Among liberal democracies, the United States stands alone in its defense of hate speech as integral to upholding the First Amendment and ensuring a free society. Recent events in Charlottesville, Virginia—the site of a white nationalist rally that led to the death of one counter-protestor and injuries to many others—have reignited a debate on whether freedom of speech should be given such broad protections, or whether hate speech in particular must be regulated in order to ensure equality and protect human rights. Please join us for a timely discussion that explores the contours of this debate, and offers insights from the perspective of international human rights law and the experience and approach of other countries that have similarly wrestled with legacies of xenophobia and racial injustice.
- Jessie Daniels, Professor of Sociology and Critical Social Psychology, Hunter College and The Graduate Center, CUNY
- Gay McDougall, Member, UN Committee on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination
- Lee Rowland, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project
- Smita Narula (moderator), Distinguished Lecturer and Interim Director of the Human Rights Program, Roosevelt House
Please find below links to materials that our panelists have shared for those interested in learning more about the issue and about the contours of the current debate on how to address hate speech in the United States. We hope that these materials will help deepen your engagement with this timely and important subject.
- Lee Rowland, We All Need to Defend Speech We Hate, ACLU Blog, 25 April 2017
- Jessie Daniels, What is the equivalent of a burning cross in the digital era? The Conversation, 30 August 2017
- U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), Early Warning and Urgent Action Decision on the United States, August 2017.
- U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), General Recommendation on Combating Racist Hate Speech. September 2013
- Jessie Daniels, Combatting Global White Supremacy in the Digital Era, from Cyber Racism (Rowman & Littlefield, 2009).
- K-Sue Park, The ACLU Needs to Rethink Free Speech, New York Times Op-Ed, 17 August 2017
- Glenn Greenwald, In Europe, Hate Speech Laws are Often Used to Suppress and Punish Left-Wing Viewpoints The Intercept, 29 August 2017.