A Critical Race Theory Perspective on Assaultive Speech in U.S. Campus Communities

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3 Scopus citations


US college and university administrators are reluctant to regulate racialized assaultive speech by members of their campus communities, even when the effect and objective of such speech is to demean, degrade, ostracize, and threaten Black, Indigenous, and other people of color. My critical race theory analysis reveals how two US Supreme Court cases commonly used to defend assaultive speech in campus communities, have been misapplied. Both cases were about students expressing political speech—a different legal realm from hate speech that has no educational value and, in my view, merits regulation because of its harmful effect. In this theoretical article, I urge institutional leaders and researchers who are committed to equity in education to challenge the white legal logic that for too long has protected assaultive speech in educational settings at the expense of marginalized communities. I recommend that institutions of higher education establish robust, unapologetic standards and policies for incidents of assaultive speech to compellingly affirm the dignity and inclusion of all campus members.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)244-256
Number of pages13
JournalEquity and Excellence in Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education


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