Palma Joy Strand: The politics of Loving v. Virginia

Posted in Articles, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2017-03-26 01:35Z by Steven

Palma Joy Strand: The politics of Loving v. Virginia

Omaha World-Herald
Omaha, Nebraska
2017-03-16

Palma Joy Strand, Professor of Law
Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska


Alex Brandon

The writer is a law professor and director of the 2040 Initiative at the Creighton University School of Law.

The year 2017 marks the golden anniversary of the landmark court decision Loving v. Virginia. Fifty years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court held that Richard Loving (who happened to be white) and Mildred Jeter (who happened to be black) had a constitutional right to marry.

The right to marry someone of a different race has put down roots. In his book “Racing to Justice,” the writer and social justice advocate john a. powell notes, “Nearly 15 percent, or one in seven, of all new marriages in 2008 were between people of different races or ethnicities.”

These interracial marriages create social ripples. Powell continues, “(M)ore than a third of all adults surveyed reported having a family member whose spouse is of a different race or ethnicity — up from less than a quarter in 2005.” We have moved beyond “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” to routinely having folks of more than one race around our Thanksgiving tables.

Along with mixed-race marriages and families, the proportion of the U.S. population with multiple racial heritages has grown dramatically. The Pew Research Center found in 2013 that the share of multiracial babies had risen from 1 percent in 1970 to 10 percent in 2013.

Loving marriages and Loving families and Loving children have transformed who we are as a nation. In the midst of continued racial separation, there are racial connections — connections that disrupt the same-old, same-old stories.

Yet the relevance of Richard and Mildred Loving and Loving v. Virginia today transcends both marriage and race…

Read the entire article here.

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The Fight for Interracial Marriage Rights in Antebellum Massachusetts by Amber D. Moulton (review)

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, History, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2017-03-25 22:36Z by Steven

The Fight for Interracial Marriage Rights in Antebellum Massachusetts by Amber D. Moulton (review)

Journal of the Early Republic
Volume 37, Number 1, Spring 2017
pages 183-185
DOI: 10.1353/jer.2017.0015

Terri L. Snyder, Professor of American Studies
California State University, Fullerton

The Fight for Interracial Marriage Rights in Antebellum Massachusetts. By Amber D. Moulton. (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2015. Pp. 288. Cloth, $45.00.)

In this sharply focused study, Amber D. Moulton examines the battle to overturn the Massachusetts statute banning interracial marriage, originally enacted in 1705 and repealed in 1843, and offers a penetrating analysis of early arguments over the right to marry. Each chapter critically foregrounds existing studies of miscegenation law, and the epilogue usefully links the legal histories of interracial and same-sex marriage. Long before Loving v. Virginia (1967) or Obergefell v. Hodges (2015), some antebellum activists in Massachusetts argued that marriage was a constitutional right and an essential element of social and political equality. The claim of equal rights alone did not carry the day, however. As Moulton demonstrates, the most persuasive arguments against the law were rooted in appeals to moral reform rather than in demands for racial civil rights.

The Fight for Interracial Marriage Rights is a skillful blend of legal history and lived experience. In her first chapter, Moulton offers a history of the ban and analyzes its consequences for interracial families. Colonial Massachusetts, following the lead of the slave societies of the Caribbean and the Chesapeake, banned interracial marriage in 1705. The statute was expanded in scope and severity in 1786 and remained in place until 1843, when it was overturned. Despite the legal prohibition against interracial unions, women and men of different races continued to marry in Massachusetts. The legal ban was clear-cut in theory, but interracial couples pursued varying strategies in their marriage practices. Some couples gained the protection of legal marriage when they wed outside of Massachusetts and returned to the colony or state as husband and wife. If partners could not be legally married, they established informal unions and protected children through carefully delineated inheritance strategies. Others shunned the law altogether. However, once an informally married interracial couple came to the attention of the courts—particularly when they or their children petitioned for support—their union could be voided and their children declared illegitimate. Class was a clear factor: The poorest couples were more at risk for having their claims to wedlock invalidated. Moreover, the official ban on interracial marriages sometimes existed in opposition to local culture. At least some interracial couples who attained middling status appear to have been accepted in their neighborhoods.

Subsequent chapters investigate the range of advocates who fought against the ban on interracial marriage. In some of the more fascinating examples in her study, Moulton investigates and highlights the transmission of activist aims in African American families. In 1837, for instance, African American activists made the right to interracial marriage a plank on their antislavery platform; some of these activists were either spouses in or children born to interracial unions. The study is also strong in its analysis of gender. Regardless of race, women activists who opposed the ban were charged with indecency. Some opponents claimed that political petitioning in support of interracial marriage—and the racial mixing it implied—was anathema to white femininity. However, some women activists countered that interracial marriage protected women. Marriage, they argued, was a bulwark against licentiousness (which could lead to promiscuity and prostitution), provided the security of patriarchal family structure, and offered official legitimacy for children of these unions as well.

Rather than claims of equal rights, then, the most persuasive arguments in overturning interracial marriage prohibitions in Massachusetts were rooted in the values of traditional marriage and gender roles, patriarchal ideologies and feminine duty, and the importance of Christian morality. At the same time, unforeseen events, such as the Latimer case, which aroused indignation over southern demands that Boston’s officials hunt fugitive slaves, galvanized public opinion in favor of overturning the law. Ultimately, prohibiting interracial marriage was viewed as immoral, unconstitutional, and unjust, as well as a uniquely southern encroachment on individual freedom from which northerners wanted to distance themselves. Despite its innovation, however, Massachusetts did not become a model for the nation: Twenty years after that state legalized interracial marriage, over…

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How U.S. Law Inspired the Nazis

Posted in Articles, Europe, History, Interviews, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2017-03-25 20:13Z by Steven

How U.S. Law Inspired the Nazis

The Chronicle Review
The Chronicle of Higher Education
2017-03-19

Marc Parry, Senior Reporter


Asian immigrants in the late 1920s await processing in an internment center in San Francisco. AP Images

It started with Mein Kampf. James Q. Whitman, a specialist in comparative law at Yale University, was researching a legal-history question when he pulled Adolf Hitler’s mid-1920s manifesto from the shelf. What jumped out at Whitman was the admiration that Hitler expressed for the United States, a nation that the future Führer lauded as “the one state” that had made progress toward establishing a healthy racial order. Digging deeper, Whitman discovered a neglected story about how the Nazis took inspiration from U.S. racial policies during the making of Germany’s Nuremberg Laws, the anti-Jewish legislation enacted in 1935. That history is the focus of Whitman’s new book, Hitler’s American Model (Princeton University Press). The interview that follows has been edited and condensed…

You also write that some Nazis felt that the American legal example went too far. The Nazis were very interested in the way Americans classified members of the different races, defining who counted as black or Asian or whatever it might be. And there, in particular, the most far-reaching Nazi definition of who counted as a Jew was less than what you found in almost any American state. The most far-reaching Nazi definition, which dates to 1933, held that a Jew was anybody who had one Jewish grandparent. There were a few American states that made the same provision with regard to blacks. But most of them went much further than that. At the extreme, American states had what’s called the one-drop rule. That is, one drop of black blood makes you black…

Read the entire interview here.

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Why the Nazis Loved America

Posted in Articles, Europe, History, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2017-03-25 01:14Z by Steven

Why the Nazis Loved America

TIME
2017-03-21

James Whitman, Ford Foundation Professor of Comparative and Foreign Law
Yale Law School


American Nazis parade on East 86th St. in New York City around 1939. Universal History Archive/UIG/Getty Images

Whitman is the author most recently of Hitler’s American Model.

To say America today is verging on Nazism feels like scaremongering. Yes, white nationalism lives in the White House. Yes, President Donald Trump leans authoritarian. Yes, the alt-right says many ugly things. But for all the economic pains of many Americans, there is no Great Depression gnawing away at democracy’s foundations. No paramilitary force is killing people in the streets. Fascism and Nazism have not arrived in the United States.

But there is a different and instructive story to be told about America and the Nazis that raises unsettling questions about what is going on today — and what Nazism means to the U.S.

When we picture a modern American Nazi, we imagine a fanatic who has imported an alien belief system from a far-away place. We also, not wrongly, picture captives in concentration camps and American soldiers fighting the Good War. But the past is more tangled than that. Nazism was a movement drawn in some ways on the American model — a prodigal son of the land of liberty and equality, without the remorse…

Read the entire article here.

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Anti-Miscegenation Laws

Posted in Books, Chapter, History, Law, United Kingdom, United States on 2017-03-24 19:00Z by Steven

Anti-Miscegenation Laws

Chapter in The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Gender and Sexuality Studies
Online ISBN: 9781118663219
Published Online: 2016-04-21
5 pages
DOI: 10.1002/9781118663219.wbegss617

Sally L. Kitch, Regents’ Professor, Women and Gender Studies
Arizona State University

Anti-miscegenation (racial mixing) laws have been enacted around the world throughout history. In mainland British colonies and the United States such laws regulated marriages between persons of different races, primarily between blacks and whites, from 1634 to 1967, when the Supreme Court declared them an unconstitutional mechanism for maintaining white supremacy in Loving v. Virginia. That decision exposed the faulty legal reasoning that exempted interracial marriages from the usual protections provided to marriage and citizenship on the grounds that miscegenation was illicit. British New World island colonies did not enact anti-miscegenation laws, but they did regulate the rights of mixed-race progeny. Often overlooked in discussions of these and other anti-miscegenation laws and policies are their inherent gender biases and their protection of white male prerogatives as a keystone of the doctrine of white supremacy.

Read or purchase the chapter here.

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Sorry, but the Irish were always ‘white’ (and so were Italians, Jews and so on)

Posted in Articles, History, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2017-03-24 01:22Z by Steven

Sorry, but the Irish were always ‘white’ (and so were Italians, Jews and so on)

The Washington Post
2017-03-22

David Bernstein, George Mason University Foundation Professor
George Mason University School of Law, Arlington, Virginia


Immigrants after their arrival in Ellis Island by ship in 1902. (Ullstein Bild via Getty Images)

Whiteness studies” is all the rage these days. My friends who teach U.S. history have told me that this perspective has “completely taken over” studies of American ethnic history. I can’t vouch for that, but I do know that I constantly see people assert, as a matter of “fact,” that Irish, Italian, Jewish and other “ethnic” white American were not considered to be “white” until sometime in the mid-to-late 20th century, vouching for the fact that this understanding of American history has spread widely.

The relevant scholarly literature seems to have started with Noel Ignatiev’s book “How the Irish Became White,” and taken off from there. But what the relevant authors mean by white is ahistorical. They are referring to a stylized, sociological or anthropological understanding of “whiteness,” which means either “fully socially accepted as the equals of Americans of Anglo-Saxon and Germanic stock,” or, in the more politicized version, “an accepted part of the dominant ruling class in the United States.”

Those may be interesting sociological and anthropological angles to pursue, but it has nothing to do with whether the relevant groups were considered to be white…

Read the entire article here.

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50 Years of Loving: Seeking Justice Through Love and Relationships

Posted in Forthcoming Media, Law, Live Events, United States on 2017-03-19 02:11Z by Steven

50 Years of Loving: Seeking Justice Through Love and Relationships

Creighton University | Werner Institute | 2040 Initiative
Omaha, Nebraska
2017-03-23, 17:30 through 2017-03-24, 17:00 CDT (Local Time)

Loving v. Virginia – Background

The U.S. Supreme Court’s 1967 decision in Loving v. Virginia ended legal prohibitions against interracial marriage in the U.S. By eliminating longstanding legal sanctions against “miscegenation,” Loving disrupted the pre-existing social system. The ruling rejected racial separation and hierarchy and endorsed relationships across previously uncrossable racial lines.

The effects of Loving marriages extend beyond those who are themselves married. Since Loving, the proportion of the U.S. population with multiple racial heritages has grown dramatically. Moreover, the children born as a result of Loving have disrupted the social construction of race itself, with more people self-identifying as of more than one race, biracial, multiracial, or mixed.

50 Years of Loving – Symposium Description

The symposium will begin with a feature presentation open to the public on Thursday, March 23, by Mat Johnson, author of the novel “Loving Day” (2015). Symposium participants will then explore the effects that the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1967 decision in Loving v. Virginia has had on U.S. society – institutionally, demographically and relationally. Participants will also develop strategies for moving from thought to action by building relationships across difference…

For more information, click here.

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The Color of Whiteness

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, History, Law, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States, Virginia on 2017-03-17 00:40Z by Steven

The Color of Whiteness

The Color of Whiteness
2017-03-16

Christopher Petrella, Lecturer in the Humanities and the Associate Director of Equity and Diversity
Bates College, Lewiston, Maine

Josh Begley, Data artist & App developer


Josh Begley

Who is white? Who is not? How has that changed throughout U.S. history? Legally speaking, how have some people gone from white to non-white and back again?…

Read the entire photo-essay here.

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Op-Ed: When the Nazis wrote the Nuremberg laws, they looked to racist American statutes

Posted in Articles, Europe, History, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2017-03-14 23:04Z by Steven

Op-Ed: When the Nazis wrote the Nuremberg laws, they looked to racist American statutes

The Los Angeles Times
2017-02-22

James Q. Whitman, Ford Foundation Professor of Comparative and Foreign Law
Yale Law School

James Q. Whitman is a professor of comparative and foreign law at Yale Law School. He is the author of “Hitler’s American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law

The European far right sees much to admire in the United States, with political leaders such as Marine le Pen of France and Geert Wilders of the Netherlands celebrating events — such as the recent presidential election — that seem to bode well for their brand of ethno-nationalism. Is this cross-Atlantic bond unprecedented? A sharp break with the past? If it seems so, that’s only because we rarely acknowledge America’s place in the extremist vanguard — its history as a model, even, for the very worst European excesses.

In the late 1920s, Adolf Hitler declared in “Mein Kampf” that America was the “one state” making progress toward the creation of a healthy race-based order. He had in mind U.S. immigration law, which featured a quota system designed, as Nazi lawyers observed, to preserve the dominance of “Nordic” blood in the United States.

The American commitment to putting race at the center of immigration policy reached back to the Naturalization Act of 1790, which opened citizenship to “any alien, being a free white person.” But immigration was only part of what made the U.S. a world leader in racist law in the age of Hitler.

Then as now, the U.S. was the home of a uniquely bold and creative legal culture, and it was harnessed in the service of white supremacy. Legislators crafted anti-miscegenation statutes in 30 states, some of which threatened severe criminal punishment for interracial marriage. And they developed American racial classifications, some of which deemed any person with even “one drop” of black blood to belong to the disfavored race. Widely denied the right to vote through clever devices like literacy tests, blacks were de facto second-class citizens. American lawyers also invented new forms of de jure second-class citizenship for Filipinos, Puerto Ricans and more…

Read the entire article here.

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A Demographic Threat? Proposed Reclassification of Arab Americans on the 2020 Census

Posted in Articles, Census/Demographics, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2017-03-13 18:11Z by Steven

A Demographic Threat? Proposed Reclassification of Arab Americans on the 2020 Census

Michigan Law Review (Online)
Volume 114, Issue 1 (August 2015)
8 pages

Khaled A. Beydoun, Associate Professor of Law
Mercy School of Law
University of Detroit

INTRODUCTION

Arab Americans are white?” This question—commonly posed as a demonstration of shock or surprise—highlights the dissonance between how “Arab” and “white” are discursively imagined and understood in the United States today.

These four words also encapsulate the dilemma that currently riddles Arab Americans. The population finds itself interlocked between formal classification as white, and de facto recognition as nonwhite. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the government agency that oversees the definition, categorization, and construction of racial categories, currently counts people from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) as white. The United States Census Bureau (Census Bureau), the agency responsible for collecting and compiling demographic data about the American people, adopts these definitions and classifications for the administration of its decennial census. Since the racially restrictive “Naturalization Era,” Arab Americans have been legally classified as white.

Within the context of the pronounced and protracted “War on Terror,” the OMB and Census Bureau may be the only two government entities that still identify Arab Americans as white. Heightening state surveillance of Arab Americans, combined with still escalating societal animus, manifests a shared public and private view of the population as not only nonwhites, but also “others,” “terrorists,” and “radicals.”

Although not a new phenomenon, the association of Arab American identity with subversion, warmongering, and terrorism intensified after the September 11th terrorist attacks. Fourteen years later, broadening antiterror policing coupled with emergent “preventative counter-terrorism” initiatives, or Countering Violent Extremist (CVE) policing, signals that suspicion of Arab American identity is still trending upward. And perhaps, is yet to reach its apex.

This Essay argues that the establishment of a standalone MENA American box on the next U.S. Census may erode Arab American civil liberties by augmenting the precision of government surveillance and monitoring programs. The proposed reclassification of Arab American identity is not simply a moment of racial progress but, I argue, a mechanism that evidences the state’s interest in obtaining more accurate “macro and micro demographic data” about Arab Americans. By illuminating the causal state interests facilitating reform and reclassification, I highlight how more precise and extensive demographic data—collected and compiled with a MENA American box on the U.S. Census form—expands the reach of federal and local antiterror and counter-radicalization policing amid the fluid yet evermore fierce War on Terror…

Read the entire article in HTML or PDF format.

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