Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Tragedy of Race and Democracy: Relying on Good White People


You know those movies where a character goes back in time to the occurrence of some avoidable tragedy earlier in their lives, only now they're invisible, or a ghost, or otherwise incapacitated from interfering, and they're forced to watch helplessly as the same horrible tragedy repeats itself? That's what I'm feeling like in this post-Trump election season. No level of knowledge gained from hindsight and the critical race understanding of systems and institutions of racism is of any use. We just have to sit here and watch. 

Background: the narrative of worthiness. 

What I'm going to describe is not White supremacy or the permanence of racism as those terms are commonly understood. I'm talking about ordinary behavior by ordinary people of all races, and how they produce a racial tragedy. Here's what I mean:

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November 30, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Call for Submissions: 50 Years of Loving: Seeking Justice Through Love and Relationship

From Prof. Palma Joy Strand, Creighton Law School:




Symposium, March 23-24, 2017

Creighton School of Law, Omaha, Nebraska

The Creighton Law Review, Creighton’s 2040 Initiative, and the Werner Institute invite you to contribute to the Law Review’s June 2017 issue and/or to attend the 50 Years of Loving symposium hosted by the 2040 Initiative and the Werner Institute at the Creighton School of Law. The symposium will explore how the 1967 U.S. Supreme Court decision of Loving v. Virginia has influenced U.S society institutionally, demographically, and relationally.

Race in the United States has historically been socially constructed through interlocking cultural narratives, including law, and cultural practice, including institutions. Racism is a social system enacted and perpetuated by the interactions and relationships of individual people. Exploring the disruptive effects of the interracial “mixing” protected by Loving v. Virginia offers an opportunity to deepen understanding of systemic racism and to develop systems-based strategies for continuing the struggle for social justice. At a time when the demographics of the U.S. are shifting away from a white majority, deconstructing systemic racism is an essential project.

Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967), ended legal prohibitions against interracial marriage in the U.S. By eliminating of longstanding legal sanctions against “miscegenation,” Loving disrupted the pre-existing social system. Loving rejected racial separation and hierarchy and endorsed relationships across previously uncrossable racial lines. Since Loving, the number of interracial marriages has grown significantly: “Nearly 15 percent, or one in seven, of all new marriages in 2008 were between people of different races or ethnicities.”*

The effects of these marriages extend beyond those who are themselves married. “[M]ore than a third of all adults surveyed reported having a family member whose spouse is of a different race or ethnicity – up from less than a quarter in 2005.”* Since Loving, the proportion of the U.S. population with multiple racial heritages has grown dramatically. Moreover, the children born as a result of Loving also have disrupted the social construction of race itself, with more people self-identifying as of more than one race, biracial, multiracial, or mixed.

The Law Review seeks submissions exploring these issues – to range from reflections (up to 1000 words) and essays (approximately 2500-3000 words) to articles (no more than 7000 words, not including references and footnotes). Draft abstracts of up to one page and queries may be addressed to Research Editor Sean Nakamoto at no later than January 15, 2017. Final submissions will be March 20, 2017. There will be an opportunity at the symposium for selected authors to discuss their submissions at the 50 Years of Loving symposium at Creighton University in March, 2017.**

Authors are also encouraged to join the moderated online discussion on the effects of the Loving decision on our society hosted by the 2040 Initiative and ADRHub at Selected excerpts from this discussion will also be featured in the June 2017 Creighton Law Review edition. Discussion entries should respond to the following question: From the perspective of your academic discipline or professional institution, what are the questions, issues, or tensions that have arisen out of 50 Years of Loving?


*john a. powell, Racing to Justice (2012)

** Contact Amanda Guidero at for more information on the symposium and opportunities to present your work.

November 30, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Trump, the Meme of Voter Fraud, and the Risk to American Democracy

Despite losing the popular election by somewhere over two million votes, Donald Trump won the Electoral College. He is the President-Elect. Those are facts. Yet, in a tweet storm Sunday that was the opposite of presidential, Trump claimed that if one deducts the votes of millions who voted illegally, he did not lose the popular vote. He even went on to announce with no evidence "real voter fraud" in Virginia, New Hampshire, and California.

What Trump has done repeatedly is to use the meme of voter fraud to impugn elections and voters in this country. His rhetoric is Internet trolling at its loudest, but the consequence of this rhetoric may be to once again distort policy, endanger political minorities, and imperil democracy.

In a paper called The Meme of Voter Fraud, I warned against the voter fraud meme. I explained how a meme is a picture, idea, or narrative that replicates and evolves without regard for its truthfulness. Memes empower their believer, and the believers then spread the idea. This repetition takes the appearance of truth but a meme doesn’t need to be true to replicate. It simply needs to persuade by resonating with the worldview of people who will spread it. A meme can galvanizes extreme responses in line with the meme—not the truth—and that runs the risk of leading people to disruptive (and unjust) action.

Like many before him, Trump’s tweet storm relies on this the meme of voter fraud: the fallacious belief that elections are under threat because of a mass (invisible, unproven) conspiracy of unworthy voters. Some scholars and policy makers have argued for over a decade (one example here) that this threat is real and present (despite the absence of evidence) to justify stricter regulations for voting. This claim nonetheless has supported the passage of strict voter identification laws, the curtailment of early voting, and proof of citizenship laws.

Trump used his own version of the meme - his rigged election argument - throughout the campaign. He suggested to his supporters that they should engage in voter intimidation and subversion of the rule of law. Recall that Trump claimed that fraud by millions of wrongful voters would thwart his candidacy. Both he and now Vice President-elect Mike Pence called for their supporters to monitor polls and challenge voters they suspect. And in that final debate, apparently because of his belief that the election was going to be rigged (and that he might lose), Trump said he would keep us in suspense about whether he would accept the result of this election. His voter fraud claim of Sunday simply echoed this campaign-long narrative.

To claim a conspiracy of massive voter fraud, especially after one actually won the election, is preposterous. One famous recent study shows that credible in-person voter impersonation has happened only 31 times out of one billion votes cast this century. And professional election scholars agree that a vast voter fraud conspiracy to overthrow a national election is simply a myth.

Trump’s narrative is in apparent response to the recount efforts in battleground states spearheaded by the Green Party in response to claims of discrepancies between the electronic vote count and the paper vote count. While some experts observe such recounts would be pointless, others argue that thousands of Trump votes were padded, though neither the Clinton campaign nor the White House have claimed that there has been evidence of mass voter-caused voter fraud. There are versions of the meme of voter fraud across the political spectrum.

But Trump’s voter fraud meme does something far more dangerous than trigger a recount. Trump's meme seeks to rig our thinking about democracy. Because a meme persuades through appeal rather than logic, evidence is irrelevant when the story is too good. This doesn’t matter much with cat videos on social media, but Mr. Trump’s voter fraud memes are dangerous because they detach us from facts as our basis for making real-world decisions.

To believe that the votes of millions of are illegitimate simply because someone says so is to trade in an ideology of exclusion of those voters. America did this for the majority of its history with the effect of excluding women, African Americans, and naturalized immigrants in favor of property-holding white men. Court decisions, constitutional amendments, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 democratized voting and made clear that just because of one’s identity, one was not a fraudulent voter.

To claim that our elections are rigged by saying without proof that rightful vote are illegitimate is to harken back to this racist, sexist vicious voter narrative. We saw this in Trump’s claims for voter vigilantes, in his claim of ready defiance to the election results, and now in his lie that he’s more of a winner than he actually is.

If history teaches us anything, it is that this kind of rhetoric will serve as excuse to vilify the people he deems his enemies and diminish the institutions designed to serve all the people. This rhetoric will continue to paint a target on his political opponents generally (since supposedly all the alleged illegitimate votes were cast by his opponents). The rhetoric will reinforce the racist, sexist ideology of exclusion, thus compounding the doubt minority voters and other who have suffered historical disenfranchisement suffer.

His claim of voter fraud in the millions also suggests that election structures that validate and tabulate our elections have no legitimacy. His meme preposterously implies that thousands of election officers across this country either were duped or were in on the scheme. And this rhetoric signals further threat to the already-imperiled Voting Rights Act and other laws that make our elections democratic. Why keep the VRA and other inclusivity promoting laws if they allegedly lead to polluted election results? Indeed, even White House Chief Strategist-designate Steve Bannon once suggested that the vote should be restricted to property owners. Were that law, the effect would be that minorities would be disproportionately segregated out of the right to vote - a return to the political America of 1896 (or 1787).

These are the potential consequences when a baseless, discriminatory meme becomes the ground of policy.

To make specious allegations of fraud undermines the legitimacy of our political institutions and, ironically, the legitimacy of Trump’s own election. It tears down the political system purely to pursue apparent pettiness. And like any meme, this rigged election rhetoric seeks detaches us from facts, and that will enable those who wish to resort to racialized segregation to exclude the “vicious voter.” Is that the America we want?

November 29, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 28, 2016

Why the Japanese Internment is Wrong (Professor Frank Wu)

A few years ago, I had the honor of drafting a “hypothetical” fact pattern for a moot court competition in which law students advocate for each side as if it were a real case. My problem for the would-be lawyers was criticized, because it seemed outlandish and complicated. I was inspired by actual precedent to imagine a scenario involving another internment, without quite preceding to the extreme of mass incarceration. The possibility turns out to be both plausible and simple.

In teaching about the subject, I have challenged students who would condemn the World War II prison camps for Japanese Americans — called “concentration camps” in official documents when that was a technical term for holding civilians during military conflict, before the Nazi horrors were widely known. They typically have wanted to denounce the program, approved by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, ratified overwhelmingly by Congress, and upheld by a majority of the Supreme Court, as “racist.” 

I do not doubt that it was. But that label is a conclusion without persuasive power. People who are open-minded will engage in dialogue. I am always willing to talk.

To be clear, I am convinced the internment was wrong. Appreciating democracy, I am certain that any of us who agrees it should be prevented will be compelled to explain why it was wrong. Here are a half dozen reasons. (This essay is the third of a trilogy. The earlier installments offered background on the hatred of Japanese Americans at the time and the sentiments about the internment since then.)

First, we sometimes forget the single most important objection. Since the Pacific War was called a “race war” without qualms, it is easy to see how concern about this homefront policy focuses on race. The debate over the internment is typically framed as a balance between national security and civil rights, whether protection of the homeland demands sacrifice of its principles. 

Yet before entertaining any such compromise, we should ask if the idea would even be successful for its stated purpose. If it won’t work, then there isn’t any need to proceed further. That prompts the necessary question: what is the point? 

The ostensible motivation for the internment and its precursors (such as a curfew) is preventing crime and terrorism. As a tactic, requesting that transgressors cooperate with you may not generate the desired result though (mis)identifying potential informants likely impairs your investigation. It is underinclusive of the threat; overinclusive of the innocent. The ineffectiveness of a measure counsels against it. The violation of ideals merely confirms the folly. 

Thus a utilitarian calculation of the speculative benefits against the definite costs suggests that there also might be other intentions not to be articulated. It might be as much the signal that is sent, of who belongs and who doesn’t, the stigma that is to be affixed to a community, as any legitimate law enforcement objective. 

Second, the internment relied on an inaccurate picture of Japanese Americans as a whole. They were eager to assimilate, so much so that among the most popular pastimes in the camps was baseball. 

A generation after the war, a Japanese American sociologist wrote a monograph about the population. He opened with a line that became famous, namely that if you scratch a Japanese American you would find a white Anglo-Saxon Protestant underneath. The internment likely accelerated that tendency. But it was there before in ample display.

When a man named Takao Ozawa tried to naturalize, bringing his claim to the Supreme Court in 1922, the Japanese immigrant observed that he had converted to Christianity, spoke English only, and was employed by an American company; his wife was similarly attached to these new customs, and they were raising their children to be loyal to their adopted land. The Justices rejected his application, earnest though he may have been, erecting a racial requirement for citizenship: you had to be a “free white person” to qualify, and Asians were not “white” — the next year, refusing a South Asian who came before them to beseech them similarly, they continued that Asians were not “Caucasian” either.

Third, the internment lacked due process as to any individual Japanese American. There were approximately 120,000 persons affected. Two-third of them were native-born citizens (thanks to a Chinese American who established that Constitutional right, against the opposition of the United States government, which had contended if a Chinese could be a citizen then it was not worth possessing citizenship). They included men, women, children, the elderly, and the disabled. 

None were given hearings. Those in charge stated that it would be impossible, because of the deviousness of Oriental psychology, to determine who was telling the truth. (One of the earliest decisions of the California Supreme Court had decreed that Chinese witnesses had to be corroborated by white witnesses, because the former were not credible.)

The unfairness of the internment was revealed by how mixed-race couples were classified. Anti-miscegenation laws in many states prohibited Asians and whites from marrying. The few such unions were characterized by gender. A white man could confer citizenship on an Asian woman. An Asian man would strip citizenship from a white woman. There are reports that the internment proceeded accordingly. A white male-headed household was protected, but not an Asian male-headed counterpart. Adoptees and orphans were included.

Fourth, the internment did not make sense on its own terms. Japanese Americans in Hawaii were not subjected to internment. If the fears of Japanese treachery were well-founded, then the priority would be pre-empting it on the islands where Pearl Harbor had occurred, in the theatre of active conflict, where the “enemy” was numerous. 

Yet the commanders on the ground there were averse to taking action against the Japanese who surrounded them. They had a better sense of their safety. They were not unaware that the plantation economy depended on Japanese laborers.

Fifth, the internment was selective. German Americans and Italian Americans were not subjected to internment. Germany and Italy were the other Axis powers. America was at war with them. A handful of Germans and Italians were arrested. The scale of their situation was not comparable. (This issue deserves more detailed discussion, presented in this postscript.)

Sixth, the internment was all about race. The hostility toward Japanese Americans did not spring up the day after the Pearl Harbor attack. The proposition that logical deliberation from facts, assessing the odds, led to the internment is preposterous, belied by ample pre-existing prejudice. 

The hatred had been calmly codified in law and reflected by everything from political campaigns to popular culture. In addition to the racial bar on naturalization and anti-miscegenation statutes, there were the Alien Land Laws prohibiting acquisition of property and shameless segregation. Many Japanese American college graduates were turned away for jobs. Companies didn’t hire their “kind.” They were relegated to ethnic enclaves or domestic service.

Racial denial has no limits though. When the Supreme Court took up the case of Fred Korematsu, a blue-collar Californian of Japanese descent who wished to stay behind with his Italian American girlfriend, Justice Hugo Black, a former Ku Klux Klan member, said that Korematsu was being kept away from the war zone not because of race but due to the conflict with Japan. That rationalization is spurious. 

The nexus is race. That is how Korematsu is related to Japan. Absent his bloodline, he is just another citizen. He cannot be distinguished from the next person on the street. (Race then is what ethnicity is now; people spoke of the “Japanese” race as they would the “German” race — we might substitute “ethnicity,” but no matter, because it’s all about ancestry anyway.)

Even were a racial generalization by some means devoid of animus, an inference from statistics, there is the racial foundation that cannot be overcome. The law, and our social norms, have evolved away from racial assumptions regardless of any insistence about their purity. We have been chastened from a series of negative experiences. Racial images are too uncertain, except in the resentments they provoke. We have declared that we will avoid them. The pledge has become integral to our social contract, if occasionally respected in the breach.

The choice among the critiques of the internment, which are not exclusive, is more than an academic exercise. Saying that one plan is wrong doesn’t indicate whether another plan might be right. You might tolerate an internment of aliens but not citizens. If you believe, for example, that the internment was a mistake because Japanese Americans in the aggregate were not dangerous, you would be consistent in allowing another internment of a different demographic category that you deemed on the whole to present a risk. If you think, instead that the internment was an error because there were not individual hearings for Japanese Americans who were suspected, then you would regard the handling of German and Italian Americans as no less offensive, and, presumably, you would acquiesce to an alternative that offered an opportunity to present a defense.

When a team of law professors proposed a textbook on the internment, which has enough legal complexities for a whole course, we thought the subject was historically important. We began our work in the last millennium, when current law students were only being born. We did not anticipate that our pedagogical project would have such contemporary relevance. Yet from our past is born our future.

May we see that our destiny is shared.

(this article was originally published in the Huffington Post)

-by Frank Wu, Professor of Law, University of California Hastings College of Law

--This blog is part of an online symposium hosted by the Race and the Law Profs Blog examining the implications of a Trump administration on women, racial, religious, and ethnic minorities, immigrants, LGBTQ communities, disabled persons, and other historically subordinated groups.


November 28, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Implications of a Trump presidency for Minorities and Women in America (Dr. Nyla Ali Khan)

The election of Donald Trump as the next United States president has generated stimulating and vibrant debates across the country, particularly with regard to the treatment of minorities.  My attempt is to analyze the intersection of law and race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, and national origin within the current political context.
In a post 9/ 11 world, political and cultural edifices have been entrenched by imperial discourse sanctified the convenient first world-third world dichotomy. Institutional politics and policies have facilitated the construction of the “third world” subject as an eternally feral being whose essential savagery is not amenable to socio-cultural conditioning. The rationale provided for the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, for instance, is those territories’ purportedly dehumanized condition that cries out for enlightenment, underscoring the constructed bestiality of non-Western, other cultures.
The construction of the “first world-third world” dichotomy in the wake of military interventions overseas vitiated progressive political and social change. This befouling of institutional politics insidiously bled into the dominant political discourse in the United States and was used to promulgate Islamophobia.
Although governance is a different ballgame, the rhetoric deployed and legitimized by Trump while on the campaign trail purported to create a totalizing or homogenizing center. In particular, non-Western cultural, religious, political, and social epistemologies were dismissed as “marginal” or reductively “fanatical by the discourse generated during the campaign. Some of the epistemologies that were demonized are institutions and modes of thought created by contemporary nationalisms; the consciousness of political, social, and cultural place that offers a critical perspective from which to formulate alternatives to an insulated modernity and its concomitant defeatism of developing nations; and the ushering in of an era in which a nation is  NOT constructed around a common language, religion, culture, patriarchal image of womanhood, and an ethnically pure majority.
The increase in polarization and fragmentation that we witnessed in the wake of the presidential campaign and the election of Donald Trump as the next president of the US undermined the traditional notion of self-determination, rule of law, a return to the process of internal political dialogue, negotiations, and political accommodation in a democratic nation. In a nation that prides itself on women’s selfhood, autonomy, and ability to self-actualize, the blatant infantilization and objectification of women brought to the fore, among other things, that misogyny and racism are not things of the past. We still have a lot of work to do in order to repair schisms.

Democracy does not limit itself to numbers or majoritarian rule, but to substance. There is no room for the subjection of religious minorities to a centralized and authoritarian state in a democratic nation. Self-promotion in the name of democracy, which is a given in autocratic and oligarchic forms of government, must be strongly discouraged by constitutional means and methods. In the recent presidential campaign, democracy was brazenly deployed to promote centralization and majoritarianism to the detriment of democratic growth and evolution.

Trump’s success lies in bringing out of the woodwork all those who have been frustrated with the establishment and the Davos set and getting them to vent their anger on those who are “different” either racially, ethnically, or in terms of gender and religious affiliation. The absolute urgency of revivifying economic growth and opportunities for people across the board is undeniable, but that cannot be accomplished at the cost of cultural diversity and the incorporation of cultural/ racial/ gender/ religious differences into our polity and history.
In the space of globalization/ transnationalism, cultures undergo a dialectical interplay and create interlayered and mixed identities. This process necessitates the reconception and cultural and linguistic differences into our sense of identity.

--This blog is part an online symposium hosted by the Race and the Law Profs Blog examining the implications of a Trump administration on women, racial, religious, and ethnic minorities, immigrants, LGBTQ communities, disabled persons, and other historically subordinated groups.

November 23, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Solicitation for MAPOC Faculty Awards for 2017

In anticipation of this year’s Mid-Atlantic People of Color Legal Scholarship Conference (MAPOC) this January 27 and 28 at George Washington University Law School, Washington, DC, the MAPOC Awards Committee is soliciting nominations for the Franklin D. Cleckley Award for outstanding faculty contributions and the Banks-Haddon Junior Faculty Award.

Details about the awards, qualifications, and the nomination process are below. In brief, please include the following in the nomination:

  • A nomination statement that identifies the nominee, the award for which they have been nominated (Cleckley Award or Banks/Haddon Award), the nominee’s academic institution, and the nominee’s title at that institution;
  • A narrative describing how the candidate meets the criteria for the award (explained below) for which they have been nominated; and
  • An up-to-date curriculum vitae (C.V.) for the nominee.
  • Additional letters of support (up to three) are welcome but not required.

All nominations must be by email. Please state “Cleckley Award Nomination” or “Banks-Haddon Award Nomination” in the subject line. Please send all nomination emails to

The deadline for nominations is January 10, 2017.

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November 22, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Lessons of the Internment: “A Better American in a Greater America” (Professor Frank Wu)

The internment of Japanese Americans during World War II happened because many people, likely most of them, believed it was right. Since then, many people, maybe most of them, have concluded it was wrong. For those of us who are convinced it was an act of racism and a betrayal of our great principles, it would be a mistake to assume that the majority of our co-workers, neighbors, and friends agree with us. We have to explain, even if we wish that need had passed.

Following December 7, 1941, the Day of Infamy, as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) called it in his appeal for a declaration of war, almost all persons of Japanese ancestry, whether born overseas or here, regardless of language or loyalty, was rounded up and sent to “internment camps.” Men, women, children, the elderly, and the disabled alike, two-thirds of them citizens of this nation, were suspected of being secret agents of a foreign empire, who might commit sabotage or treason. There was no due process, findings of guilt; there were not even opportunities to prove innocence. The relationship between these individuals and an enemy power was blood: their lineage, heritage, race, ethnicity.

It was as simple as stereotyping could be. Japanese roots were equated with increased risks.

The internment was widely supported by non-Japanese Americans. During that time period of “separate but equal,” racial equality remained downright radical. Legal segregation was the norm in the South. Socially-enforced segregation was the norm elsewhere. The Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education, striking down these vestiges of slavery, would not be decided until just about a decade after V-J Day. The Congress passed the Civil Rights Act another decade after that.

Across the political spectrum, Japanese Americans, like other Asian Americans (a term not yet invented), were despised. Racism was open. White supremacists did not hesitate to call themselves by that name. They were motivated by fear, not that Asian immigrants and their Americanized descendants would be failures, but the opposite. They wondered whether Asian Americans would be too successful, the vanguard of an invasion, the specter of Yellow Peril.

Like the Chinese before them, who were excluded in a series of federal statutes expanded over time to create an “Asiatic Barred Zone,” Japanese faced formal restrictions on everything from intermarriage to property ownership to fishing licenses. The efforts to force them out, even or especially when they farmed fields their rivals would have left fallow, preceded the internment.

The attack by the Japanese Imperial Navy on Pearl Harbor intensified the feelings. Public officials called for a roundup. They said Japanese Americans could form a “reprisal reserve” to be taken out and shot if any American POWs were harmed. Some asserted that assimilation was another trick. They called the plans “concentration camps” before the horrors of Auschwitz and Dachau were revealed. Others suggested Japanese Americans would be motivated to strike back for prior prejudice toward them.

The most aggressive proponent of the internment was Lt. General John L. DeWitt, commander of the Western Defense, who summarized his sentiments: “A Jap’s a Jap, and that’s all there is to it.” He denied the possibility, even given time, of sorting the sheep from the goats, because he, like experts, believed Asians were inscrutable. They were, as a people, inherently untrustworthy.

He was not alone. FDR signed Executive Order 9066. It gave Japanese Americans two days to report to assembly centers, with only what they could carry. They lost everything: jobs; savings; liberty; and dignity. Earl Warren, then the immensely popular California politician, was another voice against this community. He would later be Chief Justice, renowned for advancing the protection of minorities. (In his memoirs, he expressed regret for his actions.)

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) was divided. The national headquarters wanted to back FDR and the war effort. The California chapters had to dissent on their own.

Even other Asian Americans disassociated themselves from Japanese Americans. Chinese Americans wore buttons and put up signs in their shops to explain their own origin. They wanted to be identified with an ally. The handful of Korean Americans advocated successfully to be treated as distinct from Japan. Korea had been taken over by Japan well before the global conflict had begun.

Japanese Americans had internal conflicts. The Japanese American Citizens League (JACL), founded in 1929, took a course of action that caused considerable controversy, continuing to this day. It urged its members to obey the government and the military. The JACL Creed expressed their philosophy.

It opened as follows:

I am proud that I am an American citizen of Japanese ancestry, for my very background makes me appreciate more fully the wonderful advantage of this nation.
I believe in her institutions, ideals, and traditions; I glory in her heritage; I boast of her history; I trust in her future.
She has granted me liberties and opportunities such as no individual enjoys in this world today.

It continued with forbearance and forgiveness:

Although some individuals may discriminate against me, I shall never become bitter or lose faith, for I know that such persons are not representative of the majority of the American people.
I am firm in my belief that American sportsmanship and attitude of fair play will judge citizenship on the basis of action and achievement and not on the basis of physical characteristics.

Then it concluded with patriotism:

Because I believe in America, and I trust she believes in me, and because I have received innumerable benefits from her, I pledge myself to do honor to her at all times and in all places, to support her Constitution, to obey her laws, to respect her Flag, to defend her against all enemies foreign or domestic and to actively assume my duties and obligations as a citizen, cheerfully and without any reservation whatsoever, in the hope that I may become a better American in a greater America.

History teaches us. Or it should.

by Frank Wu, Professor of Law, University of California, Hastings College of Law

(this article was originally published in the Huffington Post)

--This blog is part an online symposium hosted by the Race and the Law Profs Blog examining the implications of a Trump administration on women, racial, religious, and ethnic minorities, immigrants, LGBTQ communities, disabled persons, and other historically subordinated groups.


November 22, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 18, 2016

The Nightmare Court Scenario (Professor Paul Boudreaux)


For decades, the creed of the Republican Party was Reaganism, with its wariness of big government, deference to state prerogative, and intellectually based trust in free markets.  But the election of Donald Trump, a nouveau Republican with an embrace of political zealotry, threatens to overturn the conventional thinking. With the possibility that the next four – or eight – years will enable Trump to appoint a controlling majority of the U.S. Supreme Court (there is one opening and four others justices are over 65), we may witness a revolution in American law.  Trump’s appointees might well be like him: rogues with little grounding in Reaganism.  They might not even be judges.  In the realm of individual rights, consider three examples – abortion, affirmative action, and gay rights – in which the once-unthinkable might become reality.

Mainstream conservatives have argued consistently since Roe v. Wade that the states, not the U.S. Supreme Court, should hold the power to make the moral decisions surrounding abortion.  But Trump, with little apparent knowledge of federalism, has asserted that he will appoint “pro-life” justices.  We might witness a Republican Congress, invigorated by the new President, enacting a federal law criminalizing abortion across the nation (and perhaps, to boot, making it a crime to return to the United States after having had an abortion elsewhere).  Although such a law would contradict the conservative principle of federalism, Trump-appointed justices might both discard the “right to privacy” and revive the notion of unlimited congressional power to criminalize, which conservatives tried to restrain in United States v. Lopez.  We could see the prosecution of women and doctors from New York to Los Angeles.

The debate over “affirmative action” has been relatively constrained for many years, with Reagan Republicans succeeding in making quotas unlawful, but deferring to organizations to grant some lesser benefits for minorities and women.  But one can imagine Trump-appointed justices, with little respect for stare decisis, overturning the affirmative action decisions in United Steelworkers v. Weber and Regents of the University of California v. Bakke.  The Court might decree that “all forms of government ‘affirmative action’ are unlawful under the equal protection guarantee of the Fourteenth Amendment.”  It could go further to hold that “any consideration of race by private parties” – including such seemingly benign measures such as Microsoft’s or Walmart’s diversity programs – “is unlawful discrimination ‘because of race’ under the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”

As to gay rights, mainstream Republicans, informed by libertarianism, have reasoned that government has no business interfering with individual freedom of behavior, but tried to prevent government imprimatur – an effort that ended with 2015’s Obergefell v. Hodges, which declared that same-sex couples hold a constitutional right to marriage.  With new justices, we might see emboldened state legislatures enacting anti-gay laws – perhaps not returning to criminalization at first, but rather, for example, prohibiting the employment of gay people in any job that involves interaction with children.  A Trump court might well conclude: “Because homosexual behavior is conduct, not an immutable trait, those who in engage in it receive no constitutional protection under the Bill of Rights, and the state laws are upheld as rational responses to perceived state interests.”

Did Americans who voted for Donald Trump consider such possibilities?  Perhaps some did and approved, while perhaps many others did not.  But it is time to imagine legal upheavals that seemed impossible until the election of 2016.

Paul Boudreaux is a professor who teaches the law of Legislation and other topics at Stetson University College of Law in Gulfport and Tampa, Florida.

--This blog is part of an online symposium hosted by the Race and the Law Profs Blog examining the implications of a Trump administration on women, racial, religious and ethnic minorities, immigrants, LGBTQ communities, disabled persons, and other historically subordinated groups.

November 18, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 17, 2016

We do Violence to our Children (Professor Christie Matthews)

We do violence to our children. Make no mistake— the election of Donald Trump is a betrayal of their innocence and an affront to their sense of self-worth, well-being, and personal safety.

My daughter, who was away on a college campus tour during the election, sent me a text after receiving the news that Donald Trump had won. She simply wrote, “I’m so upset.” I called her immediately, and she said, “I don’t understand what happened.” She paused. Then she said dejectedly, “Well, I do know what happened.”

In that pause, she discovered the betrayal.

In the time it takes to blink, she came to the realization that what many commentators, including myself, thought was a fringe, hate-filled constituency propping up one of the most baffling presidential campaigns in recent history was, in fact, more widespread than ever imagined. On the precipice of beginning her adult life, my daughter was having to quickly come to terms with the fact that the country was not heading towards a “more perfect union.” That the colorblindness that many of her millennial buddies naively embraced, was instead a smokescreen. That despite the election of the first black president, despite the recent progress towards tolerance in the form of marriage equality, and despite legislation to help women better fight for equal pay and to help improve greater healthcare access, the odds for some groups of people—groups to which she belongs— are still very, very long.

I smiled into the phone, reminded her that God still trumps all, and that I love her. “Enjoy the rest of your tour,” I said. I cried inside.

We do violence to our children.

Post-election there are young girls, children of color, Muslim children, and children with disabilities who are, like my daughter, coming to terms with the fact their humanity was betrayed by adults who voted for someone who dismissed, derided, and mocked them. Political commentators may call it a vigorously fought campaign, two parties engaging in the democratic process, a cry of voiceless, hurting, uneducated whites to be heard— but to many of our children it was violence. Trump assaulted their minds with divisive rhetoric and insensitive language. He undermined their sense of safety with threats to rip apart their families with extreme immigration policies. He assassinated their character with associations of race to criminality. He stole their appreciation for their bodies by objectifying and debasing women. And all of this was magnified and consecrated when America rubber-stamped his behavior by electing him to the highest office in the country, arguably in the world.

We do violence to our children.

As adults we see the world in shades of gray. We split hairs, argue nuances, and try to see both sides. We’ve learned to equivocate and compromise in pursuit of the “so-called” bigger picture— “I’ll trade you a sexist remark for a tax cut,” or, “I’ll overlook your xenophobia for a promise of a job.”

But children have a more focused sense of justice, of right and wrong. They know bad behavior when they see it, and this election is creating great cognitive dissonance for many of them. We as adults tell them to share and treat others as they would want to be treated. Play nice and not use bad words. We teach that everyone matters and not to be a bully. Yet Trump stands for the exact opposite. Many adult minds cannot comprehend what just happened on November 8, much less a still-developing child’s brain. This dissonance many of our children are feeling now is magnified by the knowledge that many heretofore well-meaning adults in their lives— many of whom are their teachers, their health care providers, their friends’ parents, their church leaders, their own parents—voted for someone who undercuts their own humanity.

If I had a nickel every time I heard a well-meaning Trump supporter say, ”It’s going to be okay,” or heard a commentator explain the election results on non-racist, non-sexist, “hurting,” “voiceless,” white, poor people, I’d be richer than Trump’s trumped-up riches (still waiting on those tax returns). And when our children hear this— juxtaposed against Trump’s behavior— it does not assuage the knowledge that their dignity and sense of self-worth was up for barter.

It is not alarmist to understand the consequences of giving such power to a misogynistic, racist, xenophobic, ableist, who, incidentally, shows clear signs of being a narcissistic autocrat. It is an illusion to think that somehow our children are immune to this tectonic shift in America’s landscape when it comes to difference. New narratives are now being drawn, fueling narratives of old that many rights activists have fought long and hard to mitigate.

Think how many times our young girls have heard their now-President-elect say, he can grab women by the “pussy” and they let him do so because he’s rich. Or refer to women as “pigs,” “nasty,” or allow even his own daughter to be referred to as “a piece of ass.” It turns many grown women’s stomachs to hear such talk. Think of what this must be doing to our young girls who are still struggling with body image and how to navigate relationships with boys. But, Trump will be our next president.

Our young Latino boys have heard the President-elect speak of “rapist” immigrants, “bad hombres,” wall-building, and en masse deportation; yet, still Trump’s elected.

Our African American youth have heard repeated associations by Trump of blacks with our “inner city hells” that need more law and order, which even our youth know is yet another association of criminality with being black. Our black children have seen that the KKK openly supports him. The KKK. Still, he’s elected.

Our physically-challenged children, who already disproportionately struggle with bullying and self-esteem, have seen Trump openly mock a disabled reporter in the worst way. But, America chose Trump for president.

Our Muslim children are absorbing that their religion equates to terrorism in the eyes of the new President (and by extension, the American people who elected him), so much so, that everyone of their faith should be banned from even entering the country. They see that even dying as a war hero for America is not enough, as evidenced by Trump’s shameful put-downs of the Khan family. These Muslim children know they have been branded non-Americans—no, anti-Americans.

We do violence to our children.

The violence is not just to girls, African American and Latino children, physically-challenged youth, and Muslim kids; it’s to ALL youth. The students who passed out “deportation papers” to their classmates are not okay. The students who chanted “white power” and “build a wall” and called black classmates “cotton pickers” are NOT OKAY. The tragedy in a Donald Trump presidency is that it normalizes hate and divisiveness, and our children are conditioned by the norms of the society in which they are raised. While certainly the hate has always been there, bubbling up even before the election, having a leader who embodies such hate only serves to embolden supremacists and provides justification for their hatred. Yet stoking flames of hate not only engulfs the hated, but the hater as well. So, our white, Christian, male, able-bodied children who are displaying hate—they, too, are not okay.

We do violence to our children.

So what do people who are enlightened to the violence this election has done to our children do? We must resist excusing Trump’s behavior. Very clearly call hate and divisiveness out for what it is. We fight the normalization of hate by insisting that we adhere to a sense of dignity and respect in our communications and dealings with others, and require that of them. As business owners, very clearly and unequivocally align policies and practices with equity and inclusiveness. As workers, demand that our companies respect that as well. As teachers, clearly discuss expectations of respect in the classroom and do not cower from addressing the inevitable student excuse, “But the President did it,” with “The President was wrong and is not a role model.” Do not give Trump supporters a pass, even if they are your friends or family members; hold them accountable for the negative societal outcomes come next election. Hold your legislative representatives accountable. If this election showed nothing else, it’s that when it comes to power, even decency is up for sale. For those elected officials who sold out, work to get them out—out of office next election.

Lastly, and most importantly, we need to love on our children. We must remind them that they are beautiful, wonderfully-made, whole as they are, innately worthy of dignity and respect, and that they are not to be defined by the agendas of the fearful and the cowardly. We must remind them that they are not a reflection of Trump hatred. Rather, they are the antidote.

(this article was originally published in the Huffington Post)

by Christie Stancil Matthews, Assistant Professor of Law, Charlotte School of Law

--This blog is part of an online symposium hosted by the Race and the Law Profs Blog examining the implications of a Trump administration on women, racial, religious and ethnic minorities, immigrants, LGBTQ communities, disabled persons, and other historically subordinated groups.

November 17, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

General Trump's Cold Civil War (Professor Terry Smith)

"I love war. I’m good at war. I’ve had a lot of wars of my own. I’m really good at war. I love war in a certain way, but only when we win.”—Donald J. Trump, Nov. 2015

The election of Donald Trump as President of the United States is the most audacious act of mass racial aggression since the American Civil War. To understand how the election of an American president can summon such a comparison, consider that, according to Pew Research, a majority of Americans believe that the Civil War is still relevant to American politics and political life. Donald Trump’s epically racialized ascension to the presidency makes the War of Rebellion especially germane now.

Students of history will remember the Civil War as a “hot” conflict that cost more than 600,000 American lives, or roughly 2 percent of what was then America’s total population. Trump, himself, has threatened a revivification of such political hostilities. Trump has condoned the use of violence against our Republic: “Hillary wants to abolish—essentially abolish—the Second Amendment. If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is. I don’t know.”

To my knowledge, Trump is the only major party candidate in the history of the Republic to invite citizens to assassinate his opponent: “I think that her [Clinton’s] bodyguards should drop all weapons, they should disarm, right? I think they should disarm. Immediately, what do you think? Yeah, take their guns away. She doesn’t want guns. Take their–let’s see what happens to her. Take their guns away, OK? It’ll be very dangerous.”

The Civil War, however, was most importantly a war of ideology because President Abraham Lincoln, abolitionists, and many others understood that the institution of slavery was incompatible with democracy. So, too, is racism. And when a candidate gains office by naked appeals to racism, his election is not democratic because in a democracy how one wins is as important as the fact that she won. Democratic legitimacy is not just about the result, it is about how one achieved that result.

Thus, Americans who opposed candidate Trump are under no patriotic, moral, or logical duty to recognize the legitimacy of President Trump because in embracing racism, nativism, and chauvinism, Trump and his supporters have cast aside too many of our treasured civic mores born of the blood of the Civil War, the first Reconstruction, the movement for women’s franchise and equality, and the Second Reconstruction.

At an even more basic level, President Trump is due neither respect nor legitimacy because he spent the past eight years attempting to de-legitimize the duly elected leader of the Free World, Barack Obama, for no other reason than the fact that Obama is black. If Donald Trump didn’t respect the office of the presidency enough not to cast baseless aspersions on his predecessor’s place of birth and eligibility to occupy the Oval Office, why would any rational American accord President Trump such respect?

Trump and his troglodytes are counting on the same mealy-mouthed liberals who abetted the Democrats’ catastrophic defeat at the polls to now play nice. But folks like former Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod should lose all credibility and respectability when they claim, against an over-abundance of evidence, that Trump is not a racist.

And those Democratic politicians who are interpreting the election results with clichés like “The American people want Democrats and Republicans to work together to find solutions to our common problems,” are conveniently ignoring the fact that partisan polarization in Congress has been asymmetrical. It’s not that both sides have been moving equally from the political center—the Republican Party has lurched much further to the right than Democrats have to the left, and their movement to the right has been accompanied by a rejection of the constitutional norms that bind us together as a union. Look no further than the Republican Senate’s unprecedented refusal to hold hearings on Obama Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland, breaking the record for the longest gap between nomination and confirmation.

For any Democrat to fantasize about “working together” when Republicans have consistently shown Democrats the backs of their hands is foolhardy, naïve, and pusillanimous. What is called for at this moment in our history is a political mobilization and resistance proportionate to the cancer that President-elect Trump and his supporters have sown in our body politic. This resistance should start with every Democratic congressmen and senator boycotting Trump’s maiden State of the Union address, or if they must attend, they should stand with their backs turned to Trump.

Candidate Trump threatened that there would be a “constitutional crisis” if Hillary Clinton were elected president instead of him. If progressives have any backbone, they’ll make President Trump live through his own.

by Professor Terry Smith, Professor of Law, DePaul University School of Law

(this article was originally published in the Huffington Post)

- This blog is part an online symposium hosted by the Race and the Law Profs Blog examining the implications of a Trump administration on women, racial, religious, and ethnic minorities, immigrants, LGBTQ communities, disabled persons, and other historically subordinated groups.



November 16, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

A Remembrance Day proposal for Ab(normalizing) Torture (Professor Ben Davis)

It has been reported in Politico on November 10, 2016 that the Trump team has warned President Obama not to make major moves on foreign policy.  At the same time it has been reported that President-elect Donald Trump intends to bring back torture with John Yoo, General Flynn, Stephen Hadley and Jose Rodriguez (all Bush era torturers) being bruited as possible persons to be in the top jobs in the national security space.

This unfortunate state of events would not have happened if - in addition to the low-level soldiers that were court-martialed or received administrative discipline for Abu Ghraib, or the one contractor prosecuted for torture in Iraq - both Bush and Obama Administration prosecutors had had the courage to criminally prosecute the then high-level appointees and/or military generals who put in place the 54 country torture regime. 

Clearly the Senate Armed Services Committee devastating 2008 report and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence still classified but devastating torture report of 2015, the multiple cases brought in US courts by those tortured that have been dismissed on procedural grounds for essentially the entire period, the attempts at prosecutions for the torture in Spain and Germany that have been blocked, the in absentia conviction of a CIA operative in Italy, the statements of American Bar Association Presidents since 2004, the ban by the American Psychological Association for psychologists to participate in national security interrogations, the efforts at professional discipline of lawyers and psychologists who enabled the torture, and the condemnations of Poland and Lithuania by the European Court of Human Rights for their aiding of the torture of specific detainees have not been sufficient deterrent to keep the torture barbarians from rearing their heads again as they seek access to the levers of power with the complicity of the President-elect.

These developments are not the normalization of torture in the United States.  Torture has a long history in America (let us imagine the 250 years of slavery for example as a torture regime).  As I detailed in my 2008 article, Benjamin G. Davis, Refluat Stercus: A Citizen's View of Criminal Prosecution in U.S. Domestic Courts of High-Level U.S. Civilian Authority and Military Generals for Torture and Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment, 23 St. John's J. Legal Commentary 503 (2008), prosecution of low-level soldiers for torture has happened but not the high-level US Civilian Authority or military generals.  What has changed has been that this "different spanks for different ranks" or "misfeasance at the top, malfeasance at the bottom" approach to governance has had to intersect with a fear-driven Bush Presidential commitment in the post 9/11 period to put in place a 54 country torture regime. 

When the pot of ugly roses was revealed, the devastating revelations led to some legislative fixes as well as some legislative reports in the United States but also a relentless effort by the national security establishment to preserve the impunity of anyone at or near the top.  The result has been that the only thing persons near the top have had to  fear was getting a paper cut in their drafting of their memoirs.  John Rizzo's Company Man (2014) is emblematic of the brazen description of who did what when without any fear of any adverse action occurring to him in the United States (though I understand he does not travel abroad).

So, in this interregnum as the Obama Administration winds down and the Trump Administration ramps up, let me propose something for President Obama to do to attempt to short-circuit President-elect Donald Trump's effort to not so much normalize torture as to extend the process of abnormalization in the United States of torture.  This process of abnormalization of torture has been ongoing since the Bush Administration and in at least one political party's Presidential and Legislative Candidates (Republican candidates with the exception of John McCain have shown a particular affinity to torture) and the body politic. 

One must start with understanding that the normal view of torture is that it is an international crime of the highest order.  The abnormal view is where we have gotten to in the United States over the past 15 or so years.

So, let me suggest that President Obama do the following:  on this day I would ask that President Obama on behalf of the United States formally apologize to the world for the United States having put in place a 54 country torture regime during the War on Terror. 

A formal apology is a form of remedy in international law. 

A formal apology by a sitting President might be difficult for any subsequent President to "unapologize for."

A formal apology resets the marker on torture in our polity and internationally. 

A formal apology is an idea that I shared with the National Security Working Group of the current Administration this past  summer precisely because their focus with respect to torture and UN human rights reporting was on mistakes having been made and process having been imperfectly  followed without acknowledging that in fact crimes were committed (whether or not the Justice Department prosecutes those crimes).

It is a way for President Obama in the waning days of his administration to keep our honor clean (anyone remember that?).

It is a way to remember the soldiers at Abu Ghraib who were court-martialed or received administrative discipline for the torture they did while the leaders and instigators of that 54 country torture regime are now jockeying for posts in the Trump Administration and have never faced any more discipline than writing their memoirs.

If we can remember the adage "shit rolls down hill"  we can make sure that shit rolls up hill in the future. Refluât Stercus.

Is it too much to ask that we remember the tortured who live on with the physical and psychic wounds of that torture throughout the Muslim world, at Gitmo, and maybe at secret locations like where an American citizen was held by the FBI  (Meshal v/ Higginbothem).   Is it too much to ask that we remember the dead?

It is too much to ask that we remember the lack of redress by the American legal system for any torture victim who has brought a claim for what was done to his/her body in the War on Terror.

And, as a way to inoculate us from the kind of torture that occurred in Chicago of black men or for what is alleged to be going on in a law free zone in Homan Square in Chicago even today, is it possible to make this part of the new deal for black America, for America as a whole, and for America in the world?

President Obama has the power to do this.  I am not sure he has the will.

By Benjamin G. Davis, Professor of Law, University of Toledo College of Law
Former Member ABA Standing Committee on Law and National Security

--This blog is part of an online symposium hosted by the Race and the Law Profs Blog examining the implications of a Trump administration on women, racial, religious and ethnic minorities, immigrants, LGBTQ communities, disabled persons, and other historically subordinated groups.

November 15, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 14, 2016

Losing Justice (Professor Lynne Rambo)

The black man took off running and the white officer calmly pulled his revolver and shot him eight times in the back.  The white officer asked for identification, and when the black man bent to retrieve it, the white officer shot him.  The young black man holding a pellet gun he intended to buy was chatting on his cellphone when white officers crept around the Walmart aisles and shot him.  The young black man was walking down the middle of a Chicago street when a white officer looking for a car thief jumped out of his cruiser and shot him 16 times.

The tragedies, so many of which have been caught on film, have kept coming.  Their aftermaths have offered little comfort.  In some instances prosecutors or grand juries have declined to move charges forward.  In other instances, juries have acquitted the officers or locked in a mistrial. If there has been any hope at all, it has come from learning that the Justice Department would conduct a full investigation of the department involved.

The Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division has been empowered since 1994 to investigate and bring suit against police departments who appear to engage in a pattern or practice of unconstitutional conduct.  Under the Obama administration, the DOJ has initiated 23 of these investigations—Chicago’s is underway, for example—and currently, the Department is enforcing 14 consent decrees entered in these suits.  The Department’s investigative reports have not minced words.  About Ferguson, it wrote: “Ferguson’s approach to law enforcement both reflects and reinforces racial bias, including stereotyping. The harms of Ferguson’s police and court practices are borne disproportionately by African Americans, and there is evidence that this is due in part to intentional discrimination on the basis of race.”  As a result, the consent decree entered with Ferguson requires implicit bias training of all Ferguson police and court personnel and the wearing of body cameras. 

Under a Trump administration, it is not at all likely that the Justice Department will continue to work against police racial violence.  Trump has floated the idea of appointing Rudolph Giuliani to the position of attorney general, even though Giuliani promoted the racially discriminatory “stop and frisk” practice in New York while he was Mayor.  Further, while showing great solicitude for police officers killed and wounded, Trump has shown no empathy at all for the victims of police violence.  In fact, bearing no evidence whatsoever, he has charged the Black Lives Matter movement with instigating police killings and said he will direct his attorney general to investigate the group. 

So the threat of federal condemnation, and a lawsuit by the DOJ, might once have reined in local racism, but will surely do so no longer.  There most likely will now be federal support for police violence.  Trump may engage in more “law and order” talk to cover for police actions like those above, even as they are reminiscent of the American slave state.  

So we must be ready to undertake huge peaceful protests. The majority of citizens—that majority of Americans who voted against Trump—should be prepared to turn out.  Because black lives matter, and there is little left to protect them.       


by Lynne H. Rambo, Professor of Law at Texas A&M University School of Law

--This blog is part of an online symposium hosted by the Race and the Law Profs Blog examining the implications of a Trump administration on women, racial, religious and ethnic minorities, immigrants, LGBTQ communities, disabled persons, and other historically subordinated groups.


November 14, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Call for Blogs: Implications of a Trump Presidency for Minorities and Women in America

Call for Blogs: Implications of a Trump Presidency for Minorities and Women in America
The election of Donald Trump as the next United States president has generated lively debates across the country, particularly with regard to the treatment of racial and ethnic minorities, immigrants, and women.  Accordingly, the Race and the Law Profs Blog is holding an online symposium to examine the potential legal and policy implications of a Trump administration. 
We invite you to submit blogs between 400 and 800 words that analyze the intersection of law and race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, and/or national origin within the current political context.  In holding this online symposium, we hope your expertise as lawyers and legal academics will contribute toward informing the public, policy makers, and other academics about important and complex public policy issues facing our nation.
Please submit your blogs to Professor Sahar Aziz at or Professor Atiba Ellis at  Selected blogs will be published on a rolling basis.




November 12, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 11, 2016

CFP: Teaching Cultural Competency and Other Professional Skills (UArkansas Law)


Institute for Law Teaching and Learning—Summer 2017 Conference

Teaching Cultural Competency and Other Professional Skills Suggested by ABA Standard 302

July 7-8, 2017

University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law


ABA Standard 302 requires all law schools to establish learning outcomes in certain areas, such as knowledge of substantive and procedural law, legal analysis and reasoning, and the exercise of professional and ethical responsibilities.  While requiring outcomes in these areas, however, the ABA also has given law schools discretion under Standard 302(d) to individualize their programs by establishing learning outcomes related to “other professional skills needed for competent and ethical participation as a member of the legal profession.”  These other professional skills “are determined by the law school and may include skills such as  interviewing, counseling, negotiation, fact development and analysis, trial practice, document drafting, conflict resolution, organization and management of legal work, collaboration, cultural competency and self-evaluation.”  This language encourages law schools to be innovative and to differentiate themselves by creating learning outcomes that are consistent with their own unique values and particular educational mission. 

The Institute for Law Teaching and Learning invites proposals for conference workshops addressing the many ways that law schools are establishing learning outcomes related to “other professional skills,” particularly the skills of cultural competency, conflict resolution, collaboration, self-evaluation, and other relational skills.  Which, if any, of the outcomes suggested in Standard 302(d) have law schools established for themselves, and why did they select those outcomes?  How are law professors teaching and assessing skills such as cultural competency, conflict resolution, collaboration, and self-evaluation?  Have law schools established outcomes related to professional skills other than those suggested in Standard 302(d)?  If so, what are those skills, and how are professors teaching and assessing them?

The Institute welcomes proposals for workshops on the teaching and assessment of such skills in doctrinal, clinical, externship, writing, seminar, hybrid, and interdisciplinary courses.  Workshops can address the teaching or assessment of such skills in first-year courses, upper-level courses, required courses, electives, academic support teaching, or extracurricular programs.  Workshops can present innovative teaching materials, teaching methods, course designs, assessment methods, curricular, or program designs.  Each workshop should include materials that participants can use during the workshop and also when they return to their campuses.  Presenters should model best practices in teaching methods by actively engaging the workshop participants. 

The Institute invites proposals for 60-minute workshops consistent with a broad interpretation of the conference theme.  To be considered for the conference, proposals should be one single-spaced page (maximum) and should include the following information:

  • the title of the workshop;
  • the name, address, telephone number, and email address of the presenter(s);
  • a summary of the contents of the workshop, including its goals and methods; and
  • an explanation of the interactive teaching methods the presenter(s) will use to engage the audience.

The Institute must receive proposals by February 1, 2017.  Submit proposals via email to Kelly Terry, Co-Director, Institute for Law Teaching and Learning, at

Conference Details


Schedule of Events:

The UALR Bowen School of Law will host a welcome reception on the evening of Thursday, July 6.  The conference will consist of concurrent workshop sessions that will take place at the law school all day on Friday, July 7 and until the early afternoon on Saturday, July 8. 

Travel and Lodging:

A block of hotel rooms for conference attendees has been reserved at the Little Rock Marriot Hotel, 3 Statehouse Plaza, Little Rock, AR 72201.  The discounted rate will be available until June 5, 2017.  Reservations may be made online by using this link: Group rate for UALR School of Law Room Block July 2017.  Reservations also may be made by calling the hotel’s reservations department at 877-759-6290 and referencing the UALR Bowen School of Law/ ILTL Conference Room Block.


The conference fee for participants is $400, which includes materials, meals during the conference (two breakfasts and two lunches), and the welcome reception on Thursday evening, July 6.  The conference fee for presenters is $300. 

For more information:

Please visit our website ( or contact one of the ILTL Co-Directors:

Professor Kelly Terry; 501-324-9946

Professor Emily Grant; 785-670-1677

Associate Dean Sandra Simpson; 509-313-3809

November 11, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 4, 2016

Trump’s Racist Campaign is Stressing Out People of Color



Trump calm

A few weeks ago, I noticed a dark cloud of anxiety hanging over me for no apparent reason.  For days, I tried in vain to discover the source of the uneasiness.  One day, I looked up just as the news aired yet another story about Donald Trump.  At that moment, it hit me:  Listening to Trump hurl one racial insult after another for the past year had taken a toll on my psyche.

Granted, with all of its plot twists and the general nastiness, the 2016 election has been more stressful than usual for all voters.  However, the election is particularly stressful for people of color because racial insults have been a critical part of Trump’s campaign. 

The psychological term for the racial indignities that people of color experience every day is microaggressions.  According to the leading study on the topic by Dr. Derald Wing Sue, “Racial microaggressions are brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial slights and insults towards people of color.”  

One might think that only overt racism – such as a direct verbal insult or physical attack – would cause trauma, but this is not the case. In fact, per Dr. Sue, “Although microgressions may be seemingly innocuous and insignificant . . . this contemporary form of racism is many times over more problematic, damaging, and injurious to people of color than overt racist acts.”   When faced with a microagression, people of color may feel anger, stress, self-doubt, frustration, or isolation.  Also, over time, microaggressions can accumulate, “sapping the psychic and spiritual energy of recipients.”   

Trump’s campaign is a perfect case study in racial aggression as his entire campaign has basically been one continuous insult to voters of color.

Trump’s slogan, “Make America Great Again,” clearly has racist undertones.  Trump started his campaign by declaring that undocumented Mexican immigrants were drug dealers and rapists.  He has also stated repeatedly that he wants to halt the immigration of Muslims into the country.  He tweeted a graphic that falsely claimed that 81% of whites are killed by African Americans.  He refused to immediately reject an endorsement from the KKK leader David Duke.   He argued that a judge could not give him a fair hearing because of his Mexican heritage.  He repeatedly mocks Senator Elizabeth Warren’s Native heritage by calling her “Pocahontas.”  Trump is basically the most racially insensitive candidate in recent memory.

Even though Trump’s words have done more than enough to create racial anxiety, his comments are not the most stressful part of this campaign. 

The first major stressor is the inability to escape Trump.  Thanks to the twenty-four hour news cycle, Trump’s racist comments are constantly televised.  If you turn the channel, you’ll see his insulting ads.  (Don’t turn on the radio, because there are ads there, too.)  Even if you decide to unplug by running errands, every Trump bumper sticker and every “Make America Great Again” hat sends a clear message people of color – “I’m with the guy who thinks you don’t matter.”  The constant reminders of Trump in so many settings make what might otherwise be a minor annoyance into a potentially stressful situation.

The second major stressor is knowing that as wildly racist as Trump is, he could still win.  A Trump victory is not likely, but it is possible.  As long as a Trump presidency is possible, people of color will be anxious because a Trump presidency would jeopardize decades of racial progress. Moreover, Trump’s success is a reminder that there are millions of Americans who would be thrilled to see people of color dumped on the other side of a wall or once again – metaphorically or literally - shoved to the back of the bus.  Knowing that there are so many whites – friends, co-workers, bosses, acquaintances - who either eagerly anticipate or do not care about the reversal of fifty years of racial progress is distressing to say the least.

The final and most unpleasant stressor is the threat of violence that Trump represents. There is a great fear among people of color that Trump’s microaggressions could inspire his followers to engage in actual physical aggression.   From the beginning, Trump rallies have been characterized by violence, much of it directed at people of color.  Already, Latino men have been attacked and Black churches have been burned in Trump’s name.  White supremacists are promising to start a race war if Trump loses.  A former congressman has tweeted that he has his musket ready should Secretary Clinton prevail.   

So, in this election, people of color are in a uniquely uncomfortable position.  If our preferred candidate loses, we will be subjected to a type of racial ugliness not seen in this country for generations.  But, if she wins, there could be violent retaliation against us for “rigging” the election.    

It’s hard to remain perfectly calm in the face of such a dark reality.   

Let me be clear: After surviving slavery, genocide, the Trail of Tears, internment camps, lynchings, segregation, discrimination and other attacks on our rights and dignity, people of color are not fragile flowers.  We are made of very strong stuff.  We’ve survived Trump’s campaign and, if necessary, I am certain that we will survive a Trump presidency.  But I am equally certain that it would be far better for our mental and physical health if we can avoid that reality.



Photo credit:here.   

November 4, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Conference Announcement: 22nd Mid-Atlantic People of Color Legal Scholarship Conference

From Professor Kim Forde-Mazrui, Conference Co-Chair:

22nd Mid-Atlantic People Of Color Legal Scholarship Conference
“Legal and Political Change During the Obama Era”
Friday and Saturday, January 27-28, 2017
The George Washington University Law School
2000 H St NW, Washington, DC 20052
On January 20, 2017, the first President of Color, Barack Obama, will conclude his second term.  One week later, scholars, policy-makers, lawyers, activists and law students will convene to reflect upon this historic period in American history.  In particular, on Friday and Saturday, January 27 and 28, 2017, the Mid-Atlantic People of Color Legal Scholarship Conference (MAPOC) will hold a conference, entitled “Legal and Political Change During the Obama Era,” at the George Washington University Law School.  Our goal is to examine and assess shifts in law and policy, at all levels of government, over the past eight years as well as to determine where there has been stasis.  Panels will likely address such topics as Black Lives Matter and other civil rights issues, such as criminal and economic justice, access to voting, and LGBTQ rights, as well as such topics as health insurance and health care, education, housing, immigration and globalization, and the economic implications of the Great Recession.
Tentative Panels include:
1. Black Lives Matter
2. Economic and Cultural Anxiety over Immigration and Globalization: A Trans-Atlantic Conversation
3. Did Obama’s America Include the Poor?: Health, Education and Housing
4. Election 2016: Revelations and Responses
5. Constitutional Law Developments: Marriage, Abortion and Affirmative Action
MAPOC 2017 welcomes Work-In-Progress papers.  MAPOC’s long-standing work-in-progress (WIP) program is widely known for providing a comfortable and constructive environment in which authors, especially junior law faculty, can workshop scholarship at any stage of development to a dedicated discussant and supportive audience.  Please email your WIP abstract (and any questions) to Professor Ezra Rosser at by November 30, 2016, to be included in the WIP program.

Registration and other information will be available on a conference website, which I will include in a subsequent announcement by end of November.  You will also be able to find it by then by googling “Mid-Atlantic People Of Color Legal Scholarship Conference 2017”.
Please forward this message to any person, group or organization that you believe might be interested.
If you have questions, contact me at:
Kim Forde-Mazrui
MAPOC 2017 Co-Chair

November 1, 2016 | Permalink | Comments (0)