Speaking of Race, Speaking of Sex by Henry Louis Gates Jr.
Hate Speech, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties

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At the University of Pennsylvania, a student is reprimanded for calling a group of African-American students water buffalo. Several prominent American law schools now request that professors abstain from discussing the legal aspects of rape for fear of offending students. As debates over multiculturalism and political correctness crisscross the land, no single issue has been more of a flash point in the ongoing culture wars than hate speech codes, which seek to restrict bigoted or offensive speech and punish those who engage in it. In this provocative anthology, a range of prominent voices argue that hate speech restrictions are not only dangerous, but counterproductive. The lessons of history indicate that speech regulation designed to protect minorities is destined to be used against them. Acknowledging the legitimacy of the concerns that prompt speech codes and combining support for civil liberties with an acute concern for civil tights issues, Speaking of Race, Speaking of Sex demonstrates that it is difficult, if not impossible, to draw the line between unprotected insults and protected ideas. Decrying such speech regulation as overly concerned with the symbols of racism rather than its realities, Speaking of Race, Speaking of Sex offers a balanced and well-reasoned perspective on one of the most controversial issues of our time.


About Henry Louis Gates Jr.

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Henry Louis Gates, Jr. is the Alphonse Fletcher University Professor and Director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University. He is the author of numerous books, including Colored People, Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Man, In Search of Our Roots, and the American Book Award-winning The Signifying Monkey. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Published January 1, 1995 by NYU Press. 310 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference, Law & Philosophy. Non-fiction

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Proponents of hate speech regulations, notes Harvard Afro-American Studies department head Gates in the best of these six essays, must be met with more than conventional free speech absolutism.

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