Free Speech v. Hate Speech


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Free speech advocates (like, say, journalists) probably got a lump in their collective throats a few minutes ago when Queens City Councilman Leroy Comrie issued a press release announcing that he would introduce a resolution banning the "n-word" into the City Council, as a reaction to the recent Michael Richards controversy.


“It is my hope that this resolution will spark a dialouge in all communities and begin to move our society, especially in our entertainment culture, toward a place where the use of the ‘N’ word is simply unacceptable in any context," said Comrie.


As offensive as the "n-word" might be, it is unsettling that any government institution might look to censor free speech, which does afford us the right to say offensive stuff. Comrie totally understands this concern, said Comrie spokesman Rance Huff.


"Absolutely, which is why its just a resolution calling for what essentially is a voluntary act. Obviously, we can't introduce a bill because of the free speech implications. Ultimately, if it starts a conversation (which it seems to have) and it results in some people consciously contemplating a change, then its worth it," said Huff.


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