Monday, January 17, 2022

Virtual Town Hall on Black Maternal Health, Jan. 19th at 4:00 EST

Join the ERA Coalition on Wednesday, January 19th at 4:00 for a town hall focused on "prioritizing Black mothers in the fight for health equity, and the ways forward."

Speakers include 

  • Rep. Lauren Underwood (D-Il), Co-Chair, Black Maternal Health Caucus
  • Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC), Co-Chair Black Maternal Health Caucus
  • Breanna Lipscomb, Senior Advisor of Maternal Health & Rights, Center for Reproductive Rights
  • Charles Johnson, Founder, 4 Kira 4 Moms
  • Linda Villarosa, Writer on Black maternal health, NYT Magazine

 

January 17, 2022 in Healthcare, Pregnancy, Race | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sexual Exploitation and the Adultified Black Girl

Mikah K. Thompson has published Sexual Exploitation and the Adultified Black Girl in volume 94 of the St. John's Law Review (2022). The abstract is here: 

Blue Ivy Carter, daughter of entertainers Sean “Jay Z” Carter and Beyoncé Knowles Carter, celebrated her eighth birthday in January of 2020. To commemorate the occasion, Blue’s grandfather, Matthew Knowles, posted a picture of Blue on Instagram. Fans and journalists alike marveled that Blue looked so much like her famous mother, and many noted that she looked much older in the photograph. E! News tweeted Blue’s picture along with a question: “Can someone please explain to us when Blue Ivy became an adult?” The post went viral, and many people criticized E! News for referring to eight-year-old Blue as an adult, with some arguing that blurring the line between childhood and adulthood “ ‘perpetuates pedophilia.’ ” Others asserted that referring to a Black girl as an adult is especially dangerous because it reinforces the perception that Black girls are adult-like. E! News eventually deleted the tweet.

A recent research study confirms that society tends to view Black girls as older and more adult-like than they actually are. Thus, E! News’ description of Blue Ivy may reflect a larger problem that can have devastating effects for Black girls. This piece asserts that a two-tiered justice system exists for victims of sexual exploitation depending on their race. As we commemorate the one hundredth anniversary of the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, which granted white women the right to vote but kept Black women disenfranchised, we must address the racial disparities that persist among girls and women today.

Part I of this piece describes adultification bias, a societal phenomenon that can result in the unfair treatment of Black girls who experience sexual exploitation, including statutory rape. Part II discusses the traditional and contemporary policy reasons that underpin the nation’s statutory rape laws. Part II also defines reasonable mistake of age, an affirmative defense to a charge of statutory rape, and addresses the effectiveness of the defense where the alleged victim is an adultified Black girl. Part III of this piece examines the policy reasons that support the continued use of the mistake of age defense when the alleged victim is a teenager and the alleged offender a minor or a young adult. Part III concludes with my proposal for the enactment of a limited mistake of age defense that would be available to young defendants who may be more likely to overestimate the age of any sexual partner but unavailable to defendants who are significantly older than their alleged victims. This proposal increases protections for the adultified Black girl while recognizing the sexual autonomy of teen girls and avoiding the potential weaponization of statutory rape laws against young Black defendants.

January 17, 2022 in Race, Violence Against Women | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, January 10, 2022

Doulas Supporting Black Oklahomans to Improve Health Outcomes

The Frontier published a news story by Kassie McClung titled In Oklahoma, Black families turn to doulas for better births.  The article explains that:

Black Oklahomans are turning to doulas as a way to combat the disproportionately high rates of adverse health outcomes among Black Americans.  

 

Oklahoma reported the fourth-highest rate of maternal mortality in the country in 2018, and Black women die of pregnancy-related complications at a rate more than 60 percent higher than that of white Oklahomans. The crisis is closely tied to infant mortality. Black infants in Oklahoma are more than twice as likely as white infants to die before their first birthday. * * * Research shows that patients with continuous labor support were less likely to have C-sections or use pain medications. Those who delivered babies with doulas also experienced fewer labor complications and were less likely to have babies with low birth weights, researchers have found. 

 

Medicaid programs in at least four states — Oregon, Minnesota, New Jersey and Florida — already cover doula services, and many states have passed legislation to offer Medicaid reimbursements for services or launched pilot programs in recent years. At least 20 states introduced legislation related to the issue in 2021, according to the National Health Law Program. But Oklahoma lawmakers haven’t authored similar bills, and the state has just begun to take preliminary steps to expand access to doula services, despite higher death rates among Black mothers in the state.  * * * 

 

Almost 70 percent of the women who died between 2009 and 2017 were covered by Medicaid, according to the state’s Maternal Mortality Review committee. 

 

 
 

January 10, 2022 in Healthcare, Pregnancy, Race, Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 27, 2021

Hair Rules: Race, Gender, and Stigmatization in Schools

Patricia A. Banks has published Hair Rules: Race, Gender, and Stigmatization in Schools in Volume 25 of the University of Pennsylvania Journal of Law and Social Change. The abstract summarizes: 

As laws banning racial hair discrimination in schools are proposed across the United States, it is increasingly important to understand how grooming policies can stigmatize students. This essay engages social science theory and research on stigmatization and the case of Arnold v. Barbers Hill Independent School District to investigate the cultural constructions of male students who wear long locs. Drawing on content analysis of court documents around this Texas lawsuit involving two black male cousins who were disciplined in school because of refusing to cut their locs, I examine how school officials justified the school district’s hair rules through associating the defendants’ hairstyle with a range of stigmatizing attributes. The conclusion considers the potential for this court case, as well as hair discrimination legislation, to mitigate the stigmatization of boys who wear long locs, long braids, and long twists. I argue that to fully address the stigmatization of boys who wear these styles, laws and policies must be attentive to race as well as gender.

December 27, 2021 in Constitutional, Education, Gender, Race | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Black Women and Girls and the Twenty-Sixth Amendment

Mae Quinn, Black Women & Girls and the Twenty-Sixth Amendment: Constitutional Connections, Activist Intersections, and the First Wave Youth Suffrage Movement, 43 Seattle L. 1237 (2020).

On this 100th anniversary of the Nineteenth Amendment—and on the cusp of the fiftieth anniversary of the Twenty-sixth Amendment—this article seeks to expand the voting rights canon. It complicates our understanding of voting rights history in the United States, adding layers to the history of federal constitutional enfranchisement and encouraging a more intersectional telling of our suffrage story in the days ahead.

 

Thus, this work not only seeks to acknowledge the Twenty-sixth Amendment as important constitutional content; it also expands upon the historical sections in that work to draw connections among different civil rights movements and move beyond the limited dualistic narratives that have been offered to date regarding suffrage in this country. Although there is much more to learn and tell, this Article advances the important ongoing project of lifting up and celebrating the multilayered identities and contributions of Black women and girls who impacted United States youth enfranchisement—including Diane Nash, Carolyn Quilloin, and Philomena Queen.

December 22, 2021 in Constitutional, Legal History, Race | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 20, 2021

Report on the Impacts of Racism and Colonialism on Sexual and Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice

The International Center for Research on Women published its report titled Sexual and Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice: A Closer Look at the Historical Impacts of Racism & Colonialism. The key findings include: 

Global racial justice is inextricably linked to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and gender equality. Histories of slavery and colonialism have shaped our current public and global health system and its existing hierarchies – all rooted in multiple and intersecting forms of exclusion.

Efforts to advance SRHR should incorporate a reproductive justice lens to address the structural impacts of slavery and colonialism that are linked to negative health outcomes and disruptions in access to affordable quality care. This history has shaped restrictive abortion policies and programs and has been linked to population control and non-rights based family planning.

* * * 

Our review of current literature on global health and racial justice demonstrates that a reproductive justice lens is a critical component in advancing SRHR and gender equality. As access to safe abortion and critical sexual and reproductive health services are increasingly disrupted and politicized, it is imperative that the U.S. Government and SRHR sector integrates intersectionality in funding and policy decisions and reverse harms done domestically and globally.

December 20, 2021 in Healthcare, Pregnancy, Race, Reproductive Rights | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Podcast Unsung History, Suffragist Mabel Ping-Hua Lee

Unsung History: Mabel Ping-Hua Lee

Cover for Unsung History

Mabel Ping-Hua Lee was born in China in 1896 but lived most of her life in the United States, where, due to the Chinese Exclusion Act, she had no path to naturalization until the law changed in 1943. Even though it would not benefit her for decades, Mabel Lee worked for women’s suffrage, leading the New York City Suffrage Parade on horseback at the age of only 16. Lee was the first Chinese woman to earn a PhD in Economics in the United States, graduating from Columbia University in 1921 with a dissertation entitled: “The Economic History of China: With Special Reference to Agriculture,” and then spent her life helping the Chinese community in New York City through her work with as director of the First Chinese Baptist Church of New York City. 

Joining me to help us learn more about Mabel Lee is Dr. Cathleen Cahill, Associate Professor of History at Pennsylvania State University and author of the 2020 book Recasting the Vote: How Women of Color Transformed the Suffrage Movement.

December 15, 2021 in Books, Legal History, Race | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Florida law school creates Ben Crump social justice center with goal of increasing racial and gender diversity in the profession

Florida law school creates Ben Crump social justice center

A South Florida law school on Thursday announced the creation of a social justice center named after Ben Crump, the Black civil rights attorney who has gained national prominence representing victims of police brutality and vigilante violence.

The Benjamin L. Crump Center for Social Justice, housed at the St. Thomas University College of Law in Miami Gardens, aims to nurture the next generation of civil rights lawyers while also pushing more racial and gender diversity in the legal profession, school officials told The Associated Press ahead of the announcement.

. . .

As a past president of the National Bar Association, the largest network of predominantly Black attorneys and judges, Crump said civil rights and social justice lawyering isn't seen as a lucrative area of practice for aspiring attorneys. He said he hopes that lending his name to the center inspires law school students to consider social justice as a worthy, career-long pursuit.

December 7, 2021 in Education, Gender, Law schools, Race | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 3, 2021

Sexual Harassment in the Workplace - Intersectionality's Role

Jamillah Bowman Williams, Maximizing #MeToo: Intersectionality & the Movement, 62 B.C. L. Rev. 1797 (2021).

This article addresses the intersectionality of identities in the context of sexual harassment, and how the failure to recognize the impact of this intersection results in responses to sexual harassment in the workplace that do not adequately protect women of color.  “Given the high rate at which women of color experience harassment and assault, the unique types of racialized sex harassment they experience, and the compounded forms of structural disadvantage they face in a range of domains, it is particularly important for anti-discrimination law to address their concerns.”  This is because, “the intersectional experience is greater than the sum of racism and sexism” and thus legal and social frameworks to address sexual harassment must “acknowledge the complex and overlapping web of racism and sexism.”  For example, current Title VII forces plaintiffs to choose whether to bring their discrimination case “because of race” or “because of sex” but not both, and “[e]mpirical research has found that plaintiffs bringing intersectional claims are less than half as likely as plaintiffs bringing single claims to win their cases.” Social reform movements have similarly fallen short.

Given broad access to social media, lower barriers to participation, and increased demands for an intersectional approach to feminism, #MeToo had the potential to have very inclusive participation across demographics, strong alliances, and coalitions, but the movement has fallen short of this opportunity.  The experiences of white affluent, and educated women have dominated the narrative with a focus on bringing down high-profile assailants [ ].

In response, Professor Williams proposes legal reform, organizational reform, and cultural reform to address the failure to account for intersectionality in the current response to sexual harassment.  “This strategy will benefit all victims of harassment and is particularly critical for women of color.”  Professor Williams warns that absent these “significant organizational and cultural changes, proposed legal remedies will continue to fail.”

December 3, 2021 in Equal Employment, Gender, Race, Women lawyers, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 29, 2021

Women of Color in Immigration Enforcement

Kit Johnson has posted her recent article on SSRN, Women of Color in Immigration EnforcementThis article was just published in volume 21 of the Nevada Law Journal 997 (2021). The article makes several important findings about gender diversity in immigration enforcement: 

Immigration enforcement agencies do not employ large numbers of female agents. The majority of female agents, however, are women of color. This is consistent with the remarkable diversity of immigration enforcement agencies. Women of color have the potential to benefit immigration enforcement agencies. Such agents have unique skills and abilities that can enhance their work, their engagement with the migrants they police, and the growth of agencies they operate within. Yet women of color also face barriers to their recruitment and retention that tie to their training, work, and workplace culture. DHS has been taking steps to diversify its law enforcement ranks. But it can do more. Just looking at the issues outlined in this Essay, the agency could: establish a daycare at the Artesia training center; eliminate training requirements that rest on upper-body strength if not a necessary component of immigration enforcement work; actively oversee training to expose and eliminate any sexist behavior by trainers; and aggressively work to end misogynist culture within the agency. All would make immigration enforcement agencies more welcoming to women of color, and that, in turn, could benefit the agencies. Finally, this Essay has led me to conclude that there is a real need for empirical focused on women of color in immigration enforcement, particularly within the OFO and ICE. It is my hope that this Essay may spark further investigation.

 

November 29, 2021 in Equal Employment, Race, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Race AND Gender AND Policing

Race AND Gender AND Policing

By: Stewart Chang, Frank Rudy Cooper, Addie Rolnick

Published in: Nevada Law Journal, Vol. 21, No. 3, 2021

This title of this Introduction to the Nevada Law Journal’s symposium on Race AND Gender AND Policing, is not a typographical or grammatical error. It conceives of race and gender and policing as intersectional in the strong sense of being co-constituted concepts wherein each element mutually constructs the meaning of each of the others in a never-ending circuit. The purported threat of crime by blacks has long been racialized so that black men are the threat, white women are the protected, white men are the protectors, and black women are left unprotected. Only when race AND gender AND policing are considered together—tied to one another not so much as points on a triangle converging towards the center, but instead coexisting on the same planar continuum—does the picture become significantly clearer.

To demonstrate the utility of this approach, this article looks at a series of contemporary threats of white-on-black violence. We begin with “white-caller-crime,” in which white women like Amy Cooper use calls to 9-1-1 to threaten blacks with police violence, as in the case of Christian Cooper. We then examine how police officers use their authority to sexually assault civilians, particularly cisgender and transgender women of color, such as in the stories of Jannie Ligons and an anonymous transgender woman. We continue on to other situations that turn deadly because the now predominant proactive form of policing leads to unnecessary encounters with blacks that sometimes turn violent, such as in the stories of Sandra Bland and Elijah McClain. Our analysis of the cycle of policing violence then turns to encounters where the police use overwhelming force to enter black homes, and black women are killed as collateral damage, as was the case with Breonna Taylor and Charleena Lyles. Only then do we finally assess stories like George Floyd’s, where black men’s assumed dangerousness is used to justify subduing them with deadly force. We note, however, how this type of police violence has private parallels, such as in the case of the stalking and killing of Ahmaud Arbery, again based on assumed dangerousness of black men. In this way, white private actors feel empowered to defend their property with deadly force and are shielded from prosecution in much the same way police officers are, as in the initial lack of justice in the case of Black Lives Matter protester James Scurlock. Our understanding of these incidents does not end there, though, as the aforementioned white-caller crime is another means of private violence against blacks, and it also reinitiates this cycle of policing violence.

We say all of this to demonstrate that policing’s involvement in the maintenance of race-gender hierarchy is larger in scope than has traditionally been portrayed. Our case studies show that policing should be understood as anti-black, but anti-blackness should itself be understood as co-constituted with the meanings of whiteness in general and white womanhood in particular. Harkening back to the Kerner Commission, we call for a new perspective on race and gender and policing. We conclude by proudly describing the nine essays in this symposium, which both critique the present and provide an outline for a better future.

November 16, 2021 in Gender, Race | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 15, 2021

Critical Lawyering

Laila L. Hlass and Lindsay M. Harris have posted their article Critical Lawyering published in the 2021 volume of the Utah Law Review. The abstract previews the article's powerful contributions to pedagogy and theory.   

Critical lawyering—also at times called rebellious, community, and movement lawyering—attempts to further social justice alongside impacted communities. While much has been written about the contours of this form of lawyering and case examples illustrating core principles, little has been written about the mechanics of teaching critical lawyering skills. This Article seeks to expand critical lawyering theory, and in doing so, provide an example of a pedagogical approach to teaching what we term “critical interviewing.” Critical interviewing means using an intersectional lens to collaborate with clients, communities, interviewing partners, and interpreters in a legal interview. Critical interviewers identify and take into account historical and structural biases, privileges, and the role they play in the attorney-client relationship. This Article urges law professors and legal professionals to operationalize critical legal theories into practice, and ultimately to develop experiential pedagogies to teach these critical lawyering skills. This call to developing new pedagogies is particularly urgent in the wake of nationwide uprisings in response to the killing of George Floyd and others, as well as corresponding law schools’ commitments to identify and dismantle institutional racism. In this Article, we first set forth the contours of the canonical client interviewing pedagogy. Second, we outline the tenets of critical lawyering—a lawyering practice animated by critical legal theories. Next, we advance the pedagogy of critical interviewing, building upon client-centered lawyering texts. We describe one methodology of teaching critical interviewing: the Legal Interviewing and Language Access films. Ideally positioned to use with virtual, hybrid, or in person learning, these videos raise a multitude of issues, including addressing bias and collaborating with clinic partners, interpreters, and clients. Finally, the Article considers areas ripe for further exploration within critical interviewing, concluding with a call for engagement with new pedagogical tools to teach critical interviewing, along with other aspects of critical lawyering.

November 15, 2021 in Law schools, Race, Theory | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 8, 2021

Justice for Victims of the Guatemalan Sexually Transmitted Disease Experiments

Susan S. Lee & Aurora J. Grutman have published a new article Seeking Justice for Victims of the Guatemalan Sexually Transmitted Disease Experiments 1946-1948 in Volume 39 of the Columbia Journal of Gender and Law. The abstract states that: 

Between 1946 and 1948, researchers sponsored by the United States government intentionally exposed more than 1,300 Guatemalan men and women to sexually transmitted diseases without their informed consent. Many of the surviving victims and their descendants suffer from the effects of untreated syphilis, gonorrhea, and similar illnesses. But the general public did not become aware of these non-consensual human experiments for more than sixty years. After a researcher uncovered the experiments, the United States government apologized to the Guatemalan victims, but the victims received no compensation for their injuries. So far, the efforts of the victims to receive legal redress for their injuries have been unsuccessful.
 
This Article has two aims—one descriptive and the other conceptual. First, it seeks to bring awareness to the history and legacy of the Guatemalan sexually transmitted disease experiments. Second, it argues that litigation—even if unsuccessful—can play a role in amplifying the victims’ voices in a way that acknowledges their pain and helps to repair harm that was done. Even if the United States government is immune from formal legal liability, the government and the corporate interests that benefitted from the Guatemalan experiments, have a moral obligation to compensate the victims. The lens of reproductive justice makes clear this obligation. By critically investigating the Guatemalan sexually transmitted disease experiments and their legacy, one can better understand how gender, race, socioeconomic class, geopolitical power, and even geography informed the initial decision to conduct non-consensual human experimentation in that country and why the victims have been unable to obtain formal legal recognition for their suffering. 
 

November 8, 2021 in Gender, Healthcare, International, Legal History, Race, Reproductive Rights, Science | Permalink | Comments (0)

Black Lives Matter in Historical Perspective

Megan Ming Francis and Leah Wright-Rigueur have published their article Black Lives Matter in Historical Perspective in volume 17 of the Annual Review of Law and Social Science.  The abstract summarizes: 

This article situates Black Lives Matter in a much longer lens and examines the long struggle to protect Black lives from state-sanctioned violence. We draw from existing research to provide a historical genealogy of the movement that traces the beginnings of a movement to protect Black lives to the work of Ida B. Wells and follows it up to the work of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party and the urban rebellions that have followed.

Particularly regarding the activist work of Ida B. Wells, the authors describe these historical connections to the modern BLM movement (citations omitted). 

Wells was the first person to risk her life, time after time, while conducting dangerous lynching investigations. Wells’s work highlights the importance of the process of knowledge production--the need for Black freedom fighters to collect data and write their own stories. She did not rely on the white press to get important stories out. Wells ardently believed that data collection and the keeping of records of Black death were central to holding the state accountable.

 

How is the information (quantitative and qualitative) produced and disseminated of which movements stake a claim against the state? This tradition of record keeping has been resurrected in the present movement. Before the BLM movement began, there was no comprehensive record of the number of people killed by police. In response, national and international news organizations began to collect data in 2014: The Guardian in the United Kingdom produced “The Counted,” and the Washington Post produced its own database of people who have been fatally shot by on-duty police, called “Fatal Force.” Meanwhile, Mapping Police Violence, a Black-led nonprofit organization, began collecting its own data. Its database is the most comprehensive and includes cases in which individuals were killed through use of chokehold, taser, or other means. The results from all three databases have been instrumental in raising public awareness about the problem of police violence.

 

When Wells began her activism, the protection of Black lives from lynching and mob violence was not considered a central mobilizing issue for Black people. Wells’s investigations and writings about lynchings dramatically shifted the frame of how to understand the violent spectacle. Wells named the unjust violence and called it out for being a tool of white supremacy--thereby providing the political language for Black people to articulate the harm they endured and the government’s responsibility to remedy it. Finally, it is Wells who effectively situated lynching at the crux of American democracy: To protect the voting, education, and workplace rights of African Americans, the senseless killings of African Americans had to stop.

November 8, 2021 in Legal History, Race | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Fact Sheet: U.S. National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality

Fact Sheet: National Strategy on Gender Equity and Equality

The Biden-Harris Administration issues first-ever national gender strategy to advance the full participation of all people – including women and girls – in the United States and around the world.

The strategy identifies ten interconnected priorities: 1) economic security; 2) gender-based violence; 3) health; 4) education; 5) justice and immigration; 6) human rights and equality under the law; 7) security and humanitarian relief; 8) climate change; 9) science and technology; and 10) democracy, participation, and leadership.  These priorities are inherently linked and must be tackled in concert.

The strategy also adopts an intersectional approach that considers the barriers and challenges faced by those who experience intersecting and compounding forms of discrimination and bias related to gender, race, and other factors, including sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, disability, age, and socioeconomic status.  This includes addressing discrimination and bias faced by Black, Latino, and Indigenous and Native American people, Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders, and other people of color.

October 26, 2021 in Gender, LGBT, Poverty, Race | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Study Shows Restricting Prosecutorial Discretion on Racial and Gender Disparities Reduced Gender Gap of Men Being More Likely than Women to Receive Sentence Enhancements

Andy Yuan & Spencer Cooper, Racial, Gender Disparities and Prosecutorial Discretion: Evidence from Blakely v. Washington 

We investigate the causal effects of restricting prosecutorial discretion on racial and gender disparities. Blakely v.Washington 542 U.S.296 (2004) exogenously introduced a significant constraint on North Carolina state prosecutors' discretion in seeking sentence enhancements by raising their burdens of proof from "preponderance of evidence" to "beyond a reasonable doubt." Through a regression discontinuity design, we find striking evidence that restricting prosecutorial discretion eliminated the entire preexisting gender gap of men being 28% more likely to receive sentence enhancements than women. However, we find no evidence suggesting a racial gap of sentence enhancements both pre and post Blakely.

October 21, 2021 in Gender, Masculinities, Race | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 18, 2021

Henrietta Lacks Honored by World Health Organization

The World Health Organization honored Henrietta Lacks this month. 

Henrietta Lacks, a Black American woman and a young mother, died from cervical cancer on October 4, 1951—just eight months after her cancer diagnosis. She was 31 years old. Although her life was cut short, her legacy lives on through an “immortal” line of cells, known as HeLa cells.

During her treatment, researchers took samples of Mrs. Lacks’ tumour without her knowledge or consent. For two decades, Mrs. Lacks’ cells were commercialized and distributed across the globe unknown to her family.

Contributing to nearly 75 000 studies, Henrietta Lacks' cells have paved the way for advancements from HPV and polio vaccines to medications for HIV/AIDS and breakthroughs including  in vitro fertilization. In addition, HeLa cells are currently used in vital research for COVID-19 response efforts. * * *

In recognizing Henrietta Lacks’ enduring legacy, WHO acknowledges her story—one of inequity—and looks forward to collectively rectifying unjust disparities in global health.

 The story of Henrietta Lacks is featured in many law casebooks and her story is an important lens into the intersections of race and gender in informed consent. Readers might accordingly be interested in this recognition. 

October 18, 2021 in Healthcare, Race, Science | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Book Review Recasting the Vote: How Women of Color Transformed the Suffrage Movement

Ann Tweedy, Book Review, Uncovering the Little-Known History of Suffragists of Color, JOTWELL, reviewing Cathleen D. Cahill, Recasting the Vote: How Women of Color Transformed the Suffrage Movement (2020).

Recasting the Vote: How Women of Color Transformed the Suffrage Movement is an essential read for anyone interested in women’s history, the history of voting rights in the United States, Indigenous history, or the history of other under-represented groups. Cathleen D. Cahill brings to light the little-known contributions of Native, African-American, Asian, and Latina women to the struggle for voting rights in America. Cahill combed multitudinous sources to paint robust portraits of these women, including Native activists Laura Cornelius Kellogg, Marie Louise Bottineau Baldwin, and Zitkala-Ša, African-American voting rights advocate Carrie Williams Clifford, Chinese-born activist Mabel Lee, and Latina activist Nina Otero-Warren, among others.

 

The book rightfully complicates the notion of women’s suffrage, revealing that a singular focus on women’s suffrage both obscures the larger struggles that these women were engaged in to secure the voting rights of all members of their communities and elides the contributions of these women to the suffrage movement. As Cahill explains, “[t]he suffrage histories of women of color bridge 1920, so to see that year as an end point leads us to tell a story that inevitably ignores them and truncates our understanding.” (P. 205.) Another invaluable aspect of this book is that Cahill refuses to shy away from the complexities of the important history she is unveiling. Thus, as readers, we are forced to reckon with the fact Native and Latina activists, for instance, sometimes drew distinctions between themselves and African-Americans to demonstrate the worthiness of their own communities for voting rights. More broadly, we are faced with the shameful history of exclusion within the women’s suffrage movement. White suffrage parade organizers, for instance, tried to relegate Ida B. Wells (then going by Mrs. Wells-Barnett) to the portion of the 1913 Washington D.C. suffrage parade reserved for African-Americans, rather than allowing her to march with the Illinois delegation as planned. As a consequence, she had to jump into the parade after it had already started in order to march with her fellow Illinois citizens. (P. 104.)

 

It is tempting to the think of the history of voting rights, like other histories, in linear terms, with African-American males getting the vote in 1870 upon the ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment; white, African-American, and Latina women receiving the right to vote in 1919 with the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment; and Native American men and women securing the right to vote via statute in 1924 (although many Native persons had obtained the right to vote prior to that).

 

Recasting the Vote shows that this progression was nowhere near so simple. Cahill, for example, reminds us that, post-1920, widespread lynching of African-Americans continued to be utilized to dissuade African-Americans from voting and that, as a consequence, activists like Carrie Williams Clifford organized campaigns for anti-lynching legislation. (P. 226.) Racist whites also prevented Native Americans from voting even after the Indian Citizenship Act was passed, with “States with large Native populations borrow[ing] heavily from . . . southern examples while also using Native people’s unique relationship to the federal government to keep them from voting.” (P. 261.) And although activists like Mabel Ping-Hua Lee fought for women’s suffrage in the United States, under the Chinese Exclusion Act, “the Chinese were the only people in the world whom the United States restricted due to their nationality and made ineligible for naturalized citizenship.” (P. 149.) Thus, until the repeal of the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1943, Chinese-born women could not become naturalized citizens and could not vote irrespective of the Nineteenth Amendment.

 

Cahill thus renders her history of suffragists of color in all of its undeniable complexity. As such, Recasting the Vote is bound to be an indispensable resource on the subject for decades to come.

October 13, 2021 in Books, Legal History, Race | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Unequal Profession, Unleashed

Unequal Profession, Unleashed

By: Meera Deo

Published in: Rutgers Law Review, Vol. 73, No. 3, 2021

This Essay initiates the Rutgers Law Review symposium, "Taking Our Space: Women of Color and Antiracism in Legal Academia," a collection of essays inspired by my book, Unequal Profession: Race and Gender in Legal Academia (Stanford University Press, 2019). After briefly tracing the origins of the book project, I focus on five themes that outline responses as well as updates to Unequal Profession: (1) claiming my worth; (2) jumping on the bandwagon; (3) centering structural solutions; (4) being part of the solution—not the solution; and (5) understanding pandemic effects on legal academia. Together, these themes reveal the depth and difficulty of the work that the legal academy must take on in order to move our profession closer to equity.

The five themes presented here are insights I have gleaned along the way since Unequal Profession was published. Just as a qualitative researcher draws out patterns and observations from the data, I have performed some preliminary analyses on two-plus years’ worth of responses to Unequal Profession, as well as crafted a brief update on how various events of this past unfathomable year exacerbate raceXgender biases in legal academia. I share these observations so that aspiring authors, current academics, allies in practice, and administrative leaders can work together with me to craft a more equal profession. As the five themes outlined here demonstrate, achieving a more equal profession involves working not only to address naysayers, whose implicit and explicit biases may reinforce inequities, but also for each one of us to critically reflect on our own individual prejudices and opportunities for improvement.

October 12, 2021 in Books, Education, Gender, Law schools, Race, Scholarship, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 4, 2021

Black Women Police Officers Allege an "Enterprise-Wide Culture of Race and Sex Discrimination"

A class of Black female police officers in Washington, D.C. has sued the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) alleging an "enterprise-wide culture of race and sex discrimination and intense pervasive retaliation against those who dared to complaint about, report, or oppose unlawful discrimination." Every woman in the class has worked for MPD for years and has previously complained multiple times about race and sex discrimination.  The complaint alleges that: 

There are four fundamental characteristics of the MPD that this class action lawsuit seeks to change: 1) MPD has a male-dominated culture that accepts and perpetuates the most demeaning, degrading and disrespectful discourse and actions by and between officers; 2) MPD has a culture that nurtures and encourages supervisory and management officers to abuse their power to exact petty vengeance on subordinates and make their lives miserable; 3) MPD has a profoundly dysfunctional and corrupt EEO Office run by a man who has repeatedly expressed hostility to women officers, and who colludes with management to crush Black women who complain about race and gender discrimination and sexual harassment; and 4) MPD, with the full participation and/or approval of the Chiefs of Police, engages in repeated, coordinated and relentless retaliation campaigns against Black women officers who complain about or oppose discrimination, or other police misconduct. In combination, these four MPD characteristics create a profoundly toxic work environment for Black woman officers.

The 209-page complaint chronicles extensively the allegations against MPD and MPD's retaliatory responses. The plaintiffs seek compensatory damages, health care related to physical and emotional harms, reinstatement of terminated or retired officers, applicable back pay, revised performance records, reimbursement for leave associated with the discrimination, future damages, attorneys fees, and appropriate injunctive relief.  

October 4, 2021 in Equal Employment, Masculinities, Race, Workplace | Permalink | Comments (0)