Where do you draw the line on hate speech?

Hate speech and First Amendment rights were a topic in the news before Wade Michael Page allegedly killed six people at a Sikh temple. Remember Mark Yudof, former president of the University of Minnesota? He’s now in charge of the University of California, where a task force has recommended a ban on protests against Israel. Atlantic blogger Emily Richmond outlines Yudof’s predicament:

In response to concerns about incidents of discrimination on the campuses in its system, a UC fact-finding team has issued a report recommending bans on hate speech and campus-backed protests against Israel as a means of curbing anti-Semitism …. Now several thousand members of the campus community are asking UC President Mark Yudof not to follow those recommendations because of the impact they could have on free speech, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

If you’re rusty on the First Amendment (you really should know it by heart), here’s the text:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

The Daily Circuit will be talking about the line between protected speech and hate speech at 10:20. Where do you think that line should be drawn?

  • Eric Hanson

    I heard a report on All Things Considered late last week which described Wade Michael Page as an “alleged white supremacist”. Alleged? He was very outspoken about his white supremacist views. What makes a news organization dial back its description in this manner? Is there a greater caution in cases of whites or Christians? Is there a concern about offending others who share his beliefs?