incited there exist no violation against U.S. Constitution and state laws.

However, the public is concerned about whether the presence of firearms, or other materials that may cause to incite violence- should be considered as protected speech still. Or as seen in Charlottesville, white supremacist and nationalist carrying firearms in their protest rally, while the Antifa groups carried bats and other materials in their counter-protest.

The debate among the public becomes petty as one differentiates the presences of a firearm being more so threatening than a person carrying a bat. The greater point being on either side of the debate is that violence was still incited with the mere presence of something militant, something hateful.ap_17222529170751

The question asked, then, should the mere presence that causes offense, which then may cause to incite violence should be permitted and protected by law?

As some others may state in the interpretation of Second Amendment rights- that the mere presence of a firearm (may include bats) is not a cause to incite violence. However, as the various laws may state about the presence of a firearm-that the person with the right to open carry, or to conceal and carry must be aware of the perception that they pose.

In addition, the public is concerned about corporate censorship in light of recent events. For instance, Facebook taking down some white nationalist pages. Or Pandora censoring hate music, usually white power music is cited and labeled as hate music. Or Google, taking down hate websites and blog sites. The reason supported by some of the public, being that it is not right to give such people a platform whereby they are to influence and to gather followers of the impressionable.

The question begs why are corporations, in this case tech industries in the business of online media, allowed to censor one form of content, yet not another similar? Then why are corporations allowed to censor at all?

As this article seems to suggest that censorship is relative to the political concerns of the state or individuals that filter and petition for the ban. As it seems that business as well have their own terms and conditions regarding freedom of expression, and so determines what is or is not allowed. Another example, Facebook censoring breast feeding mothers-classification of nudity.

Public or state petition to censor some content can be justified according to the respective state and federal laws. However, in light of recent events, as the petition in this case, to censor one form of known hatred over another is not just. A censorship of all hate group’s media sources should be the course of action. Though not to include the freedom of information to know of and to learn about them.

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Too Little, Too Late

President Donald Trump’s approval rating has reached an all time low-at 34% as of August 2017. The poll conducted by Gallup was a survey of 1,500 people- before the recent racial controversy present in the news.

After the recent news I can only read the following introduction of every other sentence and/or paragraph of a comment “too little, too late”. The criticism about his response is that it was too late that he has condemned white supremacist and other white nationalist. It was a major criticism during the 2016 presidential elections that the racism espoused by some of his followers was never dealt with properly. As well, the criticism comes after his seemingly late response, since he has time to watch popular television shows then to comment thereafter in the characterized display of his behaviors as the President. ‘It is a little too late’, the common consensus I have gathered.

Is this a fair criticism of his response, in time, considering that he recently made a response about the evil nature of racism? The event occurred a couple of days ago, he is only to comment now, days later. In comparison to former President Obamas’ speeches on similar incidents of controversy, I say the criticism are similar about timing. Both are criticized by those that oppose them for similar or equal prejudice perceptions of ‘doing a good job of representing our nation’. Some others, though they may despise President Trump, state ‘well at least he said something to not condone the thoughts, behaviors by racist’.

In reference to ‘too little’. President Trump did not say ‘too little’. In what he had stated was written down, displayed on a teleprompter, and seemingly rehearsed. ‘It did not seem like him’ according to those that oppose him outright. Once a president has loss the trust and perhaps a feel of being genuine, there goes the support. The public are in critic in how timely, the public is in criticism of what is stated.

Again, in comparison, are the comments fair? Once again, in comparison to former President Obama speeches, I will state that the comments are still similar or the same.


How does a president of the United States actually unite the nation? As I am too young to have experienced many former presidents. Though I was aware of former President Bush and his criticism as a child, then President Obama’s criticism as a teenager and young adult. I have yet to witness a president that dispels the division, unites the nation in times of dire circumstances and controversy.

How does one unite the nation? When the people who vote and voice their opinion are so divided that their criticism of one another, in opposition, are petty? That their criticism of a president is bound by party devotion, almost like a children’s club. In a time that it is needed most to bridge the gap, not to polarize, none are able to do so…

Thus the sentiment is reflected in their approval ratings. How then can the public judge any president that they have so elected, well a matter of discussion of how we elect them, as being a poor performer?

Monuments to the Confederacy

There is a heated debate over the public presentation of confederate soldier monuments decorated throughout the southern region of the United States. A dozen have been taken down in the light of recent vocal public outrage, which has caused additional outrage in itself.  NBC sites the Southern Law Poverty Center stating that over 1,500 monuments to the confederacy still remain. And the upset on either side of the debate remains as well, since the pressure to either keep or to remove the monuments is the decision of the government. What is the argument of either of the outraged? That the monuments to the Confederacy are history. Well they both agree that the monuments are both symbolic and important. What is the debate then? One side assumes that the monuments are a history of a defense to the crimes against humanity and the treason that cost the lives of over 1.2 million men [and women] union and confederate soldiers. A war that ultimately devastated the economy of the South, which then influenced the history of ‘race’ relations with its freed population of black Americans there after. As to where the monuments should be relocated, the majority consensus say a museum, while others say they should be all destroyed and forgotten. The other side, seemingly the direct descendants of confederate soldiers as well, argue that the monuments are history and should be honored and should remain. The confederate soldiers should be honored for their valor, for the act of fighting in a war. I’ve noticed that those that argue this point are those that support soldiers no matter if the war that was fought was just or justified in its subject. Their offense is that a soldier’s duty has been taken for granted. As well, they ask ‘why now?’ They are asking well the monuments have been present for well over 50 years or more. Why now is the public outraged of their presence?

The argument between the two sides is agreed upon by myself as well. What are my thoughts on the debate rather? I will tell my opinion as a person of several influences. I am a black American, a descendant of black American slaves. I was born and raised in the rural South part of north Georgia. I grew up on a road that was part of the Callaway Plantation Farms, which still remain in name today. I grew up on the same roads as my mother, grandmother, great grandmother, and great-great grandmother who was most likely a slave. My rural town is connected to a historic district town called Washington, GA. In that town I remember my kindergarten school tour to the Callaway Plantation house. As well I remember my time walking about the center staring at the courthouse and the large tree that stood before it. The tree has since been taken down. I always noticed the large tree, however I never paid any attention to the confederate monument that stands before the courthouse. As my mom would drive around I would definitely see it. However I did not know to whom it honored or what it honors. I was never taught in school why it was there. As far as I know I was not concerned, no one was concerned about its presence. Now that I am observing an outrage about confederate monuments, as an adult, my feelings towards the monument of my hometown remains, honestly, unconcerned.

Again, I am a person of several influences and one of my influence is my great interest for, and my study of, history. I have recently graduated with my degree in history, specifically about western civilization. On my personal free time I will read more, watch more, discover about the history of the United States. As one of my southern history professors stated ‘I like history that is told in my backyard’. What I have been taught, and what I have learned on my own, is that the preservation of history is important. As well the preservation of a history torn and destroyed is important. There is a great importance, then, in the matter of people making historic decisions about their history regardless. The fact that a racist society decided to honor the Confederacy with monuments to the soldiers that had died in vain, is a historic decision. The more vocal outrage calling out the racial insensitive that is reminded with the presence of confederate monuments is now history. And if our government decides to take down all 1,500 or more monuments in light of outrage will be recorded in history. We will, indefinitely, be reminded that the American Civil War was fought and Confederacy had lost. We will forever be reminded that this was an important battle fought. This is what makes history interesting. As long as there is a record of an idea and of its existence, we will forever be reminded.

With or without the presence of the monuments, we still have descendants of the confederate soldiers that regard the valor highly. They honor their history with decorated confederate flags as shirts, hats, bras, bumper stickers for trucks. They will forever speak of ‘Southern Pride’ so long as they have children to continue their culture and beliefs. We will still have a segment of the U.S. population to remind us that the Confederacy mattered to millions of people. And that their voice and beliefs is why the monuments were erected in the first place. We are forever reminded.

Should the monuments stay, then? I am stating, as an opinion, to regardless of the decision made by local governments, the history remains and is reminded.