In the article “On Racist Speech,” the author, Charles R Lawrence III, effectively establishes creditability, logics and emotional themes to supports his argument which infers that the use of harmful language should not be protected by the First Amendment Law in order to stop racism. Lawrence sheds light upon the very turbulent issue of the First Amendment right to the Freedom of speech in contrast to the inequality caused by its misuse through racially bias speech.
The author states that the University officials should endorse some sort policy that will protect the rights of those who are victimized by this “racial nuisance,” while at the same time not censoring our constitutional right of free speech, “I am troubled by the way the debates has been framed in response to the recent surge of racist incidents on college and university campuses and in response universities attempts to regulate harassing speech” (51). Continually, Lawrence defines the set of ideals that the First Amendment was based on, particularly; equality.
He goes on to show the audience that this very balance is in danger if the speech in question is stated in a deliberately hurtful manner. Lawrence brings up factual evidence from the Brown vs. Board of education that supports his claim that prejudice can also be viewed as a form of racist speech. Lawrence argues just as Brown did, that segregation in schools causes disparity and unfair conditions to the victims of racist speech. Brown deemed the idea of segregation as a symbolic message that affected the hearts and minds of young black students.
Lawrence correspondingly deems free speech that allows “Hate Mongering Speech” as unfair and segregating “Brown held that segregated schools were inherently unequal because of the message of the message that segregation conveyed-that black children were an untouchable caste, unfit to go school with white children” (52). The author hence, proposes that the racist speech can hurt so much so that it can create an unfair educational environment for those who are victimized by it. The author used this notable example because he is trying to convey an important point to the lawyers, attorneys and the University regarding the on racist speech.
Lawrence suggests that speech should be regulated in a way that does not limit it. First, the speech should not invade the general privacy of any student. This meant that speech would not be tolerated in personal spaces such as dorms, restrooms, or any living space “Minority students should not be required to remain in their rooms in order to avoid racial assaults” (52). Another regulation was the idea that speech that was intentionally hurtful or unruly would not be tolerated. However, any public demonstrations would have to give fair warning so that others may produce a counter-argumentation or avoid it entirely.
The author takes a different approach to the problem. He suggests that on an individual basis lawyers could bend the rules to distort the will of their client so that the victim would be amended. This solution on an individual basis would help to cool the flames of racism without opening the floodgates. Lawrence also supports his claims by making visible repetition in the article. This shows how the author constantly makes the audience feel like they should be responsible and they should be able to do something about the racist speech issue in the society.
The author Charles Lawrence is able to establish creditability in his article he relates his childhood experiences with human rights “I have spent the better part of my life as a dissenter” (51). This is to show that he has been an active member of the First Amendment right even as a child. Lawrence also appeals to the audience emotions by stating how hurt the victims are in the society “Above all I am troubled that we have not listened to the real victims ,that we have shown so little understanding of their injury and we have abandoned those whose race, gender, or sexual preference continues to make them second-class citizens”(52) .
Persistently, the author defines the set ideals that the First Amendment was based on particularly equality it seems to him a very sad sarcasm that the first instinct of civil libertarians has been to challenge the exertions the university makes to provide minority students the protection the constitution guarantees them. Lawrence tries to make his argument justifiable by not defining a subjective issue in his argument he sticks to the main purpose of writing the article which is to talk about the “On racist speech” and he is able to give strategic examples like the First Amendment and the Brown versus Board of Education case.
He thereby avoids subjective issues which makes him deviate from the actual facts regarding the on racist speech which is supposed to be conveyed to the audience. Lawrence creatively draws out many ideas that would help with the problem of racist speech by stating that we could regulate racist speech without violating the First Amendment law and he fears that if the government refuses to look into this there would be an upbringing of racial ferocity he also explains that racist speech should be diminished by the society as a unit because racism does not just affect the individual but the society at large . The author Charles Lawrence claims that it is unfair to place the burden of racism on anyone because it forces them to live and work in an environment where at any moment they may be subjected to condescending verbal harassment and assault.