Topic | civil rights

A New Slant on Hate Speech

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The United States Patent and Trademark Office is refusing trademark protection to a Portland, Oregon based rock band called The Slants. Apparently, they believe the name the band is seeking to protect is disparaging to Asians. When I first heard about this I wasn’t sure what to think. On one hand, it seems like a […]

Why I Support Same Sex Marriage as a Civil Right, But Not as a Strategy to Achieve Structural Change

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The pending Supreme Court decisions concerning the constitutionality of California Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act have pushed discussion of same-sex marriage into the mainstream of the news cycle, with many civil rights advocates convinced that regardless of the court’s decision, eventual victory is a done deal. I don’t disagree. I’ve also argued […]

The Durability of Race

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There’s been a lot of talk lately about the death of racism. Many believe that as the global demographics change and Generation Y rises, racism will fade in significance. Some even suggest that what we are witnessing in the Obama backlash is just death throes. That argument ignores history. Here’s what I mean. Neither the […]

Why Immigrant Rights are Human Rights

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A few years ago, a former Mayor of Portland, Oregon asked me the question “why are immigrant rights human rights?” I responded with a clumsy jumble of words having something to do with the United Nations and about ten other things adding up to a total of about 11 too many ideas all poorly articulated. […]