Topic: Summary of On Racist Speech (insert (insert) 17th February 2009 Mr. Lawrence is basically addressing racism in schools and universities. Freedom of
Speech our First Amendment rights according to the Constitution and the famous Landmark case of Brown v Board of Education. In this he tells us how people tend to abuse their rights of Freedom of Speech at the cost of Blacks and other minorities who are subjugated, excluded and subjected to racism.
In this scenario the bigots get away with fanning the rising flame of racism while standing on the moral high ground of liberty of speech. In this way no one listens to the real victims or tries to understand their injuries. Those whose race, gender, sexual preference, is abandoned to live a life of second- class citizens. Unfortunately universities have not been able to provide black and other minority students the protection which the Constitution guarantees them.
Racism or racist speech is only tackled when it takes the form of face to face harassment or assaulting speech or acts on an individual or small group of persons. The Supreme Court has held that words which " by their very utterance inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace" are not protected by the First Amendment.
Blacks and minorities have to be given recourse to the same education, facilities and security all over the campus from every form of racism, harassment, pain, injury and suffering. Against the backdrop of democracy, we should be sure to strike a balance with our concern, for free flow of ideas and the democratic process dependent on that flow and our desire to further the cause of equality. We have to recognize the fact that racial speech inflicts real harm and then with an equal commitment to equality and free speech can we come to some reconciliation. Debating and arguing we risk making the First Amendment an instrument of domination rather than a vehicle of liberation.
Courts have, for example, exempted from the protection of the First Amendment obscene speech, speech that disseminates, official secrets, that defames or libels another person, or that is used to form a conspiracy or monopoly. Blacks and minorities have experienced quite the opposite, demagogues are elected by appealing to America’s racism and many good liberal politicians shy away from issues that may brand them as being closely allies with them.
We all should resist government regulation of speech, we have to affirm equality and worth of all individuals. We have to be vigilant and unequivocal in the fight against racism. Civil Rights lawyers fighting for us will only succeed if we commence the development of the First Amendment jurisprudence grounded in the reality of our history and our current experience. We all should be concerned about these issues, should actively engage and counter the racist ideas that would have the protection of the first Amendment. If we fail this we will have to reconcile to the fact that we are no better than the racist.
Brown has covered all the aspects of the blacks and other’s rights as students to a good education as any other citizen with all their rights of Civil Liberties. He describes all the types of racial harassment they are exposed to and the psychic injury inflicted by it on the "hearts and minds" of blacks and others "in a way never to be undone". Causing emotional scaring, anxiety that pervades every aspect of the victims lives. Such injury was addressed by the Supreme Court when it held that sexual harassment creates a hostile or abusive work enviorment and contravenes the ban on sex discrimination in employment of the Title VII of the Civil Liberties Act of 1964.
Lawrance. C. R. (1990). On Racist Speech.