US Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee Introduces New Bill

Preventing racist violence and white supremacy inspired hate crimes.

Representative Sheila Jackson Lee
Representative Sheila Jackson Lee

House Representative Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), has introduced a new bill in the House of Representatives to tackle racist violence and white supremacist conspiracies.

The Leading Against White Supremacy Act is intended “to prevent and prosecute white supremacy inspired hate crime and conspiracy to commit white supremacy inspired hate crime.” Mass shootings and other hate crimes motivated by white supremacy have been “increasing in frequency and intensity,” the bill states.

Under Jackson Lee’s bill, people who propagate racist ideology and conspiracy theories online could be held legally responsible when individuals commit violence because they are inspired to do so by such online material.

Perhaps the most notable aspect of the Leading Against White Supremacy Act is its broad definition of “conspiracy to engage in white supremacy inspired hate crime.” That includes a person 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.”

In recent years, online forums and social media in particular, have been used to radicalize individuals into white supremacist ideology. The most recent hate-fueled mass shooting involved a 19-year-old white supremacist who gunned down ten people inside a Buffalo supermarket in a predominantly Black neighborhood he targeted for its demographics. Before the May massacre, the teen posted a racist manifesto online planning the attack because he cared “for the future of the white race,” prosecutors said.

In condemning hate speech in general, the proposed law also specifically references “replacement theory” as a white supremacist ideology applicable to the law.