What constitutes racial discrimination?

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What constitutes racial discrimination?

I got arrested for marijuana. I am an international student that is middle eastern. I had my name and address and charges both in the local papers and on the TV news with my name and address and “drug charges”, while 2 other people (Caucasian) were arrested with more marijuana in there house but they weren’t on the news. Is this racial discrimination? And, if so, can I do anything about this? Many people now know about my situation, including my university professors. This is obviously not to my advantage. Can I sue for damage to my reputation?

Asked on April 26, 2011 under Personal Injury, Kansas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

1) First, as to suing for damage to your reputation: defamation is the making of *false* factual statements which damage a person's reputation. True statements are not defamation, and there is no legal protection against having one's reputation damaged by the truth. So the charges are true, it is highly unlikely that you can sustain a defamation action.

2) Generally speaking, racial discrimination is only prevented in certain defined and specific circumstances--e.g. in employment, in housing, in police stops along the highway, etc. There is no law banning racial discrimination in all circumstances, and I am not aware of any banning it in news reporting. Moreoever, the first amendment makes it very hard to sue news organs for news reporting...between these two facts, it is very likely that the newspaper, etc. does not have to be neutral or even handed in how it reports.


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