Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee Wants to Criminalize Hate Speech with New Proposed Bill

Black women have had enough when it comes to hate speech.

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) has introduced the Leading Against White Supremacy Act of 2023, looking to place criminal charges on people who share hate speech.

The Congress website says the bill will “prevent and prosecute white supremacy inspired hate crime and conspiracy to commit white supremacy inspired hate crime and to amend title 18, United States Code, to expand the scope of hate crimes.” Those engaging in hate speech could still face criminal charges even if they don’t act on the threats.

The bill proposes penalties for anyone publishing “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, and such published material.” It also takes a hard stance on hate speech promoted on social media, listing platforms as a place where “hate speech motivates another person to go out and commit a racist crime against others,” as reported by The NY Post. “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.”

Hate-fueled crimes have stemmed from online activities.

In 2022, a white supremacist killed 10 people inside a Buffalo supermarket in a predominantly black neighborhood. The NY Post reported that prosecutors said the killer planned the attack because he cared “for the future of the White race.” After Dylan Roof slaughtered nine people at a church in Charleston, SC, CNN reported that a website was found featuring pictures of Roof and statements on why he chose Charleston. “I chose Charleston because it is most historic city in my state, and at one time had the highest ratio of blacks to Whites in the country.”

With a Republican-filled house, some feel the bill will not pass. Fox News stated that the bill has no current cosponsors.