By Laura Beth Nielsen

ISBN-10: 0691126100

ISBN-13: 9780691126104

ISBN-10: 1400826292

ISBN-13: 9781400826292

Offensive highway speech--racist and sexist comments which can make its pursuits consider either psychologically and bodily threatened--is strangely universal in our society. Many argue that this speech is so detestable that it may be banned below legislation. yet is that this a space coated via the 1st modification correct to loose speech? Or may still or not it's banned?In this elegantly written booklet, Laura Beth Nielsen pursues the solutions through probing the criminal cognizance of standard voters. utilizing a mix of box observations and in-depth, semistructured interviews, she surveys 100 women and men, a few of whom are regimen goals of offensive speech, approximately how such speech impacts their lives. Drawing on those interviews in addition to an interdisciplinary physique of scholarship, Nielsen argues that racist and sexist speech creates, reproduces, and reinforces present platforms of hierarchy in public areas. The legislations works to normalize and justify offensive public interactions, she concludes, supplying, in essence, a "license to harass."Nielsen relates the result of her interviews to statistical surveys that degree the effect of offensive speech at the public. instead of arguing no matter if legislations is the fitting treatment for offensive speech, she permits that the advantages to democracy, to group, and to society of permitting such speech may actually outweigh the burdens imposed. still, those burdens, and the tales of the folk who undergo them, will not be stay invisible and outdoors the controversy.

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Offensive road speech--racist and sexist feedback which can make its pursuits believe either psychologically and bodily threatened--is unusually universal in our society. Many argue that this speech is so detestable that it may be banned below legislation. yet is that this a space lined through the 1st modification correct to loose speech?

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Additional resources for License to Harass: Law, Hierarchy, and Offensive Public Speech (The Cultural Lives of Law)

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Sexual subordination, in its various forms, is accomplished when women are thought of as less than full human beings. Of course, being subjected to an offensive, sexually suggestive comment cannot be equated with being the victim of date rape or domestic violence. But these forms of sexual subordination exist on a spectrum and are related to one another. In the same way that a burning cross and a history of lynching are connected in the minds of those who call such expressive activity “hate speech,” I contend that sexual suggestions, threats, and directives are linked to the history of violent sexual subordination of women.

Feminism has begun to reverse some of this thinking, revealing the absurdity of blaming the victim for the violent actions of others. With sexually suggestive speech, however, women are supposed to be attered (someone nds me attractive) and grateful that it was not worse (he didn’t rape me) rather than viewing such treatment as symptomatic of the pervasive system of gender hierarchy at work all the time. Sexist speech is just one of the ways that hierarchy is manifested in public places. L AW A N D P O W E R I N S I D E WA L K E N C O U N T E R S 37 Law’s Dominance The problems associated with street harassment may be underestimated not just because of a failure to fully understand gender domination, but also due to the legitimizing effects of law in the form of the First Amendment.

Although speech restrictions in the workplace now are widely accepted (but see Volokh 1992), the idea that women should not suffer unreasonable sexual advances by people with power over them was, until very recently, not widely accepted. Sexual harassment in the workplace was a novel legal claim just twenty years ago. But in recent years, prohibitions on sexual harassment in the workplace have become accepted in the law L AW A N D P O W E R I N S I D E WA L K E N C O U N T E R S 25 and in society more generally.

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License to Harass: Law, Hierarchy, and Offensive Public Speech (The Cultural Lives of Law) by Laura Beth Nielsen


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