Hate speech has long been a topic for active debates. Some people claim that hate speech should be a part of educational process as it encourages students to express their opinion concerning this or that social phenomenon without any restrictions. Other people consider that hate speech facilitates hatred towards certain minority groups based on such factors as skin color, religion, sexual preferences, gender and others. Thus, there is a need to discuss the pros and cons of hate speech legislation. The arguments against and in favor of hate speech are given below.
Speaking about the arguments in favor of hate speech, it should be noted that all universities and other educational establishment have all rights to create an appropriate environment for students to learn how to express their opinion freely and without any limitations. Any restrictions concerning hate speech violate the right for freedom of speech in terms of sharing information and knowledge about this or that issue. Hate speech should not exist at the expense of individual freedoms, and restrictions concerning hate speech are a measure leading to the development of censorship and consequently totalitarianism. This factor should not be tolerated by the government, as it will ruin the basic principles of democracy. Owing the implementation of hate speech into the educational process, students learn to avoid tunnel vision regarding certain social phenomena. Furthermore, the aim of every educational institution is to instill basic moral values in students, and hate speech is considered to help universities and colleges to achieve this goal. Hate speech helps students to find out more about racial, religious and other kinds of harassment based on biases existing in the classroom environment.
However, there are several arguments against hate speech and its use in the educational process in universities and other establishments. The prohibition of hate speech in the university may lead to a situation, in which certain students would be subjected to some kind of harassment, and the university is likely to tolerate such behavior. This is basically not acceptable. Sometimes, harassment is committed on behalf of faculty members and other staff, which violates the rights of students causing irreparable damage. Thus, the universities should not be against the hate speech as it gives students an opportunity to speak freely about some issues that are of much concern to them. Universities should support the civil rights of all individuals including their right for equal treatment disregarding their racial, religious or gender characteristics. Furthermore, those who become a victim of hate speech are often excessively sensitive and might perceive it as a serious offence; however, the fundamental goal of a university is to protect individual freedoms of every student. Thus, hate speech should not be present in the educational process as it violates fundamental human rights especially the rights of religious or racial minorities. Educational process should be based on humanistic principles, rather than biases and stereotypes.
On the other hand, restrictions of hate speech might negatively affect the educational process in higher educational establishments leading to undesirable consequences in terms of students’ attitude towards minority groups. This is because a university or other educational institution is the most suitable place for sharing ideas and thoughts on various social issues including the issues of homosexuality, racial and gender differences, religious beliefs and others. What is more, hate speech represents a step forward in social development of a personality and although the messages proclaimed by the hate speech are often filled with hatred, the students learn how to express their ideas on various social issues. Thus, hate speech should be present in all educational establishments and should not be associated with some kind of limitations.