A new poll shows Americans are ready to take on hate speech, with 63 percent of respondents saying they would rather “stop hate speech from reaching me than get involved with it.”
The survey by the Center for American Progress found 57 percent of Americans said hate speech is “more harmful” to the United States than terrorist attacks.
That’s up from 58 percent in June.
“The more hate I hear and the more people I see, the more I want to stop it,” said David E. Green, co-founder of the Center and co-director of the poll.
“That’s why it’s so important that we are at the table and talking about it and making it stop.”
Pollsters interviewed more than 1,000 Americans over three days in mid-May.
It found a wide range of responses.
Sixty-three percent said they would be “very” or “somewhat” interested in stopping hate speech and hate groups from spreading hate.
Slightly fewer than half said they think hate speech should be illegal, but those numbers are not statistically significant, according to the pollsters.
“I am not against free speech,” said Katie Waggoner, a 24-year-old from Portland, Oregon, who lives in Chicago.
“But hate speech can get to the point where it gets to the level of a crime.
That shouldn’t happen.”
More than half of Americans, 57 percent, say the government should step in to stop hate speech.
“People have a right to free speech.
But they have to be respectful of others,” said Waggoni.
More than half, 57% of Americans support a law that would make it a crime to promote hate.
“There’s no question in my mind that the hate in the world is out of control,” said Samia Sengupta, a 25-year old from Seattle.
“It’s not a place where we want to be.
But we have to say something about it.”
Sengupaso said she is “extremely frustrated” by the political climate.
“If you think that you are going to live in a peaceful society, then it’s not going to happen,” she said.
“It’s very important that people are standing up for what they believe in,” said Michelle Stier, a 28-year resident of New York City who lives near Philadelphia.
“And I think we have a lot of room to improve.
People have to start being more open to what others think, and that starts with talking about these things.”
Sengupta said she feels her city has gotten “too cozy” with politicians who talk about hate, but the hate is not going away.
Stier said she wants to get involved in her community to make it better.
“My first question is, how do I do it?
How do I get involved and make sure that I am doing something?” she said, adding that the country needs to be a better place.
“We can’t be a country that does this kind of thing,” Stier said.