I hate to say it, but expelling racist frat boys violates their rights to free speech

I don’t often agree with Eugene Volokh, but he’s RIGHT about the expulsion of several fraternity members allegedly involved in leading racist chants aboard a bus full of students at the University of Oklahoma: First, racist speech is constitutionally protected, just as is expression of other contemptible ideas; and universities may not discipline students based on their speech. That has been the unanimous view of courts that have considered campus speech codes and other campus speech restrictions…The same, of course, is true...

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Seventy-five years ago today, Hollywood released a racist masterpiece

Over the years, I’ve learned that there are as many ways of interpreting the movie “Gone With The Wind” as there have been occasions on which I’ve seen it — which is to say many, many ways. Jimmy Carter, a native of the state in which the movie is set, once said the release of “Gone With The Wind” on this date in 1939 was “the biggest event to happen in the South in my lifetime.” One could argue with Carter on that point — the Supreme Court’s school-desegration ruling of 1954, among other...

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Some conservatives who should know better legitimize racist attacks on Obama

Like most Americans, I was encouraged about race relations in America when Barack Obama was elected president in 2008. At first, I wasn’t especially surprised at the racist invective that emanated from some quarters at the specter of a black man in the White House. A certain amount of that kind of thing was predictable, I told myself. But, as time has passed, I’ve been shocked and disappointed at the extent to which presumably respectable conservatives have responded with silence, if not actual assent, to the racial bigotry aimed...

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Some right-wingers love to cite the role of Democrats in the segregationist South of yore

Every once in a while, I get a comment on my blog from some conservative who thinks a clever point is made by recalling the days when the Democratic Party was dominated to a certain extent by Southern segregationists. Such comments seem oblivious to the fact that the Democrats long ago cut their ties with segregationists. When Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, he privately said to an aide: “We have lost the South for a generation.” LBJ’s prediction was borne out in part by the extent to which the Democratic and Republican...

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Redskins trademark voided because it’s a racist slur

A certain National Football League franchise has suffered a MAJOR DEFEAT on the field of fair play: The United States Patent and Trademark Office has canceled the Washington Redskins trademark registration, calling the football team’s name “disparaging to Native Americans.” The landmark case, which appeared before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, was filed on behalf of five Native Americans. It was the second time such a case was filed. “This victory was a long time coming and reflects the hard work of many attorneys at our firm,” said...

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