What is a White Man?

Posted in Articles, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2014-11-19 23:20Z by Steven

What is a White Man?

The Independent
Volume 41 (1889-05-30)
pages 5-6
Source: The Charles Chesnutt Digital Archive

Charles W. Chesnutt, Esq.

The fiat having gone forth from the wise men of the South that the “all-pervading, all-conquering Anglo-Saxon race” must continue forever to exercise exclusive control and direction of the government of this so-called Republic, it becomes important to every citizen who values his birthright to know who are included in this grandiloquent term. It is of course perfectly obvious that the writer or speaker who used this expression—perhaps Mr. Grady of Georgia—did not say what he meant. It is not probable that he meant to exclude from full citizenship the Celts and Teutons and Gauls and Slavs who make up so large a proportion of our population; he hardly meant to exclude the Jews, for even the most ardent fireeater would hardly venture to advocate the disfranchisement of the thrifty race whose mortgages cover so large a portion of Southern soil. What the eloquent gentleman really meant by this high-sounding phrase was simply the white race; and the substance of the argument of that school of Southern writers to which he belongs, is simply that for the good of the country the Negro should have no voice in directing the government or public policy of the Southern States or of the nation.

But it is evident that where the intermingling of the races has made such progress as it has in this country, the line which separates the races must in many instances have been practically obliterated. And there has arisen in the United States a very large class of the population who are certainly not Negroes in an ethnological sense, and whose children will be no nearer Negroes than themselves. In view, therefore, of the very positive ground taken by the white leaders of the South, where most of these people reside, it becomes in the highest degree important to them to know what race they belong to. It ought to be also a matter of serious concern to the Southern white people; for if their zeal for good government is so great that they contemplate the practical overthrow of the Constitution and laws of the United States to secure it, they ought at least to be sure that no man entitled to it by their own argument, is robbed of a right so precious as that of free citizenship; the “all-pervading, all conquering Anglo-Saxon” ought to set as high a value on American citizenship as the all-conquering Roman placed upon the franchise of his State two thousand years ago. This discussion would of course be of little interest to the genuine Negro, who is entirely outside of the charmed circle, and must content himself with the acquisition of wealth, the pursuit of learning and such other privileges as his “best friends” may find it consistent with the welfare of the nation to allow him; but to every other good citizen the inquiry ought to be a momentous one. What is a white man?…

Read the entire article here.

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Sesquicentennial Event Addresses Colorado Inequality

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, History, Law, Media Archive, Slavery, United States on 2014-11-18 22:21Z by Steven

Sesquicentennial Event Addresses Colorado Inequality

Clarion: The University of Denver’s Newwspaper Since 1892
Denver, Colorado
2014-10-21

Carissa Cherpes

DU hosted a Sesquicentennial Conversation entitled Miscegenation Law, Marriage Equality, and the West 1864-2014 on Oct. 15 in the Sturm College of Law.

Over 50 students, faculty and others gathered to listen to three panelists lecture on how Miscegenation Laws and inequality affected our region throughout history. Miscegenation Laws banned marriages or relationships between mixed raced couples.

The three panelists were Rachel Moran, Ronald J. Stephens and Anna N. Martinez. The moderator was Bill Convery, who holds the position of Colorado State Historian

…Next to present was Moran. She described how Miscegenation Laws originated in the South when concern over mixed race slave children became an issue. The popular opinion was that “mixed race children were black,” and therefore could not be considered free or have rights.

She then went on to talk about California’s Miscegenation Laws, which targeted Asian immigrants. In California, the laws were designed to force Chinese, Japanese and Filipino immigrants to return to their native country.

Moran then discussed how the Colorado territory had Miscegenation Laws as well, but only after additional land was acquired from Mexico. Because the people living in the territory had different customs and laws, there was an invisible boundary where mixed race couples were more accepted. She concluded by explaining how it was not until the 1960s that the Supreme Court decided Miscegenation Laws were unfair

Read the entire article here.

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It’s her Ferguson — and it’s not all black and white

Posted in Articles, Law, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2014-11-17 16:25Z by Steven

It’s her Ferguson — and it’s not all black and white

Cable News Network (CNN)
2014-11-17

Moni Basu

Ferguson, Missouri (CNN) — Stefannie Wheat carried a yard sign all the way from her Midwestern town to the nation’s capital. She visited the White House and tucked it into the guard rail.

“I Love Ferguson,” it said.

It was mid-October and her beloved city turned restive after the police shooting death of black teenager Michael Brown. Businesses were boarded up and losing money, protests had on occasion turned violent and anxiety had spread through the city of 22,000 people northwest of St. Louis.

Ferguson, the quiet community she chose to make home, had become synonymous with racism, injustice and police brutality. Wheat wanted to scream.

Her Ferguson was not what it had become in the headlines.

For this 45-year-old white woman, things were far more complex than they appeared in the news. The world that she, like many others, saw as black and white had morphed into myriad shades of gray over the years.

She has been married to Ken, who is black, for almost two decades. She adopted Christopher, a black child from a foster home. In eight years, he will turn 18, Brown’s age at the time of his death, and embark on life in a world she knows is still full of hate…

Read the entire article here.

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The Value of Whiteness

Posted in Articles, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2014-11-17 01:07Z by Steven

The Value of Whiteness

The Diary of a Mad Law Professor
The Nation
2014-11-12

Patricia J. Williams, James L. Dohr Professor of Law
Columbia Law School, New York, New York

A lawsuit is being waged against the “wrongful birth” of a black child.

In a recent encounter between Fox’s Bill O’Reilly and Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart, the two men discussed “white privilege.” O’Reilly maintained that his accomplishments had nothing to do with race and everything to do with hard work. Stewart pointed out that O’Reilly had grown up in Levittown, New York, a planned community to which the federal and local governments transferred tremendous mortgage subsidies and other public benefits—while barring black people from living there—in the post–World War II period. O’Reilly thereby reaped the benefits of a massive, racially exclusive government wealth transfer. As legal scholar Cheryl Harris observed in a 1993 Harvard Law Review article, “the law has established and protected an actual property interest in whiteness”—its value dependent on the full faith and credit placed in it, ephemeral but with material consequences.

A recent lawsuit brought by Jennifer Cramblett pursues the stolen property of whiteness in unusually literal terms. Cramblett is suing an Ohio sperm bank for mistakenly inseminating her with the sperm of an African-American donor, “a fact that she said has made it difficult for her and her same-sex partner to raise their now 2-year-old daughter [Payton] in an all-white community,” according to the Chicago Tribune. Cramblett is suing for breach of warranty and negligence in mishandling the vials of sperm with which she was inseminated, as well as emotional and economic loss as a result of “wrongful birth,” which deprived her of the whiteness she thought she was purchasing…

Read the entire article here.

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Q&A with Dorothy Roberts

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Interviews, Law, Media Archive, Social Science, United States, Women on 2014-11-17 00:32Z by Steven

Q&A with Dorothy Roberts

Penn Current: News, ideas and conversations from the University of Pennsylvania
2014-10-16

Greg Johnson, Managing Editor

When Dorothy Roberts was 3 months old, she moved with her parents from Chicago to Liberia, where her mother, Iris, had worked as a young woman after leaving Jamaica.

It was the first of Dorothy’s many trips abroad, and one during which her father, Robert, took a bunch of photographs and filmed home movies with his 16-millimeter camera. The Roberts family moved back to Chicago when Dorothy was 2, and she can recall weekly screenings of the 16-milimeter reels from Liberia in he living room.

“I had a very strong interest in learning about other parts of the world from when I was very little,” says Roberts, the 14th Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor. “My whole childhood revolved around learning about other parts of the world and engaging with people from around the world.”

Robert was an anthropologist and Iris was working on her Ph.D. in anthropology when Dorothy was born. They raised their daughters as citizens of the world in a home filled with a wealth of books and ethnographies about different cultures, places, and people. The Roberts home stayed connected with the international community, hosting foreign-exchange students and living overseas.

Five-year-old Dorothy had already decided she was going to be an anthropologist—as her parents expected—and would sneak into her father’s office and spend hours reading his books. The family spent two years in Egypt when she was a teenager, reinforcing her status as a global citizen.

Twenty-one-year-old Dorothy, after finishing her undergraduate studies at Yale, including a year in South America, decided she wanted to be a lawyer, and enrolled at Harvard Law School.

“I got a law degree and went into legal practice because I thought that was the best tool for doing social justice work,” says Roberts, who has joint appointments in the Departments of Africana Studies and Sociology in the School of Arts & Sciences and Penn Law School. Her work focuses on gender, bioethics, health, and social justice issues, specifically those that affect the lives of children, women, and African Americans.

Roberts began her legal career with one of the icons of the Civil Rights Movement, Judge Constance Baker Motley, for whom she clerked in the early 1980s. After practicing law in the private sector, she started her teaching career in 1988 at Rutgers University School of Law-Newark, an institution known for its history of social justice advocacy. She was a professor at Northwestern School of Law before joining Penn in 2012.

The Current sat down with Roberts in Penn Law’s Golkin Hall for a conversation about her globetrotting, her influential parents, racism in the child welfare system, the degradation of black bodies, the resurgence of race in science, and controversial decisions by the United States Supreme Court

…Q.Your most recent book, ‘Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-create Race in the Twenty-first Century,’ examines the resurgence of biological concepts of race in genomic science and biotechnologies. What is it about?

A. Biological explanations have historically been a powerful way of convincing people that social inequality is natural and, therefore, does not require social change. To me, that is what the eugenics movement, which was prominent in the United States from the 1920s until World War II, was all about. Mainstream science in the United States promoted biological explanations for social inequality, claiming it resulted from differences in people’s inherited genetic traits. That basic ideology continues to this day in what is seen as cutting-edge and sophisticated scientific research. You can tie together all of my work from ‘Killing the Black Body’ to ‘Fatal Invention’ as uncovering the ways in which that basic philosophy—disguising social inequalities as biological ones—continues to fuel unjust social policies and legitimize very brutal practices against the most marginalized people in this country, blaming them for their own disadvantaged status. How can you blame the least powerful people for creating powerful systems of inequality in the United States? But the biological explanation for inequality deludes people into thinking that is possible—that it’s natural for black infants to die at two or three times the rate of white infants; it’s natural for black people to be incarcerated at many times the rate of white people; it’s natural for black children to have lower graduation rates than white children; it’s natural for black people to have a fraction of the wealth white people have. Americans who don’t want to explain these glaring inequities as stemming from institutionalized racism find comfort in explaining them as stemming from a natural order of human beings…

…What are you currently working on? I understand you are continuing a research project that was originally started by your father.

A. I’m working on a book using about 500 interviews of black/white couples that my father conducted in Chicago from 1937 to 1980. He was working on a book on interracial marriage my whole childhood but he never wrote it. My father was white and my mother was black. I want to take advantage of this extraordinary archive to study the relationship between the experiences and views of these couples and the intensifying challenge to the racial order that occurred during that period. How did they understand their own marriages in terms of changing race relations and politics in Chicago? I’m very interested in the role interracial marriage has played in perpetuating and contesting racial inequality.

While my father believed that interracial marriage could be a key strategy for overcoming racism, I neither glorify nor ignore its political significance. I am investigating interracial marriage from the perspective of black-white couples without assuming an inherently problematic or progressive role in the advancement of racial equality. And I’m very excited to explore what the interviews reveal.

Read the entire interview here.

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Honduran held in Mexican jail returns home

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, Law, Live Events, Media Archive, Mexico, United States on 2014-11-09 20:35Z by Steven

Honduran held in Mexican jail returns home

BBC News
2014-11-08

A Honduran migrant who was jailed for more than five years by Mexican police is expected to arrive in his home country on Sunday.

Angel Amilcar Colon Quevedo belongs to the Garifuna community, descended from African slaves and indigenous groups.

He was picked up in 2009 by police in Tijuana in Mexico as he tried to across the border into the United States.

Human rights organisations say Mr Colon was tortured and detained on the basis of his ethnicity.

Mr Colon was released in mid-October but stayed on in Mexico to publicise the treatment he had received.

International human rights organisations worked alongside local rights campaigners to release him.

“I am an example of thousands of people who are in jail today and who do not have anyone defending them.” said Mr Colon…

…The Garifuna

The black communities living on the Caribbean coast of Central America are commonly called Garifuna or Black Carib, or as they refer to themselves, Garinagu.

Over the last three centuries, in spite of many migrations, re-settlements and interactions with Indians, British, French and Spanish, they have preserved much of the culture from their two main branches of ancestry.

The Garinagu are the descendants of Caribs Indians and Black African slaves. The Caribs were originally indigenous peoples from South America…

Read the entire article here.

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Race, Sex, and the Freedom to Marry: Loving v. Virginia

Posted in Books, History, Law, Media Archive, Monographs, United States, Virginia on 2014-11-09 17:36Z by Steven

Race, Sex, and the Freedom to Marry: Loving v. Virginia

University Press of Kansas
November 2014
296 pages
5-1/2 x 8-1/2
Cloth ISBN 978-0-7006-1999-3, $39.95(s)
Paper ISBN 978-0-7006-2000-5, $19.95(s)
Ebook ISBN 978-0-7006-2048-7

Peter Wallenstein, Professor of History
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

In 1958 Mildred Jeter and Richard Loving, two young lovers from Caroline County, Virginia, got married. Soon they were hauled out of their bedroom in the middle of the night and taken to jail. Their crime? Loving was white, Jeter was not, and in Virginia—as in twenty-three other states then—interracial marriage was illegal. Their experience reflected that of countless couples across America since colonial times. And in challenging the laws against their marriage, the Lovings closed the book on that very long chapter in the nation’s history. Race, Sex, and the Freedom to Marry tells the story of this couple and the case that forever changed the law of race and marriage in America.

The story of the Lovings and the case they took to the Supreme Court involved a community, an extended family, and in particular five main characters—the couple, two young attorneys, and a crusty local judge who twice presided over their case—as well as such key dimensions of political and cultural life as race, gender, religion, law, identity, and family. In Race, Sex, and the Freedom to Marry, Peter Wallenstein brings these characters and their legal travails to life, and situates them within the wider context—even at the center—of American history. Along the way, he untangles the arbitrary distinctions that long sorted out Americans by racial identity—distinctions that changed over time, varied across space, and could extend the reach of criminal law into the most remote community. In light of the related legal arguments and historical development, moreover, Wallenstein compares interracial and same-sex marriage.

A fair amount is known about the saga of the Lovings and the historic court decision that permitted them to be married and remain free. And some of what is known, Wallenstein tells us, is actually true. A detailed, in-depth account of the case, as compelling for its legal and historical insights as for its human drama, this book at long last clarifies the events and the personalities that reconfigured race, marriage, and law in America.

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Marni Soupcoff: A law that bans ‘mixed race’ couples? Yes. In 2014. In Canada

Posted in Articles, Canada, Law, Native Americans/First Nation on 2014-11-07 16:20Z by Steven

Marni Soupcoff: A law that bans ‘mixed race’ couples? Yes. In 2014. In Canada

National Post
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
2014-11-06

Marni Soupcoff, Deputy Comment Editor

A Canadian woman falls in love and joins her life with that of a man of a different race. As a direct result of this union, she is harassed, receives notice of eviction, and is told she must leave her home.

What century are we talking about? This one, I’m afraid; and the culprit is not some errant racist landlord trying to throw one tenant out of a building. It’s the Kahnawake Mohawk council, which has a law that bans all “mixed race” couples from living anywhere in its Montreal-area territory.

Waneek Horn-Miller is half of one of those “mixed race” couples who has been told to get out. Horn-Miller may be a Mohawk, but because her common-law husband (and the father or her two children) is white, the aboriginal activist and former Olympian is no longer welcome or permitted to live on Kahnawake territory.

This is happening in 2014. Which, to put things in context, is 47 years after the United States Supreme Court ruled anti-miscegenation (or race-mixing) laws unconstitutional in that country

Read the entire article here.

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Whiteness as Property

Posted in Articles, History, Law, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, United States on 2014-10-23 15:36Z by Steven

Whiteness as Property

Harvard Law Review
Volume 106, Number 8 (June 1993)
pages 1707-1791

Cheryl I. Harris, Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Professor in Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
School of Law
University of California, Los Angeles

Issues regarding race and racial identity as well as questions pertaining to property rights and ownership have been prominent in much public discourse in the United States. In this article, Professor Harris contributes to this discussion by positing that racial identity and property are deeply interrelated concepts. Professor Harris examines how whiteness, initially constructed as a form of racial identity, evolved into a form of property, historically and presently acknowledged and protected in American law. Professor Harris traces the origins of whiteness as property in the parallel systems of domination of Black and Native American peoples out of which were created racially contingent forms of property and property rights. Following the period of slavery and conquest, whiteness became the basis of racialized privilege—a type of status in which white racial identity provided the basis for allocating societal benefits both private and public in character. These arrangements were ratified and legitimated in law as a type of status property. Even as legal segregation was overturned, whiteness as property continued to serve as a barrier to effective change as the system of racial classification operated to protect entrenched power.

Next, Professor Harris examines how the concept of whiteness as property persists in current perceptions of racial identity, in the law’s misperception of group identity and in the Court’s reasoning and decisions in the arena of affirmative action. Professor Harris concludes by arguing that distortions in affirmative action doctrine can only be addressed by confronting and exposing the property interest in whiteness and by acknowledging the distributive justification and function of affirmative action as central to that task.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • I. INTRODUCTION
  • II. THE CONSTRUCTION OF RACE AND THE EMERGENCE OF WHITENESS AS PROPERTY
    • A. Forms of Racialized Property: Relationships Between Slavery, Race, and Property
      • 1. The Convergence of Racial and Legal Status
      • 2. Implications for Property
    • B. Forms of Racialized Property: Relationships Between Native American Land Seizure, Race, and Property
    • C. Critical Characteristics of Property and Whiteness
      • 1. Whiteness as a Traditional Form of Property
      • 2. Modern Views of Property as Defining Social Relations
      • 3. Property and Expectations
      • 4. The Property Functions of Whiteness
        • (a) Rights of Disposition
        • (b) Right to Use and Enjoyment
        • (c) Reputation and Status Property
        • (d) The Absolute Right to Exclude
    • D. White Legal Identity: The Law’s Acceptance and Legitimation of Whiteness as Property
      • 1. Whiteness as Racialized Privilege
      • 2. Whiteness, Rights, and National Identity
  • III. BOUND BY LAW: THE PROPERTY INTEREST IN WHITENESS AS LEGAL DOCTRINE IN PLESSY AND BROWN
    • A. Plessy
    • B. Brown I
    • C. Brown II
    • D. Brown’s Mixed Legacy
  • IV. THE PERSISTENCE OF WHITENESS AS PROPERTY
    • A. The Persistence of Whiteness as Valued Social Identity
    • B. Subordination Through Denial of Group Identity
    • C. Subjugation Through Affirmative Action Doctrine
      • 1. Bakke
      • 2. Croson
      • 3. Wygant
  • V. DE-LEGITIMATING THE PROPERTY INTEREST IN WHITENESS THROUGH AFFIRMATIVE ACTION
    • A. Corrective Justice, Sin, and Whiteness as Property
    • B. Affirmative Action: A New Form of Status Property?
    • C. What Affirmative Action Has Been; What Affirmative Action Might Become
  • VI. CONCLUSION

…Because the “presumption of freedom [arose] from color [white]” and the “black color of the race [raised] the presumption of slavery,” whiteness became a shield from slavery, a highly volatile and unstable form of property. In the form adopted in the United States, slavery made human beings market-alienable and in so doing, subjected human life and personhood—that which is most valuable—to the ultimate devaluation. Because whites could not be enslaved or held as slaves, the racial line between white and Black was extremely critical; it became a line of protection and demarcation from the potential threat of commodification, and it determined the allocation of the benefits and burdens of this form of property. White identity and whiteness were sources of privilege and protection; their absence meant being the object of property.

Slavery as a system of property facilitated the merger of white identity and property. Because the system of slavery was contingent on and conflated with racial identity, it became crucial to be “white,” to be identified as white, to have the property of being white. Whiteness was the characteristic, the attribute, the property of free human beings…

Read the entire article here.

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Dorothy Roberts Lecture: “Fatal Invention: The New Biopolitics of Race”

Posted in Canada, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Law, Live Events, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science on 2014-10-22 15:18Z by Steven

Dorothy Roberts Lecture: “Fatal Invention: The New Biopolitics of Race”

McMaster University
CIBC Hall, McMaster University Student Centre (MUSC 319)
280 Main Street West
Hamilton, Ontario, L8S4L9, Canada
2014-10-23, 19:00-21:00 EDT (Local Time)

The Bourns Lectureship in Bioethics and the McMaster Centre for Scholarship in the Public Interest present a lecture by Dorothy Roberts, George A. Weiss University Professor of Law and Sociology, Raymond Pace and Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander Professor of Civil Rights

Dorothy Roberts is the fourteenth Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor, George A. Weiss University Professor, and the inaugural Raymond Pace and Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander Professor of Civil Rights at the University of Pennsylvania, where she holds appointments in the Law School and Departments of Africana Studies and Sociology. An internationally recognized scholar, public intellectual, and social justice advocate, Roberts has written and lectured extensively on the interplay of gender, race, and class in legal issues and has been a leader in transforming public thinking and policy on reproductive health, child welfare, and bioethics.

She is the author of many award-winning texts including: Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-Created Race in the Twenty-First Century (The New Press 2011), Shattered Bonds: The Color of Child Welfare (Basic Civitas Books 2002), and Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty (Random House 1997).

During her lecture at McMaster University, Roberts will examine how the myth of the biological concept of race – revived by purportedly cutting-edge science, race-specific drugs, genetic testing, and DNA databases – continues to undermine a just society and promote inequality in a supposedly “post-racial” era.

For more information, click here. View the poster here.

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