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Word Count 755 Our early ancestors left the control of Great Britain for the right of equality yet time and time again over the past 200 years the equality of American citizens has been questioned We now have many laws forbidding the harm of racial and ethnic minorities but is hate speech considered harmful Before we can determine if hate speech is harmful we should decide what is exactly hate speech Congress defines it as a crime in which the defendant intentionally selects a victim or in the case of a property crime the property is the object of the crime because of the actual or perceived race color national origin ethnicity gender disability or sexual orientation of any person Most people agree with this definition of hate speech but their opinions on how to treat it differ One group believes that the answer to hate speech is more speech this group believes that hate speech is protected by the first amendment Another group believes that hate speech is harsh and threatening and is a violation of the fourteenth amendment American Government p416 This group believes that restrictions should be put on the first amendment Some scholars believe hate speech will only continue if the Supreme Court continues its hands-off approach to monitor hate speech The girlfriend of Benjamin Smith a previous hate criminal said in an interview for the New York Times people really need to pay more attention to domestic violence and racism Only weeks before Smith killed two and injured nine he had made many racist comments and threats If there had been laws regulating hate speech authorities may have been able to detain or arrest Smith on these charges before he went on his rampage The group of scholars supporting stronger restriction on the first amendment believes that hate speech is harmful to its targets by degrading them These scholars believe that hate speech is a violation of the fourteenth
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