ERIC Number: ED362908
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1993-Aug
Reference Count: N/A
Is There Need for a Feminist Perspective on Hate Speech?
Cornwell, Nancy C.
A feminist perspective can be valuable in analysis of hate speech, but the analysis must connect with other social, political, and cultural perspectives such as race, class, sexual orientation, unity, and diversity. Hate speech has emerged as a contemporary political issue and is particularly visible on college and university campuses. Judicial response to speech codes, including those on university campuses, has been that such codes are overbroad and a violation of the First Amendment. Five categories of unprotected speech are: clear and present danger; obscenity; commercial speech; libel; and "fighting words" doctrine. Only the "fighting words" doctrine may possibly apply to hate speech. Some scholars have argued that hate speech violates the rights of equal protection and opportunity guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment. Feminist legal theory attempts to reveal the discriminatory basis of legal rules and practices otherwise assumed to be neutral or objective, and it offers a diversity of perspectives on the meaning of legal concepts and practices. While feminist legal theory speaks of the multiple truths that may be attached to legal rationales, it is not simply a resurrected legal realism. Feminist theory's intellectual tradition and critical analytical practices go to the core of the philosophical underpinning of the debates about free speech that set up hate speech arguments. What feminist analysis has to offer is the interdisciplinary practice to infuse discussions of hate speech with numerous perspectives of social and political life. (Contains 102 endnotes.) (RS)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers; Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Feminist Criticism; Feminist Scholarship; Hate Speech
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (76th, Kansas City, MO, August 11-14, 1993).