Monday, February 19, 2018

The Legacy of Frederick Douglass (Tanya Hernandez)

Frederick Douglass: A Multi-Racial Trailblazer

by Professor Tanya Hernandez, Fordham Law School

Last year President Trump made statements that left the impression he believed that abolitionist Frederick Douglass was still alive. In some respects, he still is. This month marks the 200th anniversary of Frederick Douglass’ birth, and his racial justice work continues to be relevant today. In fact, after President Trump was informed that Douglass died in 1895, the president signed into law the Frederick Douglass Bicentennial Commission Act to organize events to honor the bicentennial anniversary of Douglass’s birth.

While slave records mark Douglass’ birth month as February — he was born in a plantation on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay in Talbot County — his status as a slave meant he had no information about the exact day he was born. As an adult he chose Feb. 14th for himself as a birth date. He was also never told who his father was, but circumstances lead him to conclude that it was his white slave owner.

Despite his mixed-race heritage and likely connection to his owner, Douglass was separated from his mother at an early age and exposed to physical abuse from his owners.

After escaping to freedom, Douglass established himself as a luminary of the abolitionist movement with his eloquent speeches regarding the savagery of slavery and its blight on our Constitution. His reputation as a compelling orator and writer garnered him a pivotal role in both lobbying for the inclusion of much needed black Union soldiers in the Civil War and then recruiting them once Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. After the Civil War, Douglass continued to write and speak out on matters of racial justice. His contributions to the nation were officially recognized with various government appointments.

Yet when Douglass married a white woman (fellow abolitionist and feminist Helen Pitts) after his first wife died, his interracial marriage created great controversy. It was immaterial that Douglass had white ancestry himself. Douglass’s mixed-race status did not alter his experience of racial discrimination. This is still true for mixed-race persons today.

In the 200 years since Douglass’ birth, we have has seen the growth of interracial marriages and mixed-race “multiracial” and “biracial” identity. In fact, the Census Bureau projects that the self-identified multiracial population will triple by 2060.

-- This is an excerpt of an oped published in the Baltimore Sun by Professor Tanya Hernandez. To read the full article, click here.


February 19, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

The Disparate Impact Canon - New Article by Professor Michael Morley

Professor Michael Morley of Barry University Dwayne O. Andreas School of Law recently posted an interesting essay on SSRN, entitled "The Disparate Impact Canon" (University of Pennsylvania Law Review Online, Forthcoming).  Professor Morley builds on one of Justice Sonya Sotomayor's remarks during the recent oral arguments in Husted v. A. Philip Randolph InstituteHe posits and evaluates a "disparate impact canon" of statutory interpretation: a principle "that would require courts to construe ambiguous federal statutes in a manner that avoids, combats, or prevents racially disparate impacts."  Professor Morley also considers how such a disparate impact canon would fit into larger debates about the role of judges, with particular attention to Justice Sotomayor's jurisprudence.

February 7, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Call for Papers: Presumed Incompetent - II

Presumed Incompetent – II Yolanda Flores Niemann, Gabriella Gutierrez y Muhs, Carmen G. Gonzalez (Eds.)

CALL FOR PAPERS (deadline for abstracts is February 28, 2018)

Presumed Incompetent, The Intersections of Race and Class for Women in Academia (2012), continues to be a wild success, connecting with faculty across a wide spectrum of our academic world. The book continues to receive glowing reviews in academic journals and blogs. Multiple university groups and organizations have selected Presumed Incompetent as their focus-reading book. As we, the editors of Presumed Incompetent – Gabriella Gutierrez y Muhs, Yolanda Flores Niemann, Carmen G. Gonzalez, and Angela P. Harris - have continued to respond to speaking requests based on Presumed Incompetent, we have been implored to develop a follow up volume. The stories that we hear from faculty all over the country leave no doubt that the extraordinary challenges for women of color in academia persist. We have decided that second volume of Presumed Incompetent is needed, and that now is the time to expose additional experiences laden with unjust and poor treatment. As Oprah Winfrey said in her Golden Globes speech, “…Speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have.” Our vision, as editors of Presumed Incompetent, is that by telling our truths, by courageously making our truths public, we will collectively facilitate an improved climate for women of color in academia, and, indeed, for all persons. For a climate of fairness, respect, and equity affects the quality of life for all persons. We also envision a time when, with an increased understanding of the personal and career damage that can result from biases and unjust treatment, those around us will speak up on our behalf. As Desmond Tutu said, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”

In this volume, we will feature narratives from academics facing challenges based on the following topics:
• Race/ethnicity
• Social class
• Serving in administrative positions
• LGBTQ and Transgender
• Adjuncts & Lecturers (contract employees)
• Disability
• Sexual harassment
• Filing grievances
• Tenure and promotion
• Activism and public engagement
• Attacks on scholars via social media

We welcome personal narratives on these and other topics. We also invite empirically based articles, although the focus of the volume, as in Presumed Incompetent, will be experiential – on the lived experiences of women of color in academia. We invite narratives from scholars from all academic disciplines and career stages, and from all demographic groups, prioritizing those from women of color, including trans and cisgender.

Submission Guidelines:
The deadline for abstracts is February 28, 2018. Submit your three-page abstract and a short biography electronically to In your abstract please outline the focus of your narrative, including risks and challenges you have undergone, how your treatment was out of the ordinary in the context, and indicating advice you will provide others in a similar situation. One of the questions we are frequently asked has to do with telling the truth about one’s experience while avoiding defamation lawsuits. Attached to this call for papers are some general guidelines on this topic. These are only guidelines. What you write and publish is your responsibility. We can tell you that no lawsuits have resulted from the works in Presumed Incompetent. We will provide feedback regarding acceptance of your paper by March 30, 2018.

Full-length submissions of accepted papers will be due May 31, 2018. Please submit your papers as Microsoft Word documents, double-spaced, using 12-point Times New Roman font, one inch margins, maximum of 8000 words (about 30 double-spaced pages), including references in APA style. Please submit your CV and a short bio, maximum 300 words. In your bio please include your basic identifying information, e.g., Yolanda Flores Niemann, Ph.D., Mexican American, female, cisgender.

We are very pleased that for this second volume of Presumed Incompetent we have an advance contract from Utah State University Press (an imprint of Colorado University Press). We expect to submit the completed manuscript to the press by December 1, 2018. Our goals are that the manuscript will undergo review in early 2019, copy editing in spring, 2019, and be in print in by summer or early fall, 2019.

Please address questions to:

About the Editors:
Dr. Yolanda Flores Niemann
Yolanda Flores Niemann is Professor of Psychology at the University of North Texas (UNT). Previously, she served as Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs at UNT, Vice Provost and Dean of the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences at Utah State University, and held numerous administrative and faculty positions at Washington State University. She was also an American Council on Education (ACE) Fellow at Penn State. Most recently, Dr. Flores Niemann was an invited panelist at the White House for the Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics --Fulfilling America’s Future: Latinas in the U.S. She has been Principal Investigator of over 42 million dollars in federal outreach grants to prepare low socioeconomic status students for entry into and success in higher education. Her research interests include the psychological effects and social ecological contexts of tokenism – to the individual faculty member and to the tokenizing institution. She has recently developed a faculty training video to help prevent faculty to student microaggressions, Current research includes examination of stereotypes in superhero portrayals, and effective mentoring across demographic groups. Her most recent books are Surviving and Thriving in Academia: A Guide for Members of Marginalized Groups, Third Edition (2017, coedited), and is one of the editors of Presumed Incompetent: The Intersections of Race and Class for Women in Academia. Dr. Flores Niemann is author of seven books, the film, (, and ~ 40 published journal articles, including in Peace Review, Journal of Applied Psychology; Journal of Applied Social Psychology; Sociological Perspectives; Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin; The Journal for the Theory of Social Behavior; Frontiers: A Journal of Women’s Studies, and Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, The Journal of Social Issues, and The Counseling Psychologist.

Dr. Gabriella Gutierrez y Muhs
Gabriella Gutiérrez y Muhs is the author of several books, including being first editor of the revolutionary Presumed Incompetent: The Intersections of Race and Class for Women in Academia (2012). She has authored multiple articles, poetry collections, and encyclopedia entries, and in 2015, was awarded the Provost’s Inaugural Award for Scholarship, Research and Creativity at Seattle University. Gutiérrez y Muhs was also selected university-wide as the Director for the Center for the Study of Justice in Society (2015-2017). Her collection ¿How Many Indians Can We Be? is forthcoming with Mango Press. In 2017, she published The Runaway Poems with Finishing Line Press. Professor Gutiérrez y Muhs is also a renowned poet and literary critic and the author of two published academic books on Helena Maria Viramontes and Norma Elia Cantú: Rebozos de Palabras: An Helena María Viramontes Critical Reader and Word Images: New Perspectives on Canícula and Other Works by Norma Elia Cantú, respectively. They were both published with University of Arizona Press, 2013, 2017. Her work focuses on the expansion of Latinx subjectivities, spirituality, social class and gender.

Carmen G. Gonzalez
Carmen G. Gonzalez is a professor of law at Seattle University School of Law. She has published widely in the areas of international environmental law, human rights and the environment, and environmental justice. Professor Gonzalez was a Fulbright Scholar in Argentina, a U.S. Supreme Court Fellow, a visiting fellow at the Lauterpacht Centre for International Law at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, and a visiting professor at the Hopkins-Nanjing Center in Nanjing, China. In 2017, she served as the George Soros Visiting Chair at the Central European University School of Public Policy in Budapest, Hungary and as the Norton Rose Fulbright Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Houston Law Center. Professor Gonzalez is member of the Board of Trustees of Earthjustice, Deputy Chair of the Governing Board of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature Academy of Environmental Law, and past president of the Environmental Law Section of the Association of American Law Schools. She has worked on environmental law capacity-building projects in Asia, Latin America, and the former Soviet Union, and has represented non-governmental organizations in environmental treaty negotiations. Professor Gonzalez was one of the co-editors of Presumed Incompetent: The Intersections of Race and Class for Women in Academia (Utah State University Press, 2012). She is also the co-editor of International Environmental Law and the Global South (Cambridge University Press, 2015). Professor Gonzalez holds a BA from Yale University and a JD from Harvard Law.

Checklist_Defamation copy (2)-1

February 1, 2018 | Permalink | Comments (0)