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The Freedom to Be Racist?How the United States and Europe Struggle to Preserve Freedom and Combat Racism$
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Erik Bleich

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199739684

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199739684.001.0001

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How Much Freedom for Racists?

How Much Freedom for Racists?

(p.133) 7 How Much Freedom for Racists?
The Freedom to Be Racist?

Erik Bleich (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The comparative historical approach of the previous chapters helps us understand what countries have done. Noting the variety of approaches implemented also spurs us to think about how much freedom we should grant to racists, and just how societies should go about making these vital decisions. Rather than providing a one-size-fits-all answer to the first issue, this chapter offers a framework that encourages individuals to formulate conclusions based on the interaction of three factors: an understanding of the context of the decision; an assessment of the likely effects of particular policy choices; and a reflection about key principles that focuses on gauging the harm of racism and calibrating a proportionate response to that harm. Turning to the second concern, the chapter emphasizes the importance of a process of public deliberation. Balancing core values is a difficult task in any country. This chapter makes the case that the most legitimate outcomes are likely to emerge from citizen engagement through the legislative process rather than from top-down decisionmaking through the courts.

Keywords:   freedom, racism, public values, context, effects, principles, harm, deliberation

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