The Right to Be Racist in College: Racist Speech, White Institutional Space, and the First Amendment Academic Article uri icon


  • 2017 The Authors Law & Policy 2017 The University of Denver/Colorado Seminary Throughout the postcivil rights era, colleges and universities across the United States have periodically experienced explicitly racist incidents on their campuses. From the hurling of racial slurs at students of color, to the hanging of nooses on campus, to students donning Ku Klux Klan outfits or throwing ghetto parties that caricaturize communities of color, these incidents challenge the notion that modern racism has changed to a more subtle form, referred to as color-blind racism. We place these incidents within a broader context of race and institutions, suggesting a connection between overt racist expressions and the more covert elements of neoliberal color-blind racism. Through a critical discourse analysis of news stories about these incidents, the website of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, and the controlling legal cases involving racist expression on campuses, we suggest that explicitly racist incidents operate in tandem with neoliberal educational policies and color-blind racism to mark and reinscribe colleges and universities as white institutional spaces.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 47.2

author list (cited authors)

  • Moore, W. L., & Bell, J. M.

citation count

  • 38

complete list of authors

  • Moore, Wendy Leo||Bell, Joyce M

publication date

  • January 2017