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Minority RelationsIntergroup Conflict and Cooperation$
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Greg Robinson and Robert S. Chang

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781496810458

Published to University Press of Mississippi: January 2019

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496810458.001.0001

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Civil Rights, Free Speech, and Group Libel

Civil Rights, Free Speech, and Group Libel

(p.65) 3 Civil Rights, Free Speech, and Group Libel
Minority Relations

Cheryl Greenberg

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter examines the contrasting efforts of organizations representing two marginalized groups, blacks and Jews, to counter defamation. In the end, civil rights advocates from both groups came to the conclusion, on a mixture of principled and pragmatic grounds, that it was wiser not to push for adoption of laws against “group libel,” such as those that characterize post-Holocaust Europe and Canada. Yet both groups were forced to wrestle with how to organize and justify protest campaigns against bigoted media representations, including threats of economic reprisals, while refuting charges of censorship. The chapter shows that the absolute embrace of free speech in the United States after World War II was far from inevitable.

Keywords:   blacks, Jews, defamation, civil rights, group libel, bigoted media representations, economic reprisals, censorship, free speech

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