We condemn the war and support Ukraine in its struggle for democratic values.
We also encourage you to join the #StandWithUkraine movement by making a donation at this link
Should Speech which Individuals or Groups Find Offensive be Prohibited on Canadian University Campuses

To live in a multinational society is a tough task, especially when one belongs to some minor social parts. In this respect, from the very beginning of coming of age, a person develops his/her own set of priorities and life styles so that to defend oneself. Racism is what threatens contemporary society from the inside. It manipulates minds of masses with an idea of either following or staying against racism. However, the term itself goes apart with an idea of democracy and peaceful co-existence of different ethnic communities. Thus, racist speeches in Canada campuses or speeches, which individuals or groups find offensive, should be prohibited in terms of current codes of ethics at the universities and constitutional norms of equality and democratic development.

First of all, it is totally inappropriate to oppress some groups of people just because they are different in looks or in views. Pluralism of opinions is what makes a final decision strong and diverse so that everyone is satisfied. A sound mind provides a person with an optimal way of communication and treatment of one another. Logically, justice proclaims that anyone can highlight his/her ideas publically solely in case if they do not offend feelings of others. Otherwise, there is a good prerequisite for a growing conflict, which may rise into riots, crimes, violence, and hatred nationwide.

Professor Lawrence is the one to identify the fast-paced threat of racial inequality and harassment, which is taken for granted in many cases. In this respect, he makes a remark on the problem in the following way: “University officials who have formulated policies to respond to incidents of racial harassment have been characterized in the press as “thought police”, even though such policies generally do nothing more than impose sanctions against intentional face-to-face insults” (Lawrence, 1990, p. 6). In fact, it is not a good solution, though the order should be kept in such public places. On the other hand, the problem of racist insults and racist speeches, which actually feed such attitudes among different groups of students, should be solved on a larger stage of further analysis.

Representatives of the minor groups try to fight for their rights, but in most cases they have nothing to say and, thus, remain silent. The problem of major groups is that they eventually believe that justice and peace depend on them and that nothing can harm them as they are totally protected by the law. It is not enough for the most of them, and these individuals start critically and offensively express their ideas about the minor groups. Obviously, it is enough to start litigation and accuse such people guilty in what they are doing. However, it is not usually like that.

Professor Lawrence have investigated the way, in which problem grows higher and higher, by saying that the most evident argument of the major group today is something like that, namely: “We recognize that minority groups suffer pain and injury as the result of racist speech, but we must allow this hate mongering for the benefit of society as a whole” (Lawrence, 1990, p. 8). Needless to say, this statement is inappropriate in terms of contemporary law system and humanity, on the whole. It is a mismatch, which gives another impulse for minorities to fight for their rights. In such a fight, it is possible that some negative reaction may simply start overgrowing into crimes and delinquent behavior.

Cases in Virginia Tech and other educational establishments in the US and all around the world show the most terrible outcomes of such playing on the students’ nerves. It is a call for more effective ways of finding out the best solutions. Thereupon, it is vital to pay attention to where this mess starts up. University speeches on racism or with a hint on racism are apparent in every campus across Canada. The work of sororities and fraternities seems to follow this tradition against all odds. The problem should be stopped at this very level, so that to prevent worse development of the situation. One more suggestion is to be respectful to one another and share this idea of mutual respect across the nation. In Canada, it is especially vital due to a huge number of different ethnicities across the country.

Thoughts give birth to words and words give birth to actions. Sharing the “seeds” of patience, tolerance, love, and respect would definitely decrease the problem at the very beginning of its possible start. However, the supporters of such awful racist speeches take the following fact into consideration, i.e. freedom of speech. In this respect “freedom of speech is the life-blood of our democratic system” (Lawrence, 1990, p. 8). It is necessary to note that the speech should be of a constructive nature, which means it should pay attention to the increasing social problems with an idea of uniting for the sake of peaceful way of living. A harangue is a powerful tool to impose some peculiar thoughts on masses. Thus, a constructive way of communication, starting from the officials (as a role model for the rest) up to the lower layers of society, should be well cultivated.

Professor Gerald Gunther makes a strong remark on how university speeches should be regulated with no harm to the freedom of speech shared in a democratic society, namely: “There is ample room and need for vigorous University action to combat racial and other discrimination…but curbing freedom of speech is the wrong way to do so” (Gunther, 1990, p. 9). There is no point to run to the extremes. Every thought should be evaluated in terms of racial tolerance before materializing such ideas into words. Otherwise, the problem will only increase in its negative effects.

Protecting freedom of speech, an individual should take into account the effects this speech may have on the community. A diplomatic approach touches upon a correct identification of the main idea, which goes hand in hand with all groups of people. This way is the most appropriate one. So, universities should teach students to follow it with a wide explanation of why it is so important. Hence, universities across Canada should have specific codes of ethics, governed and executed within the campus and other facilities, so that to ensure safety of rights among the different groups of students who study there.

One of the most applicable and quite outstanding examples belongs to the University of Michigan in the United States. The university officials signed up a special code, which “prohibited “stigmatizing and victimizing” either individuals or groups on the basis of “race, ethnicity, religion, sex, sexual orientation, creed, national origin, ancestry, age, marital status, handicap or Vietnam-era veteran status” (Romero, 2010, p. 169). It worked and made all students comply with that. On the other hand, it helped every student belonging to minor groups to feel safe and protected officially with no opportunity for haters to somehow humiliate or bully them inside the university.

To say more, talking about the freedom of speech, one should pay attention to the fact that the law does not allow speeches, which highlight a straight-forward propaganda of terrorism and violence. It is the same as sharing racist speeches. The effect may be even more terrible. However, nobody thinks of such speeches on terrorism as being appropriate. Everyone takes them for granted as being inappropriate. Once again, major groups do not feel they commit a crime or a prerequisite for a crime, when gathering rallies for the sake of racial discrimination.

The interests of the nation embrace the idea that the nation is progressing in its development. It means that all institutions work positively, and individuals follow the best the mankind has at the moment. It concerns social, economic, and political growth, religious freedom, and decrease of the criminal activity. However, discriminated minor groups have a large number of individuals, who got through the moments of violence of different kind. This is why such social elements are likely to take part in the anti-social or violent demonstrations, because they had no support on the part of the government in time, when they needed it most of all. Romero admits in his study that “hate speech is harmful only because of its impact on others who are then led in turn to commit acts of violence or discrimination” (Romero, 2010, p. 171).

Given that, hate speeches are to be prohibited at the universities across Canada, as they serve to make mischief within campuses, which may further grow into direct harm to individuals and society, on the whole. This kind of harm is very serious and quite terrifying, as it provokes the mechanism called “tit for tat”. In fact, it coheres with the logical assumption on that an individual from the minority group would definitely commit something bad to the representatives of the majority group just because he/she was assaulted, raped, beaten, or simply offended by numerous phrases and speeches of a discriminative character. Professor Gunther remarks that a hate speech is the same as “fighting words” and is, therefore, an exception to the norm of freedom of speech (Gunther, 1990). Hence, hate speeches go apart with the freedom of speech as a so-called “side affect”.

Order now

Related essays