Saturday, November 13, 2004

Racist Expression--Is it still free speech?

This article describes precisely what some well-meaning liberal legal scholars are currently seeking: a ban on racially offensive speech. Does the fact pattern described in the article sound like the sort of totalitarian measure that would only happen in a place like Croatia?

Guess again. Richard Delgado, Law Professor, University of Pittsburgh, advocated 22 years ago a tort of racial insult, such that anyone who directed this sort of speech or conduct toward another could be civilly liable, if the "average" person perceived the conduct to be intended as racially hurtful. Does this kind of thinking make you nervous too?