N.C. State vs. NAACP vs Freedom of Speech

‘Let’s shoot that n______ in the head’ ‘Hang Obama by a Noose’ were among several things that were written on an expression wall at N.C. State University.  Sometimes I have to remind myself that it is 2008.  NAACP responds to graffiti at NCSU; Leaders present demands to Oblinger



6 Responses

  1. How are you or the poll defining “hate speech”? A proper response to the poll turns on the definition of the key words therein. Also, hate speech in general is different from apparent threats to the president or president-elect. For example, 18 U.S.C. 871 prohibits
    people from “knowingly and willfully…[making] any threat to take the life of, to kidnap, or to inflict bodily harm upon the President of the United States, the President-elect,…

    Arguably, the North Carolina words could be interpreted as threatening speech towards a president-elect, which is a federal offense.

    On the other hand, those who wish to criminalize so-called “hate speech” usually do not have a clear definitiation of what constitutes such speech. Should someone who says, “I hate the Republican Party” be guilty of a crime? The person expressed hatred, so wouldn’t he be guilty?

    My point is that laws can overreach and laws do not solve everything. The First Amendment is one of our most sacred Constitutional protections. Why change such a protection because of a small minority of ignorant Americans?

    We are better as a country because of Obama’s success. The person who wrote the stuff in North Carolina is a symbol of an ignorant past. Let’s look forward and embrace Obama’s vision rather than looking back because of one ignorant person’s vision, or lack thereof.

  2. Afripino: You make some great points. But is this an isolated incident or more widespread?

  3. This is basically no worse than Rev. Wright’s and Father Flagler’s anti-American rants and Obama had relations with them for many years.

  4. Actually Rev. Wright’s sermon was taken out of context. They kept looping the same 2 lines without examining the entire sermon.

  5. “is this an isolated incident or more widespread?”

    I believe that there are many people out there who are still racist. I also believe that incidents such as the North Carolina incident represent an insignificant number of incidents. A quick review of any of the major news sources make clear that the overwhelming majority of reports relate to positive or more analytical (i.e., less ignorant) statements regarding Mr. Obama.

    Of all the positive aspects of Obama’s win, I’m surprised that people are even taking the time to analyze, blog, or fret about what one or a handful of ignorant North Carolinians have to say. The country and the world are moving in one direction, and they’re obviously moving in the other.

  6. Any threat of physical violence is not protected under freedom of speech. Then to compound matters, they vandalized a wall, making his apparent disdain concrete.

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