50 Shades of the First Amendment

It’s the First Amendment protects our right to protest, but it also protects hate speech to an extent. When these two forms of speech collide within the same area, they become locked in a cycle.

While the graffiti protesting Tyre King’s death was power washed away, more paint visualized some of the voices in Athens. The mural of a scene of Africa was crudely altered.  A stick figure painted hanging from the tree by a red rope accompany the words “You can’t cover this up,” and “Build a wall.”

The best response to hate speech is sometimes more speech. And that’s what happened. A coat of black covers the once brightly painted savannah, #BlackLivesMatter at the top of the wall. The statement, “Racism will not be tolerated” stands between the stick figure and “Build a  wall,” the two purposefully left exposed.

 

The discussion of the wall came up on Friday, when Kimberly Strassel, a member of the Wall Street Journal editorial board” visited the OU campus to discuss how the First Amendment has been silenced politically and at the university.

The graffiti wall entered the conversation with Strassel, but she agreed that the hate speech displayed was protected under the First Amendment. Strassel noted that college campuses have historically been a place to debate and are “how we came up with some of our best ideas.” But is the more extreme way of taping off sides in a college dorm really one of America’s brightest ideas?

Source: heritage.org
Source: heritage.org

While the discussion of hate speech slid into OU’s parents’ weekend, the Women’s Center planned a week called “Love Yourself Week.” On Tuesday, (following “No Makeup Monday”), Nelson’s Commons will house the keynote speaker Jennifer Cassetta in a presentation dubbed “Hear Me Roar.” The presentation will be on self defense and to empower “students to be safe no matter where they are.”

Source: Flickr, Quinn Dombrowski
Source: Flickr, Quinn Dombrowski

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