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“People need to have their views challenged and there should be nothing stopping anyone from raising their own views.”

“People should always be allowed to speak their minds and be true to who they are.” “Although I tend to think freedom of speech has to be taken as far as possible, I have to say information and knowledge is the basis of "speech".”

“You have the freedom to say what you want but you're held responsible for what you say.”



“People have a hard time seeing outside their own established framework, but in my mind, that is all the more reason to have no regulations of speech.”


A Democracy of


aged independent thought, and nearly everything on TV.

from political convictions or political opportunism. Those with

How commonplace it has all become.

political ambitions know well that lewd pictures and loutish talk leave few people dispassionate.

Nan Levinson

Americans used to like the First Amendment. Sometimes we added “but” at the end of our declaration of faith, but we had a real soft spot for the idea that speech should be safe from interference by those in power. The first of our rights, freedom of expression, was almost a civic religion, fundametal to how we defined ourselves as a nation and as individuals. Not Anymore. Sometime in the mid - 1980s, we began to hear angry citizens announce that they would accept this or that outrage no longer; something had to be done, and that something was shutting people up. Throughout the following decade and spilling into the present, we learned of more and more targets: teachers who assigned books with profanity, Websites that mentioned sex, artists who got grants, movies that provoked, songs that challenged, books that acknowledged ambiguity, anything that encour-

The First Amendement used to be the province of lawyers,

The urge to cover other people’s eyes and ears is as ancient

civic teachers, the ACLU, and the occasional politician in

and robust as the urge to shock, defy, or annoy, and words

need of a tidy stump speech. Now, we live in a time of talk:

and symbols matter deeply to most people, even when lan-

rap, memoir, news headlines that read like experimental

guage or art is peripheral to their lives. Which ones we get

fiction, conversations that erupt into blame mongering and

riled up over may vary, as will the manner , intensity, and so-

moral certitude. When this logorrhea spills over intot the

phistication of our response. But words cut close to the bone,

public arena, we turn ourselves into a nation of buttonhol-

and the umbrage taken at offending speech may be one of the

ers, all insisiting that attention be paid to our story, our be-

few things that unites across race, gender, class, and all other

liefs, our gripe. This, we tell ourselves, is democracy: one

categories we’re not supposed to speak disparagingly about.

big call-in show where fervor is a guarantee of truth and having an opinion is practically a civic duty. Through it all,

There are costs to this culture of liberty that we claim for our-

we stalk words, making numerous and noisy claims for their

selves. At times, putting up with expression that is ugly, crass,

ill effects: dirty ones cause licentiousness, sexy ones cause

wrongheaded, bad manners, bad taste, or just plain dumb is

rape, rabble-rousing ones cause, well, roused rabble.

one of them. Some objects of the censor’s wrath are meant to be in-your-face challenges: rock ‘n’ roll is all about rebel-

In this riot of word blame, not all motives are political, nor

lion, dissent courts the hereodox, profantiy aims to belittle,

are all speech desputes played out on the political stage.

and pornography is supposed to turn us on. That’s their ap-

Other countries kill their dissidents. We frustrate ours into

peal and their usefulness. Defending espression that over-

silence, trivializing deeply held convictions and turning their

steps some line by asking what all the fuss is about misses

advocates into cranks, or bribing discontent with stardom

the point. The necessary question is what kind of fuss we will

and spots on talk shows and the covers of glossy maga-

have. Will we meet speech that unsettles with the catharsis of

zines. Offending Artist of the Week. Teacher Who Can’t

response - discussing, debating, debunking, deflating - or will

Teach That of the month. All the easier to dismiss their com-

we impose ever more elaborate limits on the speech we don’t

plaints. Still, the bulk of free speech controversies arises

want to hear?

“Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech . . . - First Amendement to the U.S. Constitution

section. Blake then said, “Why don’t you stand up?” Parks responded, Blake called the police to arrest Parks.


“I don’t think I should have to stand up.”

From the Past

When recalling the incident, Parks said, “When he saw me still sitting, he asked if I was going to stand up, and I said, ‘No, I’m not.’ And

Kitty Genovese

Rosa Parks

When no one speaks up for what is right The Killing of Kitty Genovese. Her public slaying in Queens becomes a symbol of Americans’ failure to get involved.

“I’m dying!”

she cried.

When someone speaks up for what is right Detectives investigating Genovese’s

After a day at work at Montgomery Fair

Blake noted that the front of the bus was

murder discovered that no fewer than 38

department store, Parks boarded the

filled with white passengers and there

of her neighbors had witnessed at least

Cleveland Avenue bus at around 6 p.m.,

were two or three men standing, and thus

he said, ‘Well, if you don’t stand up, I’m going to have to call the police and have you arrested.” I said, “You may do that.” Parks detailed her motivation in her autobiography, My Story: “People always say that I didn’t give up my seat because I was tired, but that isn’t true. I was not tired physically, or no more

It was just after 3 a.m. Kitty Genovese

The attacker entered a car and drove

one of her killer’s three attacks but had

Thursday, December 1, 1955, in down-

moved the “colored” section sign behind

drove home from work and then began

away, but soon came back again. His

neither come to her aid nor called the

town Montgomery. She paid her fare and

Parks and demanded that four black peo-

the 100-foot walk toward her apartment

victim had crawled inside the front door

police. The one call made to the police

sat in an empty seat in the first row of

ple give up their seats so that the white

house at 82-70 Austin St. She spotted

of an apartment house at 82-62 Austin

came after Genovese was already dead.

seats reserved for blacks in the “colored”

passengers could sit. Years later, in re-

a man standing along her route. Appar-

St. He found her sprawled on the floor

Assistant Chief Insp. Frederick Lussen,

section. As the bus traveled along its reg-

calling the events of the day, Parks said,

ently afraid, she changed direction and

and stabbed her still again. This time he

commander of Queens detectives, said

ular route, all of the white-only seats in the

Blake said, “Y’all better make it light

headed toward the intersection of Austin

killed her.

that nothing in his 25 years of police

bus filled up. The bus reached the third

and Lefferts Boulevard -- where there

It was not until 3:50 that morning, March

work had shocked him so much as the

stop in front of the Empire Theater, and

was a police call box.

13, 1964, that a neighbor of the victim

apathy encountered on the Genovese

several white passengers boarded.

Suddenly, the man overtook her and

called the police. They identified the vic-

murder. “As we have reconstructed the

In 1900, Montgomery had passed a city

grabbed her. She screamed. Residents

tim as Catherine Genovese, 28, who had

crime, the assailant had three chances

ordinance for the purpose of segregat-

of nearby apartment houses turned on

been returning from her job. Neighbors

to kill this woman during a 35-minute

ing passengers by race. Conductors

their lights and threw open their win-

knew her not as Catherine but as Kitty.

period,” Lussen said, “If we had been

were given the power to assign seats to

dows. The woman screamed again:

Kitty Genovese: It was a name that

called when he first attacked, this wom-

accomplish that purpose; however, no

``Oh, my God, he stabbed me! Please

would become symbolic in the public

an might not be dead now.”

passengers would be required to move

help me!’’

mind for a dark side of the national char-

When detectives asked Genovese’s

or give up their seat and stand if the

A man in a window shouted: “Let that

acter. It would stand for Americans who

neighbors why they had not taken action,

bus was crowded and no other seats

girl alone.’’ The attacker walked away.

were too indifferent or too frightened or

many said

were available. Over time and by custom,

on yourselves and let me have those

Apartment lights went out and windows

too alienated or too self-absorbed to “get

however, Montgomery bus drivers had

seats.”Three of them complied, but I

slammed shut. The victim staggered

involved’’ in helping a fellow human be-

adopted the practice of requiring black

didn’t.” The black man sitting next to her

toward her apartment. But the attacker

ing in dire trouble. A term “the Genovese

riders to move whenever there were no

gave up his seat. Parks moved, but to-

returned and stabbed her again.

syndrome” would be coined to describe

white only seats left.

ward the window seat; she did not get up

plight of African Americans and the civil

So, following standard practice, bus driver

to move to the newly repositioned colored

rights struggle.

the attitude.

“I was afraid” “I didn’t want to get involved.” or

“When that white driver waved his hand and ordered us up and out of our seats, I felt a determination cover my body like a quilt on a winter night.”

tired than I usually was at the end of a working day. I was not old, although some people have an image of me as being old then. I was forty-two. No, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in. I did not want to be mistreated, I did not want to be deprived of a seat that I had paid for. It was just time... there was opportunity for me to take a stand to express the way I felt about being treated in that manner. I had not planned to get arrested. I had plenty to do without having to end up in jail. But when I had to face that decision, I didn’t hesitate to do so because I felt that we had endured that too long. The more we gave in, the more we complied with that kind of treatment, the more oppressive it became.” Rosa Parks played an important part in internationalizing the awareness of the

Values served by the protecting of Free Speech

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I have to say information and knowledge is the basis of “speech”.


Assuring Individual Self-Fufillment


Free speech enables individuals to express themselves, create and identify and, in the process perhaps, find kindred spirits. Freedom of speech

Facilitating Participation by Citizens in Political Decision - Making

thus becomes an aspect of

A community in which free

human dignity.

speech is valued and protected is likely to be a more

Citizens will not make wise and informed choices in elections if


candidates and proponents of certain

The Discovery of the Truth

policies are restricted in their ability to communicate positions.

When truth and falsehood are allowed to freely graple, truth will win out.

Freedom of Speech in America means that the government bodies do not have the right to censor speech. I think American free speech is just fine, and is one freedom I will fight tooth and nail to maintain.

Creating More Robust and Interesting Community


Creating a More Adaptable and Stable Community

A society in which angry and alienated citizens are allowed to speak their mind will be more stable, as people will be less likely to resort to violence. It has also been pointed out that allowing the alienated and discontented to speak freely enables government to better monitor potentially dangerous groups who would otherwise act more clandestinely.

energized, creative society as its citizens actively fulfill themselves in many di-

Checking Abuse of Governmental Power

verse and interesting ways.

As Watergate, Irangate, Clintongate (and all the

other “gates”) demonstrate,

True freedom of speech allows the expression of ALL points of view – not just the ones supported by the majority (or loudest).

freedom of the press enables citiznes to learn about abuses of power and then do something about the abuse at the ballot box, if the feel so moved.


Promoting Tolerance

Freedom of speech, especially through our practice of extending protection to speech that we find hateful or personally upsetting, teaches us to become more tolerant in other aspects of life - and that a more tolerant society is a better society.

Yes, all speech should be free regardless of content.

No, some things like racist and derogatory speech is better left unsaid.

Maybe, it depends on how indecent/shocking the speech is.

I am undecided. 49% 25% 18%


Do you believe in total free speech?

Do you think Americans take free speech too far? 39%

40 votes

Yes 61%

63 votes


Freedom of Speech is a human yearning - insistent, persistent, and universal. Speech may be uplifting, enlightening, and profound; but it is also degrading, redundant, and trivial. Speech may be abstract and theoretical, a near cousin to thought; but it is also concrete and immediate, filled with calls to action, intertwined with conduct. Speech may be rational, contemplative, orderly, organized, and soft; but it is also emotional, raucous, chaotic, untidy, and loud. Speech may be soothing and comfortable; but it is also vexatious and noisome. Speech may confirm and affirm; it may be patriotic and supportive of prevailing values and order; but it may also be challenging, threatening, and seditious, perhaps even treasonous.

Your Voice

Free Speech is very important and is something that we need to use more to better ourselves and our world.

You have a voice and you have a


Freedom; use it! Be true to who you

SPEAK whatever is TRUE whatever is NOBLE whatever is RIGHT whatever is PURE whatever is ADMIRABLE whatever is YOU.

are, and don’t be afraid to stand up

and say what is right. Think it. mean

it. Say it. Think it through, then make sure you mean what you say,

then say it. Everyone has a time in their life when they should have said somehting, they should have done the right thing. But they were afraid,

embarrassed, thought no one would

listen, their voice wouldn’t matter, or didn’t want to get involved. This is a

group of people who had that time,

but they are not afraid anymore.

They are proud of who they are and of what lessons those experiences

have taught them. They have repented and used their voices and taken action.

Chemise McDaniel - Goode

There was this girl at my High School. Everyday this group of girls would make fun of her and pick on her until she cried. And Everyday, along with everyone else, I would just watch pretending not to notice or hear what was happening. I never stood up for her or told the group of girls to stop. I didn’t want them to pick on me too if I said something. I always thought about that girl, and regreted not helping her. Later in life I was confronted with a similar situation and this time I knew I wasn’t going to sit back and do nothing . I spoke up and helped the girl who was being harassed. I knew the truth; of the regret i felt from the past and the right thing to do now. We are still friends today.







Sammi Lang

Vincent Maynard

Moriah Mendez

going to the district tournament to qualify for

right, but one day he took it too far. He hit my mom and beat her while

apartment complex. As we were walk-

It was my senior year of high school and I was

state in wrestling. I was in charge of the scale

that everyone would weigh in on at the tournament. I messed with the scale so that it would tell

me I was lighter than I really was, because I was tired and didn’t want to cut weight anymore. It

also showed that everyone else was lighter too. So they thought they were fine and they stopped cutting weight. We go to the tournament and two

of the guys didn’t make weight because of what

I did, so they didn’t get to wrestle for the state

When I was a kid my mom started seeing this guy. He never treated her I just watched quielty not sure what to do or how to help. I felt so many emotions of anger, guilt and sadness. I saw my mom going through

so much pain and I just sat quiet, alone and afraid. As I grew older my mom went through different boyfriends but none were as bad as that

guy. Until one day she brought him home. This guy not the same as the

one from before, but he treated her in the same way and hit her too. I

knew I had to stop him and stand up for her. I wasn’t afraid anymore and he would not do this to my mom. I stood up to him, and he left. My mom has never been hit again

tournament. One of them was a senior and it was his last opportunity, the other was a junior who

was doing so well everyone thought he would

have won. Two years later I finally confessed and

apologized to both of them. It affected these two guy’s lives, and I felt so much remorse for what I had done.


My friend and I were leaving her

ing we saw a couple acting strangely in their idling car. The girl seemed

upset, and it wasn’t just that she was acting strange, but there was something more, something not right with

the way he was treating her. So we felt compelled to stop and ask if everything was all right. She said it was

fine, but would not look at us. The

Luke Sherwood

I had this friend. This friend that I had always looked up to and respected. As we grew older we changed so much in who we were, our morals and character. My

guy seemed irritated with our con-

friend started treating people differently than I did, mainly he treated girls differ-

never been able to forget that night.

and took advantage and I didn’t say or do anything to stop it. Finally I decided that

cern. So we just walked away. I have

ently. I sat back and watched him treat his girlfriends with no respect. He cheated

I knew there was something wrong

I couldn’t do that anymore. He was a good friend yes, but what he was doing was

and I didn’t help her. That girl who I knew needed help. I know that I will

do everything in my power the next time. I will help the person in need.

wrong. I told him I didn’t agree and I was going to tell her the truth. I did. I stood up to my friend and now that girl is with a great guy, very happy and grateful for me speaking up.

“To speak his thoughts is every freeman’s right, in peace and war, in council and in fight.” -Homer

“Freedom of speech, if it is to be real, must be extended to all and not be the prerogative or special gift of anyone.” -Luis Aguilar

“Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience above all other liberties.” -John Milton

“The most tyrannical governments are those which make crimes of opinions, for everyone has an inalienable right to his own thoughts.” -Baruch Spinoza

“In a free counrty we punish men for the crimes they commit but never for the opinions they have.” -Harry S. Truman

“Without Freedom of Thought, there can be no such thing as Wisdom; and no such thing as public Liberty, without Freedom of Speech.” -Cato

think it. mean it. say it. “Free Speech is the matrix...the indespensable condition of nearly every other freedom.” - Benjamin Cardozo

Think it. Mean it. Say it.  

Final project for my art 320 communications design class.

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