Chapter

Power in Public: Reactions, Responses, and Resistance to Offensive Public Speech

by Laura Beth Nielsen

in Speech and Harm

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780199236282
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741357 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199236282.003.0007
Power in Public: Reactions, Responses, and Resistance to Offensive Public Speech

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Many maintain that the proper remedy for harmful speech is ‘more speech’. This chapter argues that this prescription relies on faulty empirical assumptions. As the empirical evidence shows, targets of problematic race- and gender-related public speech do not in fact ‘talk back’, for many reasons. The legal treatment of such speech contrasts with that of begging. Because there are already a variety of formal mechanisms in place that discourage begging, it is easier for targets to respond to begging. In this way, the law protects the powerful from harassment in public places, while placing on its less privileged members a burdensome choice between responding or accepting their own subordination.

Keywords: free speech; First Amendment; begging; sex; race; harm; harassment; public; speech

Chapter.  11446 words. 

Subjects: Feminist Philosophy

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