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UCLA Pacific Basin Law Journal

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Confronting the Lies That Protect Racist Hate Speech: Towards Honest Hate Speech Laws in New Zealand and the United States

  • Author(s): Asafo, Dylan
  • et al.

This Article provides a comparative critique of hate speech jurisprudence in New Zealand and the United States by building on insights from Critical Race Theory (CRT) scholars.  My main argument is that neither of these liberal democracies protect the right to freedom of expression/speech as they claim, but in fact dishonestly protect a right to “freedom of expression of racism” or “freedom of racist speech.”  They do this by telling lies that inflate the value of free expression/speech and diminish and dismiss the harms that hate speech inflicts on marginalized groups.  To move towards honest hate speech laws in both jurisdictions, I propose a communications strategy that seeks to reframe hate speech from a free speech issue to a public health issue.  This is in order to push for reforms that will enable the courts to better protect people of color from the physical, mental, psychological or spiritual harms of racist hate speech.

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