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Texas Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee has introduced a historic bill that would combat white supremacy

Although it may not seem like a particularly impactful behavior, spreading hate online creates a slippery slope that feeds into real-life racial abuse and indoctrination. However, a bill proposed by Texas Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee could officially criminalize hate speech and fight white supremacy.

As part of the Leading Against White Supremacy Act of 2023, Congresswoman Lee introduced legislation “to prevent and prosecute white supremacy-inspired hate crime and conspiracy to commit a white supremacy-inspired hate crime.”

As a result of the conspiracy addition, people who post hate speech on the internet can be charged with criminal offenses under the legislation, even if they don't follow through with their threats.

This includes anyone who publishes “material advancing white supremacy, white supremacist ideology, antagonism based on ‘replacement theory,’ or hate speech that vilifies or is otherwise directed against any non-white person or group.”

The bill lists hate speech on social media platforms as one area where it could lead to criminal charges - if it inspires another person to commit a racist crime.

“Mass shootings and other hate crimes motivated by white supremacy have been increasing in frequency and intensity,” the bill states. “These heinous and virulent crimes are inspired by conspiracy theories, blatant bigotry and mythical falsehoods such as ‘replacement theory.’ All instances must be prevented, and severe criminal penalties must be applied to their perpetrators.”

This level of policy-making is essential for successfully combatting white supremacy. We hope this bill can one day become a reality and lead to racists being held accountable for the harm they cause online and offline.


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