Free Speech & Hate: History’s Lessons
Should the right to free speech extend to the right to engage in hateful expression? At many points in U.S. history, the First Amendment has been invoked to protect the freedom to denigrate people and groups. From decades-old media like The Birth of a Nation, a film that celebrated the racist ideologies of the Ku Klux Klan, to recent legal battles over the reclamation of racial slurs as seen in Matal v. Tam, the question of just how far free speech should go is the focus of this panel discussion. This discussion tackles the question of how a diverse, democratic society can defend free speech while also standing up to bigotry.
Dr. Karlos K. Hill is Advisor to the President for Community Engagement and Regentsʼ Associate Professor of African and African American Studies at the University of Oklahoma. He is also a proud affiliate faculty within the OU History Department and Schusterman Center for Judaic and Israeli Studies. Dr. Hill is the author of three books: Beyond The Rope: The Impact of Lynching on Black Culture and Memory, The Murder of Emmett Till: A Graphic History, and The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre: A Photographic History. His book on the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre won the2022 Lynn McIntoch Award for Excellence, the 2022 Joan Kerr Patterson Book Award from the Western Historical Association, and Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 2022. Dr. Hill founded the Tulsa Race Massacre Oklahoma Teacherʼs Institute to support teaching the history of the race massacre to thousands of middle school and high school students. He also serves on the boards of the Clara Luper Legacy Committee and the Board of Scholars for Facing History and Ourselves. He currently writes a series for The Nation magazine featuring the stories and work of community activists organizing for justice in Black communities.
The daughter of a refugee father from China and an immigrant mother from Jamaica, whose parents themselves were immigrants from Hong Kong, Jennifer Ho is the director of the Center for Humanities & the Arts and Professor of Ethnic Studies, where she teaches courses on Asian American culture and Critical Race Theory. She is past president of the Association for Asian American Studies (2020-2022) and the author of two co-edited essay collections–Teaching Approaches to Asian North American Literature (MLA Press 2022 w/Jenny Wills), Narrative, Race, and Ethnicity in the United States (Ohio State University Press 2017 w/Jim Donahue & Shaun Morgan)–and three scholarly monographs, Consumption and Identity in Asian American Coming-of-Age Novels (Routledge 2005), Racial Ambiguity in Asian American Culture (Rutgers University Press 2015), which won the South Atlantic Modern Language Association award for best monograph, and Understanding Gish Jen (University of South Carolina Press 2015 and 2022 paperback with new introduction). In addition to her academic work, Ho is active in community engagement around issues of race and intersectionality, leading workshops on anti-racism and how to talk about race in our current political climate. You can also follow her on Twitter @drjenho.
Randall Kennedy is Michael R. Klein Professor at Harvard Law School where he teaches courses on contracts, criminal law, and the regulation of race relations. He was born in Columbia, South Carolina. For his education he attended St. Albans School, Princeton University, Oxford University, and Yale Law School. He served as a law clerk for Judge J. Skelly Wright of the United States Court of Appeals and for Justice Thurgood Marshall of the United States Supreme Court. He is a member of the bar of the District of Columbia and the Supreme Court of the United States. Awarded the 1998 Robert F. Kennedy Book Award for Race, Crime, and the Law, Mr Kennedy writes for a wide range of scholarly and general interest publications. His other books are For Discrimination: Race, Affirmative Action, and the Law (2013), The Persistence of the Color Line: Racial Politics and the Obama Presidency (2011), Sellout: The Politics of Racial Betrayal (2008), Interracial Intimacies: Sex, Marriage, Identity, and Adoption (2003), and Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word (2002). A member of the
American Law Institute, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Association, Mr. Kennedy is also a Trustee emeritus of Princeton University.