In Lauren Freeman & Jeanine Weekes Schroer (eds.), Microaggressions and Philosophy. New York: Routeledge. pp. 121-145 (2020)

Emma McClure
University of Toronto, St. George Campus
At first glance, hate speech and microaggressions seem to have little overlap beyond being communicated verbally or in written form. Hate speech seems clearly macro-aggressive: an intentional, obviously harmful act lacking the ambiguity (and plausible deniability) of microaggressions. If we look back at historical discussions of hate speech, however, many of these assumed differences turn out to be points of similarity. The harmfulness of hate speech only became widely acknowledged after a concerted effort by critical race theorists, feminists, and other activists. Before the 1990s, slurs were widely considered socially acceptable behavior: mere jokes that weren’t intended to be harmful. Authors like Richard Delgado, Mari Matsuda, and Charles Lawrence pushed back against this dismissal. In this chapter, I show that their arguments for the serious harmfulness of hate speech prefigure and provide support for current debates about the serious harmfulness of microaggressions. Exploring resonances with the 1980s hate speech debate will allow us to explain why microaggressions fall below the cutoff for legal liability but remain apt targets for moral blame.
Keywords microaggression  microaggressions  hate speech  critical race theory  slurs  violence  racism  legal philosophy
Categories (categorize this paper)
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Upload history
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Hate Speech and the Problems of Agency.Kory Schaff - 2000 - Social Philosophy Today 16:185-201.
What is Hate Speech? Part 1: The Myth of Hate.Alexander Brown - 2017 - Law and Philosophy 36 (4):419-468.
What is Hate Speech? Part 2: Family Resemblances.Alexander Brown - 2017 - Law and Philosophy 36 (5):561-613.
Dignity, Harm, and Hate Speech.Robert Mark Simpson - 2013 - Law and Philosophy 32 (6):701-728.
What Is the Harm of Hate Speech?Eric Barendt - 2019 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 22 (3):539-553.
Slurs, Pejoratives, and Hate Speech.Mihaela Popa-Wyatt - 2020 - Oxford Bibliographies in Philosophy.


Added to PP index

Total views
53 ( #175,610 of 2,331,160 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
53 ( #10,588 of 2,331,160 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes