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Eeny-meeny-miney-mo Catch a nigger by the toe was once a common childrens rhyme Kennedy When the rhyme was most popular the term nigger was used specifically as an epithet However niggerbeing originally derived from the Latin word nigro meaning blackdid not always have such a negative connotation It was first used by John Rolfe when describing African slaves being shipped to colonial Virginia in 1619 By the first quarter of the nineteenth century though the meaning had gone from the descriptive term of colonial America to the racial insult it remains today Hosea Easton commented on the drastic change of the meaning of the term had undergone in his 1837 book describing the prejudice against blacks in America He stated that the term itself would be perfectly harmless were it used only to distinguish one class of society from another but it is not used with that intent any longer It flows from the fountain of purpose to injure qtd in Kennedy Easton had no idea the legal uproar that train of thought lead to in the twentieth century The 1920s marked the beginning of the ongoing debate regarding the legality of hate speech Hate speech as defined by those at USLegalcom is any form of speech whose sole purpose it to express hatred for a group based on their color gender or religion Before 1931 states had every right to ban hate speech because until then the Supreme Court viewed the First Amendment as only applying to federal laws Even after that opinion began to change the Court still allowed for restrictions on hate speech Only recently has the idea of completely uninhibited hate speech been allowed by the Supreme Court and now that the right is finally granted people are begging for restrictions to be put back into place Advocates for hate speech legislation must be careful what they wish for though When looking at the history of hate speech laws
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