Biracial Cool: Bill de Blasio’s Fresh Electoral Asset

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2013-11-11 11:12Z by Steven

Biracial Cool: Bill de Blasio’s Fresh Electoral Asset

The Atlantic
2013-11-06

Kevin Noble Maillard, Professor of Law
Syracuse University

The New York mayor-elect’s family—both fascinatingly ordinary and shockingly modern—proved to be one his greatest strengths.

“I’m Bill de Blasio, and I’m not a boring white guy.”

How’s that for a political opener? This is how the New York mayor-elect describes himself. At an August fundraiser for the Young Progressives for de Blasio, his daughter Chiara introduced him to the crowd, making an appeal for a new kind of inclusive city politics. Flanked by her entire family, she remarked, “If we’re gonna bring new ideas to the table and create a world, a society … where everyone has a chance, we need to start listening to everybody’s ideas.”

What are these bold and inventive ideas of the new mayor? Some of them follow a traditional Democratic nesting doll scheme: good government followed by more jobs succeeded by affordable housing topped off by better schools. Add in reason, compassion, equality, and whoomp! There it is—a consummate progressive platform. But the de Blasio campaign offered another idea that most campaigns can’t: the racially integrated family.

Like it or not, it works.

De Blasio is white. His wife, Chirlane McCray, is black. Their two children, Dante and Chiara, are biracial. Their campaign literature relentlessly spotlighted the effortless interracial cool of Brooklyn bohemia—that wonderful, eucalyptus-scented world of woody brownstones, aromatic teas, and gloriously integrated Cheerios breakfasts. His website features his family and marriage first, ahead of “Issues.” At his rallies, his wife and children are the feature rather than the curtain call. His mailings ask recipients to “Meet the BROOKLYN FAMILY who’s fighting to change New York.” They picture the smiling family, drinking orange juice and playing Trivial Pursuit

Read the entire article here.

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Is Interracial Marriage Still Scandalous?

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2013-06-15 03:49Z by Steven

Is Interracial Marriage Still Scandalous?

Room For Debate
The New York Times
2013-06-13

Kevin Noble Maillard, Professor of Law
Syracuse University

Gary B. Nash, Professor Emeritus of History
University of California, Los Angeles

Heidi W. Durrow, Author and Co-Founder
Mixed Roots Film and Literary Festival

Diane Farr, Actress and Writer

Rose Cuison Villazor, Professor of Law
University of California, Davis

This month marks almost 50 years since the Supreme Court case of Loving v. Virginia, which made interracial marriage legal nationwide. Marriages between people of different races have climbed since, to a high of 8.4 percent in 2010.

Does this mean that we have achieved a colorblind society, or just that the hate has moved to YouTube? In an age when white people are becoming a minority, is interracial marriage still scandalous?

Kevin Noble Maillard, a professor of law at Syracuse University, suggested this discussion.

Read the entire discussion here.

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‘Loving’ as the official birth of Multiracial America?

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes, Law on 2013-03-18 15:09Z by Steven

The year 1967 becomes the temporal landmark for the beginning of an interracial nation. That year, the United States Supreme Court ruled state antimiscegenation laws unconstitutional in Loving v. Virginia. In addition to outlawing interracial marriage, these restrictive laws had created a presumption of illegitimacy for historical claims of racial intermixture. Not all states had antimiscegenation laws, but the sting of restriction extended to other states to forge a collective forgetting of mixed race. Defenders of racial purity could depend on these laws to render interracial relationships illegitimate. Looking back to Loving as the official birth of Multiracial America reinforces the prevailing memory of racial separatism while further underscoring the illegitimacy of miscegenations past. By establishing racial freedom in marriage, Loving also sets a misleading context for the history of mixed race in America. Even though Loving instigates the open acceptance of interracialism, it unintentionally creates a collective memory that mixed race people and relationships did not exist before 1967…

Kevin Noble Maillard, “The Multiracial Epiphany of Loving.” Fordham Law Review. May 2008, Vol. 76, No. 6 pages 2709-2733.

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Playing the Interracial Card

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2012-07-14 15:34Z by Steven

Playing the Interracial Card

The New York Times
2012-07-12

Kevin Noble Maillard, Associate Professor of Law
Syracuse University

The Miscegenation Ball” Source: Smithsonian Museum of American History (1864)

Color print of a dance occuring at the Lincoln Central Campaign Club in New York Sept. 22, 1864. A portrait of Lincoln hangs on the wall. Black women fashionably dressed dance and converse with white men.

What is the most reliable way to destroy a political career? Financial shenanigans, criminal records or college antics are all reliable showstoppers, but it’s usually the salacious sex scandal that brings the house down. Jack Ryan, who ran for the Senate against Barack Obama (for a while), brought us Parisian sex clubs. Mark Sanford, former governor of South Carolina, famously hiked the Appalachian Trail. And former senator John Edwards offered a scorching mess of “What To Expect When You’re Expecting.”

Add race to the question — particularly interrace — and political prurience goes into overdrive. The confluence of miscegenation and politics speaks to America’s fundamental anxiety about racial boundaries. It’s been a rug-puller of careers as long America has been a republic.

When the candidate is one race, and the spouse/partner/“friend” is another, opponents find a combustible cocktail to stir voter insecurities. Ask the ghost of Thomas Jefferson, who weathered decades of criticism about his relationship with “Dusky Sally” [Sally Hemings], his mixed-race slave who bore six mixed-race children. Consider Richard Johnson, vice president under Martin Van Buren, whom the press condemned for taking a “jet-black, thick-lipped, odiferous negro wench” as his common-law wife. Fast forward to Harold Ford Jr., who was maligned during his 2006 Senate campaign in Tennessee as a white woman-loving playboy. For these figures — just a few of many — the color line drew rings around their reputation.

Why would an interracial relationship become a dangerous political liaison? For most people, sex and relationships are private actions, but for public figures, intimate life turns into news. Add race to the mix, and it raises eyebrows. Obama had a white girlfriend in college? Sarah Palin may or may not have dated a black athlete? There are European royals of black and Asian descent? (Lichtenstein and Denmark.) At minimum, such pairings are imaginatively interesting. But why does it matter?…

…Miscegenation is the original race card. Accusations have affected all political persuasions and races, to a point where the fixation becomes the candidate’s defining element. Jefferson is certainly not alone in the accusations against him. Abraham Lincoln’s opponents published a campaign cartoon, “The Miscegenation Ball,” that lampooned an interracial regime where white men and black women freely dance, flirt and carouse. And Strom Thurmond, who infamously denounced integration of homes, schools and pools, was ultimately revealed to have a mixed pool of his own

Read the entire essay here.

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Loving vs. Virginia in a Post-Racial World: Rethinking Race, Sex, and Marriage

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Gay & Lesbian, Law, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation on 2012-05-28 19:11Z by Steven

Loving vs. Virginia in a Post-Racial World: Rethinking Race, Sex, and Marriage

Cambridge University Press
June 2012
300 pages
Hardback ISBN-13: 9780521198585
Paperback ISBN-13: 9780521147989

Edited by

Kevin Noble Maillard, Professor of Law
Syracuse University

Rose Cuison Villazor, Professor of Law
University of California, Davis

In 1967, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that laws prohibiting interracial marriage were unconstitutional in Loving vs. Virginia. Although this case promotes marital freedom and racial equality, there are still significant legal and social barriers to the free formation of intimate relationships. Marriage continues to be the sole measure of commitment, mixed relationships continue to be rare, and same-sex marriage is only legal in 6 out of 50 states. Most discussion of Loving celebrates the symbolic dismantling of marital discrimination. This book, however, takes a more critical approach to ask how Loving has influenced the “loving” of America. How far have we come since then, and what effect did the case have on individual lives?

Table of Contents

  • Introduction Kevin Noble Maillard and Rose Cuison Villazor
  • Part I: Explaining Loving v. Virginia
    • 1. The legacy of Loving John DeWitt Gregory and Joanna L. Grossman
  • Part II: Historical Antecedents to Loving
    • 2. The ‘love’ of Loving Jason A. Gillmer
    • 3. Loving in Indian territory: tribal miscegenation law in historical perspective Carla Pratt
    • 4. American mestizo: Filipinos and antimiscegenation laws in California Leti Volpp
    • 5. Perez v. Sharp and the limits of Loving: race, marriage, and citizenship reconsidered R. A. Lenhardt
  • Part III: Loving and Interracial Relationships: Contemporary Challenges
    • 6. The road to Loving: the legacy of antimiscegenation law Kevin Noble Maillard
    • 7. Love at the margins: the racialization of sex and the sexualization of race Camille A. Nelson
    • 8. The crime of Loving: Loving, Lawrence, and beyond I. Bennett Capers
    • 9. What’s Loving got to do with it? Law shaping experience and experience shaping law Renée M. Landers
    • 10. Fear of a ‘Brown’ planet or a new hybrid culture? Jacquelyn Bridgeman
  • Part IV: Considering the Limits of Loving
    • 11. Black pluralism in post-Loving America Taunya Lovell Banks
    • 12. Multiracialism and reparations: accounting for political blackness Angelique Davis
    • 13. Finding a Loving home Angela Onwuachi-Willig and Jacob Willig-Onwuachi
  • Part V: Loving outside the United States Borders
    • 14. Racially inadmissible wives Rose Cuison Villazor
    • 15. Flying buttresses Nancy K. Ota
    • 16. Crossing borders: Loving v. Virginia as a story of migration Victor Romero
  • Part VI: Loving and Beyond: Marriage, Intimacy and Diverse Relationships
    • 17. Black vs. gay: centering LBGT people of color in civil marriage debates Adele Morrison
    • 18. Forty years after Loving: a legacy of unintended consequences Rachel F. Moran
    • 19. The end of marriage Tucker Culbertson
    • 20. Afterword Peter Wallenstein
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Does The Heritage Controversy Tell Us More About Warren Or The Media?

Posted in Articles, Audio, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2012-05-28 02:36Z by Steven

Does The Heritage Controversy Tell Us More About Warren Or The Media?

Radio Boston
WBUR
2012-05-22

Dan Mauzy, Associate Producer

Hosts

Meghna Chakrabarti, Co-Host

Anthony Brooks, Co-Host

Guests

Kevin Noble Maillard, Associate Professor of Law (member of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma)
Syracuse University

David Catanese, National Political Reporter
Politico

Here’s a bit of a problem that political reporters have to contend with: How should we handle those stories that appear to distract from what most regard as the big, important issues of the day? When a particular campaign or a political party fans the flames of one of these sidebar stories in an effort to keep a controversy alive, what should the media do?
 
The story about Elizabeth Warren’s claims of Native American ancestry presents one of those challenges.
 
The Harvard law professor who’s challenging Sen. Scott Brown has talked proudly about her Native American heritage, and we’ve learned that she listed herself as a “minority” for nearly a decade back in the late 1980s and early 90s. Warren has tried to explain why and there’s no evidence that Harvard, or any other university, hired her because of her claim…

Read the entire article here. Listen to the interview (00:25:32) here. Download it here.

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Elizabeth Warren’s Birther Moment

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Native Americans/First Nation, New Media, Politics/Public Policy, United States, Women on 2012-05-06 23:33Z by Steven

Elizabeth Warren’s Birther Moment

The New York Times
2012-05-04

Kevin Noble Maillard, Associate Professor of Law
Syracuse University

If you are 1/32 Cherokee and your grandfather has high cheekbones, does that make you Native American? It depends. Last Friday, Republicans in Massachusetts questioned the racial ancestry of Elizabeth Warren, the Democratic Senate candidate. Her opponent, Senator Scott Brown, has accused her of using minority status as an American Indian to advance her career as a law professor at Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Texas. The Brown campaign calls her ties to the Cherokee and Delaware nations a “hypocritical sham.”

In a press conference on Wednesday, Warren defended herself, saying, “Native American has been a part of my story, I guess since the day I was born, I don’t know any other way to describe it.” Despite her personal belief in her origins, her opponents have seized this moment in an unnecessary fire drill that guarantees media attention and forestalls real debate…

…The Republican approach to race is to feign that it is irrelevant — until it becomes politically advantageous to bring it up. Birthers question Obama’s state of origin (and implicitly his multiracial heritage) in efforts to disqualify him from the presidency. They characterize him as “other.” For Warren, Massachusetts Republicans place doubts on her racial claims to portray her as an opportunistic academic seeking special treatment. In both birther camps, opponents look to ancestral origins as the smoking gun, and ride the ambiguity for the duration…

Read the entire opinion here.

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The Multiracial Epiphany of Loving

Posted in Articles, Law, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2012-02-15 03:33Z by Steven

The Multiracial Epiphany of Loving

Fordham Law Review
May 2008
Volume 76, Number 6
pages 2709-2733

Kevin Noble Maillard, Associate Professor of Law
Syracuse University

The year 1967 becomes the temporal landmark for the beginning of an interracial nation. That year, the United States Supreme Court ruled state antimiscegenation laws unconstitutional in Loving v. Virginia. In addition to outlawing interracial marriage, these restrictive laws had created a presumption of illegitimacy for historical claims of racial intermixture. Not all states had antimiscegenation laws, but the sting of restriction extended to other states to forge a collective forgetting of mixed race. Defenders of racial purity could depend on these laws to render interracial relationships illegitimate. Looking back to Loving as the official birth of Multiracial America reinforces the prevailing memory of racial separatism while further underscoring the illegitimacy of miscegenations past. By establishing racial freedom in marriage, Loving also sets a misleading context for the history of mixed race in America. Even though Loving instigates the open acceptance of interracialism, it unintentionally creates a collective memory that mixed race people and relationships did not exist before 1967. To imagine and realize a pre-1967 miscegenated America directly challenges the legal legitimacy of the racial reality that antimiscegenation law attempted to enforce. I approach this subject by examining contemporary claims of mixed race that are rooted in the past. This conflict usually entails opposing narratives: one venerating the involvement of a prominent historical figure as party to an interracial relationship; the other steadfastly holds that such claims are unfounded as specious. Placing miscegenation upon narratives and figures that are faintly characterized and understood as racially white turns private claims of mixed identity into public contemplations of interracial intimacy. To imagine historic figures as “Founding Fathers” of another sort destabilizes an implicit understanding of ingrained racial limitations.

..This essay takes issue with the overemphasis on Loving as the enabler for mixed race in the United States, and concomitantly, its effect on legitimating a varied interracial past. Gary Nash’s thesis demonstrates a notable irony: if our just, democratic system openly permits and justifies the “happening thing” of mixed race, why is this same valorization and recognition not extended to the pre-Loving era? Turning to a single court case to celebrate a social phenomenon that has existed at the margins of American culture mistakenly erases the past of racial amalgamation that preexisted the legality that Loving provided. In the system of the racial binary that has been established in the United States, mixtures that disrupt the notion of racial purity, particularly those that originate in the time period before Loving, are presumed to be deviant and abnormal. The collective racial memory in the United States, unlike that of Mexico or Brazil, operates from an assumption of racial purity and sexual avoidance of miscegenation. This national culture of disbelief of racial intermixture has permeated our views of history and law.

This essay argues that looking to Loving as the birthplace of interracialism reinforces the legal authority and resultant legacy of the antimiscegenation regime that it replaced. In addition to outlawing interracial marriage, these restrictive laws created a lasting presumption of illegitimacy for historical claims of racial intermixture. Defenders of racial purity could depend on these laws to render interracial relationships, whether married or unmarried, improbable and illegitimate. Not all states had antimiscegenation laws, but the sting of restriction extended to other states, forging a collective forgetting and denial of the existence of mixed race. The absence of a national, judicial acceptance of mixed race facilitated a collective belief in racial purity. Because it was illegal and immoral, it could not have occurred. As states were withholding the marital right from biracial couples, they attempted to deny and erase the intimate reality of persons, like Richard and Mildred Loving,who would have sought alternatives to the prohibitive law…

Read the entire article here.

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The Anatomy of Grey: A Theory of Interracial Convergence

Posted in Law, Media Archive, Papers/Presentations, Passing, United States on 2011-12-19 01:30Z by Steven

The Anatomy of Grey: A Theory of Interracial Convergence

College of Law Faculty Scholarship
Paper 74
January 2008
56 pages

Kevin Maillard, Associate Professor of Law
Syracuse University

Janis L. McDonald, Professor of Law
Syracuse University

This article offers a theory of racial identity divorced from biological considerations. Law fails to recognize the complexity of racial performance and identity, thus categorically simplifying a perceived polarity of black and white. Ground-breaking scholarship addressing racial boundaries, as written by Randall Kennedy, Elizabeth Bartholet, and Angela Onwuachi-Willig, generally focuses on the enduring legacy of race discrimination. We approach these boundaries from a different angle—whites who become “less white.” We bring together the challenges of passing and adoption to offer a theory of fluid racial boundaries.
 
Transracial adoption provides one viable channel to discuss the possibilities of white-to-black racial identity transformation. By confronting the meaning of white identity in relation to their black surroundings, adoptive parents may engage along a continuum of what we term “interracial convergence.” Parents who adopt transracially potentially face some of the pressures of being black in the United States. The Interethnic Placement Act forbids the consideration of race in adoption placements, but white adoptive parents nevertheless receive sharp criticism from black social workers for lacking the ability to teach “survival skills” necessary for the child’s racial identity development. We argue, alternatively, that it creates a grey space where racial convergers—adoptive parents and racial passers—can challenge the stability of racial boundaries.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • I. Introduction
  • II. Invisible Racial Connections
    • A. Racial Defection
    • B. Racial Intentions And Performance
    • C. The Performativity Of Passing
  • III. White Racial Identity Development
    • A. Colorblindness
    • B. Willful Racial Ignorance
  • IV. White Parents: Black Children: Racial Performativity
  • V. Transformative White Identity: Interracial Convergence
    • A. The Pre-Encounter Stage
    • B. Encounter and Disorientation
      • a) Initial Racial Disorientation
      • b) Awareness of Repetitive Racial Incidents
      • c) Reckoning with Privilege
    • C. Augmenting a White Racial Identity
  • VI. Conclusion: Interracial Convergence

I. INTRODUCTION

In 1998, Boston city authorities terminated the eleven-year employment of two firefighters who had falsified their employment applications. Twin brothers, Philip and Paul Malone, transformed themselves from white to black on their applications in order to benefit from a federal diversity program. Although their family had identified as white for three successive generations, the brothers claimed their black ancestry from their maternal great-grandmother. They relied on the traditional, although controversial rule in law and social practice of hypo-descent, or the “one-drop” rule, to justify their status. A hearing officer held that the twin brothers, who had lived most of their lives as white, “willfully and falsely identified themselves as black in order to receive appointments to the department.” The officer based her determination of their racial identity on three criteria: visual observation of facial features, documentary evidence, and social reputation of the families. Under this test, the Malones failed to qualify as “black.” In a different case, a Pennsylvania social service agency failed to approve a potential adoption placement for Dante, a biracial black/white child, with his white foster parents, Victor and Mary Jane DeWees. Before the family accepted Dante as a foster child Mrs. DeWees expressed to a social worker that she preferred a white child because she “did not want people to think that [she] or her daughter were sleeping with a black man.” The social service agency based their denial on the DeWees’ negative racial attitudes, which they believed conflicted with Dante’s best interests. In return, the foster parents argued that their views had changed in the two years that they fostered Dante and they were ready to “accept [him] as any other child.” Nevertheless they did not view race as important to Dante’s upbringing: they informed the social worker that race had “no impact” on the self-esteem and identity of minority children, and refused “to manufacture black friends.” Challenging the relevance of the child’s racial identity, Mr. and Mrs. DeWees brought suit against the agency in federal court.

Both Malone and DeWees demonstrate the inherent difficulties of rigid racial categorization. The two forms of racial subversion we examine here, passing and transracial adoption, effectively question the rigidity of racial boundaries. While passing facilitates the secret transference of racial membership, adoption across the color line compels an open form of interracial kinship. Both require a journey into unfamiliar racial territory which reorients racial identity from a biological status to a performative measurement based on the choices made by the individuals involved…

…Both cases present potential situations where transracial adoption and racial passing intersect in some ways. Passing, for those persons born as white, means confronting unearned racial privilege inherited at birth. This article seeks to expand on traditional discussions of passing by offering a theory of racial identity divorced from biological considerations. Law fails to recognize the complexity of racial performance and identity, thus categorically simplifying a perceived polarity of black and white. While the majority of passing scholarship focuses on the enduring legacy of white supremacy, much less work focuses on whites relinquishing the trappings of race privilege—whites who become “less white.” This discourse, as it stands, lacks a rigorous examination of the ways that whites might join this destabilization of racial boundaries…

…This Article proceeds in four parts. Section One addresses traditional racial “passing,” where necessary subterfuge and identity performance undermined socially identified and controlled racial divisions. In this cautious challenge to the biological essence of white identity, passers expose the different ways that white identities could be performed. Section Two introduces the continuum of white identity development, beginning with a “pre-encounter,” stage of racial awareness. The section examines the contributing role of colorblindness and racial recklessness in supporting the existence of a pre-encounter stage. Section Three introduces the application of interracial convergence into the transracial adoption debate as it relates to considerations of the child’s need to develop a healthy black racial identity. Recent changes in federal adoption law require a colorblind placement process, which eliminates scrutiny of the racial attitudes of the adoptive parents. The DeWees parents, despite their deliberate ignorance of their foster child’s racial needs, might have been approved under these new interpretations of the law. Section Four identifies the potential stages of a transformative white identity for adoptive parents. Our model identifies stages that progress from a colorblind, preencounter stage, followed by a disorienting racial encounter stage, to various stages that recognize the role of white privilege, progressing toward a stage of interracial convergence and, perhaps, a new, transformative white identity…

Read the entire paper here.

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Tribal Rights vs. Racial Justice: Was the Cherokee Nation’s expulsion of black Freedmen an act of tribal sovereignty or of racial discrimination?

Posted in Articles, Identity Development/Psychology, Law, Media Archive, Native Americans/First Nation, Slavery, United States on 2011-09-16 18:29Z by Steven

Tribal Rights vs. Racial Justice: Was the Cherokee Nation’s expulsion of black Freedmen an act of tribal sovereignty or of racial discrimination?

The New York Times
Room for Debate
2011-09-15

Kevin Maillard, Associate Professor of Law
Syracuse University

Matthew L. M. Fletcher, Professor of Law
Michigan State University

Cara Cowan-Watts, Acting Speaker
Cherokee Nation Tribal Council

Rose Cuison Villazor, Associate Professor of Law
Hofstra University

Heather Williams, Cherokee citizen and Freedman Descendent
Cherokee Nation Entertainment Cultural Tourism Department

Carla D. Pratt, Professor of Law and Associate Dean of Academic Affairs
Pennsylvania State University, Dickinson School of Law

Tiya Miles, Professor of History and Chair of the Department of Afro-American and African Studies
University of Michigan

Joanne Barker (Lenape), Associate Professor of American Indian studies
San Francisco State University

Introduction

When the Cherokee were relocated from the South to present-day Oklahoma in the 1830s, their black slaves were moved with them. Though an 1866 treaty gave the descendants of the slaves full rights as tribal citizens, regardless of ancestry, the Cherokee Nation has tried to expel them because they lack “Indian blood.”

The battle has been long fought. A recent ruling by the Cherokee Supreme Court upheld the tribe’s right to oust 2,800 Freedmen, as they are known, and cut off their health care, food stipends and other aid in the process.

But federal officials told the tribe that they would not recognize the results of a tribal election later this month if the citizenship of the black members was not restored. Faced with a cutoff of federal aid, a tribal commission this week offered the Freedmen provisional ballots, a half-step denounced by the black members.

Is the effort to expel of people of African descent from Indian tribes an exercise of tribal sovereignty, as tribal leaders claim, or a reversion to Jim Crow, as the Freedmen argue? Kevin Noble Maillard, a professor of law at Syracuse University and a member of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma, organized this discussion of the issue.

Read the entire debate here.

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