Burning Crosses and the intersectional feminist subjective: a critical race theorist responds to Charlottesville and the RAV case.
Who : Professor Mari Matsuda, John Richardson School of Law, UH Manoa
When : Weds. Sept. 13, 12:00 - 1:15PM
Where : Burns Hall Rm. 2118 (East/West Center) UH Manoa
In R. A. V. vs. City of St. Paul, the US Supreme Court struck down a hate crime ordinance that was used to penalize the burning of a cross on a Black family’s front lawn. Critical race theorists have, for decades, challenged the analysis that treats racist hate speech as protected political expression, arguing that burning crosses are intended to, and have the effect of, assaulting victims - no different from spitting, shoving, and other acts of hate that are routinely criminalized. The fourth rise of the Ku Klux Klan, inaugurated on January 20, 2017, once again revives the hate speech/free speech debate. My work supporting criminalization of hate speech is regularly attacked by civil libertarians, post-structuralist feminists (see Judith Butler’s Excitable Speech), as well as Nazis. This talk is an attempt to work through my disagreements with progressive allies in the context of a global reinvigoration of white supremacist hate groups, and to apply the deeply contextual, experiential, collective method of critical race theory to this work.
About Matsuda : From her earliest academic publications, Matsuda has spoken from the perspective and increasingly used the method that has come to be known as critical race theory. She is not only one of its most powerful practitioners, but is among a handful of legal scholars credited with its origin. The voices she has in mind are the voices that have been left out, “outsider” voices speaking as individuals and as members of their communities of origin, voices of subordinate peoples.