Harvard BlackLetter Law Journal/Harvard Journal on Race and Ethnic Justice, Vol. 25, p. 199, 2009
30 Pages Posted: 16 Oct 2009 Last revised: 11 Apr 2015
Date Written: October 13, 2009
A respectable newspaper asserted: "Racist has become a largely meaningless term of political invective-like . . . Liberal, Neocon[servative], name your favorite term of political invective." This article investigates the difference between the labels “racist,” on the one hand, and “liberal” and “conservative,” on the other, in four contexts: employment, admission to the bar, the use of peremptory challenges in jury selection, and defamation law. The article concludes that the newspaper got it wrong: the epithet “racist” is significant and harmful, unlike the generally benign classifications “liberal” and “conservative.” The lesson: the label “racist” is a pernicious pejorative and is generally recognized by the law as such. It should not be bandied about frivolously, but, rather, should be reserved for those situations in which actual racial discrimination exists.
Keywords: racism, equality, civil rights, equal protection, social justice
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Steinbuch, Robert, Racist (October 13, 2009). Harvard BlackLetter Law Journal/Harvard Journal on Race and Ethnic Justice, Vol. 25, p. 199, 2009 . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1488561