1992 February 5

“Free Speech and the Right to Hate”


A Bill Moyers television discussion on this day explored the difficult First Amendment issue of free speech and hateful messages, in a segment called “Hate on Trial.” Morris Dees, head of the Southern Poverty Law Center, drew the line between speech and action, arguing that “we have a right to hate; we don’t have a right to hurt.” The debate focused on the activities of the White Aryan Resistance group, which reportedly sent a member to Portland, Maine, where he incited local skinheads to murder a 27-year-old Ethiopian student by beating him to death with baseball bats.

Learn more about the history of hate speech: Samuel Walker, Hate Speech: The History of an American Controversy (1994)

Learn more about hate speech: http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/hate-speech-campus-speech-codes

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