The Right to Be Racist in College: Racist Speech, White Institutional Space, and the First Amendment
22 Pages Posted: 25 Apr 2017
Date Written: April 2017
Throughout the post–civil rights era, colleges and universities across the United States have periodically experienced explicitly racist incidents on their campuses. From the hurling of racial slurs at students of color, to the hanging of nooses on campus, to students donning Ku Klux Klan outfits or throwing “ghetto” parties that caricaturize communities of color, these incidents challenge the notion that modern racism has changed to a more subtle form, referred to as color‐blind racism. We place these incidents within a broader context of race and institutions, suggesting a connection between overt racist expressions and the more covert elements of neoliberal color‐blind racism. Through a critical discourse analysis of news stories about these incidents, the website of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, and the controlling legal cases involving racist expression on campuses, we suggest that explicitly racist incidents operate in tandem with neoliberal educational policies and color‐blind racism to mark and reinscribe colleges and universities as white institutional spaces.
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