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44 Howard L.J. 311 (2000-2001)
Race Hate Speech: The Pervasive Badge of Slavery That Mocks the Thirteenth Amendment

handle is hein.journals/howlj44 and id is 319 raw text is: Race Hate Speech: The Pervasive Badge
of Slavery That Mocks the
Thirteenth Amendment
PETAL NEVELLA MODESTE*
What is freedom? Is it the mere negation? Is it bare privilege
of not being chained, - of not being bought and sold, branded and
scourged? If this is all, then freedom is a bitter mockery, a cruel
delusion.... But liberty is no negation. It is a substantial, tangible
reality. It is the realization of those imperishable truths of the
Declaration.1
INTRODUCTION
We live in a country where being black is not always a beautiful
thing; in a society that is entirely hostile, and by its nature, seems
determined to cut [black lives down] - that has cut many in the past
and cuts many down everyday2; in a world where the brutality with
which black people are [still] treated simply cannot be overstated,
however unwilling white men may be to hear it.3 In short, being
black in America literally renders certain freedoms hebetudinous.
Indeed, in the nation that describes itself as the greatest on earth
- the place where every person is supposedly the most free - black
people are not truly free. Real freedom eludes them because lovers of
hate are legally permitted through the instrument of free speech to
reinforce cruel myths about black people. Freedom of speech laws
ensure that even though other laws may give blacks access to land,
* The author is a May, 2000 graduate of the Howard University School of Law. She
currently practices corporate law in New York City. The views expressed in this article are the
author's own.
1. JAMES A. GARFIELD, THE WORKS OF JAMES AB3RAM GARFIELD 1:86 (Burke Hinsdale
ed., 1883).
2. JAMES BALDWIN, THE FIRE NEXT TIME 68 (1963).
3. Id.
2001  Vol. 44  No. 2

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