Struck by Lightning? Interracial Intimacy and Racial Justice

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2013-12-29 14:36Z by Steven

Struck by Lightning? Interracial Intimacy and Racial Justice

Human Rights Quarterly
Volume 25, Number 2, May 2003
pages 528-562
DOI: 10.1353/hrq.2003.0017

Kevin R. Johnson, Dean and Mabie-Apallas Professor of Public Interest Law and Chicana/o Studies
University of California, Davis

Kristina L. Burrows

Rachel F. Moran, Interracial Intimacy: The Regulation of Race and Romance (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press 2001), pp. xii, 271. Cloth, $30.

If true love is like lightning, what can romantic choice have to do with racial justice[?].

I. Introduction

Over the last decade, growing attention has been paid to the mixed race population in the United States. Much of the literature on the subject offers compelling stories of the life experiences of persons with African American and white parents. In addition, the controversy over the proper classification of mixed race people for Census 2000 attracted national attention.

Only recently has legal history scholarship begun to analyze the rich history of the legal regulation of racial mixture in the United States and its modern day repercussions. Breaking important new ground in this emerging field, Rachel Moran’s book Interracial Intimacy: The Regulation of Race and Romance represents the first comprehensive review of the intricacies of the law and policy of racial mixture, ambitiously surveying wide-ranging legal terrain from the anti-miscegenation laws to transracial adoption. By tackling a much-neglected topic that is central to a full appreciation of civil rights in the modern United States, Interracial Intimacy deserves attention and will likely serve as an influential guide to future research in the field.

As Interracial Intimacy unravels the law’s efforts to regulate and respond to intermarriage, it offers powerful evidence that race is a social and legal construct, a product of our collective mind rather than an immutable biological fact. But Moran goes well beyond that. She demonstrates how intermarriage is inextricably linked to the quest for racial justice. A central theme of Interracial Intimacy is that the prevailing racial segregation in the United States makes intermarriage far less likely than would be the case in an integrated society. The low rate of interracial relationships is a function of pervasive housing, school, and employment segregation, as well as the lack of racial diversity in higher education. Socioeconomic class disparities reflected in residential and employment patterns factor in as well, implicating the connection between race, class, and marriage.

Put simply, people are less likely to select mates of another race if they rarely meet them. Because Americans of different races continue to live separate daily lives, we should expect that people will continue to marry others of their own race. Moran’s reference to love striking “like lightning” makes love seem all the more romantic. However, as we all know, one’s location can affect whether he or she is hit by lightning. So too, location and geography matter for love and romance. The effect of location on love and romance is one of Interracial Intimacy’s powerful insights. Somewhat ironically, Moran proves that, at one level, the segregationists of the old South were entirely correct: segregation and “race mixing” indeed are—and always have been—deeply interrelated. As Gunnar Myrdal observed in his classic study of race relations in the United States, “[e]very single measure [of segregation] is defended as necessary to block ‘social equality’ which in its turn is held necessary to prevent ‘intermarriage.'”

One can only speculate why serious legal scholarship has failed for so long to analyze the connection between love, intimacy, and racial justice. In part, the failure may stem from the view that intensely private and personal decisions are immune from legal purview. By implicating issues of passion and eroticism, intimacy may appear to be beyond rational analysis. Moran’s book breaks the long silence in legal scholarship on this critically important topic.

Interracial Intimacy also identifies deeply perplexing questions worthy of further exploration. Notably, African Americans marry whites much less frequently than Asian Americans, Latina/os, and Native Americans do. Are these other minorities effectively “white,” or at least “whiter,” than African Americans? One can only wonder about the future of interracial marriage between African Americans and whites and what it portends for racial progress.

Ultimately, Interracial Intimacy leaves open whether optimism or pessimism is justified about black/white intermarriage in the next millennium and its impact on civil rights in the United States. In that way, the book proves…

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The JCMRS inaugural issue will be released Summer, 2013

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, United States on 2013-03-18 03:35Z by Steven

The JCMRS inaugural issue will be released on Summer, 2013

Journal of Critical Mixed Race Studies
c/o Department of Sociology
SSMS Room 3005
University of California, Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara, California  93106-9430

The Journal of Critical Mixed Race Studies (JCMRS) is a peer-reviewed online journal dedicated to developing the field of Critical Mixed Race Studies (CMRS) through rigorous scholarship. Launched in 2011, it is the first academic journal explicitly focused on Critical Mixed Race Studies.

JCMRS is transracial, transdisciplinary, and transnational in focus and emphasizes the critical analysis of the institutionalization of social, cultural, and political orders based on dominant conceptions and constructions of ‘race.’ JCMRS emphasizes the constructed nature and thus mutability of race and the porosity of racial boundaries in order to critique processes of racialization and social stratification based on race. JCMRS addresses local and global systemic injustices rooted in systems of racialization.

Sponsored by University of California, Santa Barbara’s Sociology Department, JCMRS is hosted on the eScholarship Repository, which is part of the eScholarship initiative of the California Digital Library. JCMRS functions as an open-access forum for critical mixed race studies scholars and will be available without cost to anyone with access to the Internet.

Volume 1, Issue 1, Spring 2013 will include:


  1. “Historical Origins of the One-Drop Racial Rule in the United States”—Winthrop Jordan edited by Paul Spickard
  2. “Retheorizing the Relationship Between New Mestizaje and New Multiraciality as Mixed Race Identity Models”—Jessie Turner
  3. “Critical Mixed Race Studies: New Directions in the Politics of Race and Representation,” Keynote Address presented at the Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference, November 5, 2010, DePaul UniversityAndrew Jolivétte
  4. “Only the News We Want to Print”—Rainier Spencer
  5. “The Current State of Multiracial Discourse”—Molly McKibbin
  6. “Slimy Subjects and Neoliberal Goods”—Daniel McNeil

Editorial Board

Founding Editors: G. Reginald Daniel, Wei Ming Dariotis, Laura Kina, Maria P. P. Root, and Paul Spickard

Editor-in-Chief: G. Reginald Daniel

Managing Editors: Wei Ming Dariotis and Laura Kina

Editorial Review Board: Stanley R. Bailey, Mary C. Beltrán, David Brunsma, Greg Carter, Kimberly McClain DaCosta, Michele Elam, Camilla Fojas, Peter Fry, Kip Fulbeck, Rudy Guevarra, Velina Hasu Houston, Kevin R. Johnson, Andrew Jolivette, Rebecca Chiyoko King-O’Riain, Laura A. Lewis, Kristen A. Renn, Maria P. P. Root, Stephen Murphy-Shigematsu, Gary B. Nash, Kent A. Ono, Rita Simon, Miri Song, Rainier Spencer, Michael Thornton, Peter Wade, France Winddance Twine, Teresa Williams-León, and Naomi Zack

For more information, click here.

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Race and Ethnicity in Society: The Changing Landscape, 3rd Edition

Posted in Anthologies, Asian Diaspora, Books, Health/Medicine/Genetics, Identity Development/Psychology, Judaism, Law, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Religion, Social Science, Social Work, United States on 2011-10-18 02:50Z by Steven

Race and Ethnicity in Society: The Changing Landscape, 3rd Edition

Cengage Learning
480 pages
ISBN-10: 1111519536; ISBN-13: 9781111519537

Edited by

Elizabeth Higginbotham, Professor of Sociology, Women’s Studies, and Criminology
University of Delaware

Margaret L. Andersen, Edward F. and Elizabeth Goodman Rosenberg Professor of Sociology
University of Delaware

This engaging reader is organized in four major thematic parts, subdivided into thirteen different sections. Part I (“The Social Basis of Race and Ethnicity”) establishes the analytical frameworks that are now being used to think about race in society. The section examines the social construction of race and ethnicity as concepts and experience. Part II (“Continuity and Change: How We Got Here and What It Means”) explores both the historical patterns of inclusion and exclusion that have established racial and ethnic inequality, while also explaining some of the contemporary changes that are shaping contemporary racial and ethnic relations. Part III (“Race and Social Institutions”) examines the major institutional structures in contemporary society and investigates patterns of racial inequality within these institutions. Persistent inequality in the labor market and in patterns of community, residential, and educational segregation continue to shape the life chances of different groups. Part IV (“Building a Just Society”) concludes the book by looking at both large-scale contexts of change, such as those reflected in the movement to elect the first African American president.

  • Major themes include coverage showing the diversity of experiences that now constitute “race” in the United States; teaching students the significance of race as a socially constructed system of social relations; showing the connection between different racial identities and the social structure of race; understanding how racism works as a belief system rooted in societal institutions; providing a social structural analysis of racial inequality; providing a historical perspective on how the racial order has emerged and how it is maintained; examining how people have contested the dominant racial order; exploring current strategies for building a just multiracial society.
  • Each section includes several pages of analysis that outline the main concepts to be covered, providing a clear initial roadmap for reading and a convenient resource students can use with assignments and while preparing for exams.
  • The text’s unique organization according to overarching themes and relevant subtopics, including identity, social construction of race, why race matters, inequality, and segregation, places the articles into a broader context to promote greater understanding.
  • This innovative text looks beyond a simple black/white dichotomy and focuses more broadly on an extremely wide range of ethnic groups, providing a much more realistic and useful exploration of key topics that is more relevant and compelling for today’s diverse student population.

Table of Contents

    • 1. The Social Construction of Race and Ethnicity
      • Introduction by Elizabeth Higginbotham and Margaret L. Andersen
      • 1. Howard F. Taylor, “Defining Race”
      • 2. Joseph L. Graves, Jr., “The Race Myth”
      • 3. Abby Ferber, “Planting the Seed: The Invention of Race”
      • 4. Karen Brodkin, “How Did Jews Become White Folks?”
      • 5. Michael Omi and Howard Winant, “On Racial Formation”—Student Exercises
    • 2. What Do You Think? Prejudice, Stereotyping, and Racism
      • Introduction by Elizabeth Higginbotham and Margaret L. Andersen
      • 6. Matthew Desmond and Mustafa Emirbayer, “American Racism in the Twenty-First Century”
      • 7. Charles A. Gallagher, “Color-Blind Privilege: The Social and Political Functions of Erasing the Color Line in Post Race America”
      • 8. Judith Ortiz Cofer, “The Myth of the Latin Woman: I Just Met a Girl Named Maria”
      • 9. Rainier Spencer, “Mixed Race Chic”
      • 10. Rebekah Nathan, “What a Professor Learned by Becoming a Student”—Student Exercises
    • 3. Representing Race and Ethnicity: The Media and Popular Culture
      • Introduction by Elizabeth Higginbotham and Margaret L. Andersen
      • 11. Craig Watkins, “Black Youth and the Ironies of Capitalism”
      • 12. Fatimah N. Muhammed, “How to NOT Be 21st Century Venus Hottentots”
      • 13. Rosie Molinary, “María de la Barbie”
      • 14. Charles Springwood and C. Richard King, “‘Playing Indian’: Why Native American Mascots Must End”
      • 15. Jennifer C. Mueller, Danielle Dirks, and Leslie Houts Picca, “Unmasking Racism: Halloween Costuming and Engagement of the Racial Order”—Student Exercises
    • 4. Who Are You? Race and Identity
      • Introduction by Elizabeth Higginbotham and Margaret L. Andersen
      • 16. Beverly Tatum, interview with John O’Neil, “Why are the Black Kids Sitting Together?”
      • 17. Priscilla Chan, “Drawing the Boundaries”
      • 18. Michael Omi and Taeku Lee, “Barack Like Me: Our First Asian American President”
      • 19. Tim Wise, “White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son”—Student Exercises
    • 5. Who Belongs? Race, Rights, and Citizenship
      • Introduction by Elizabeth Higginbotham and Margaret L. Andersen
      • 20. Evelyn Nakano Glenn, “Citizenship and Inequality”
      • 21. C. Matthew Snipp, “The First Americans: American Indians”
      • 22. Susan M. Akram and Kevin R. Johnson, “Race, Civil Rights, and Immigration Law After September 11, 2001: The Targeting of Arabs and Muslims”
      • 23. Peggy Levitt, “Salsa and Ketchup: Transnational Migrants Saddle Two Worlds”—Student Exercises
    • 6. The Changing Face of America: Immigration
      • Introduction by Elizabeth Higginbotham and Margaret L. Andersen
      • 24. Mae M. Ngai, “Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America”
      • 25. Nancy Foner, “From Ellis Island to JFK: Education in New York’s Two Great Waves of Immigration”
      • 26. Charles Hirschman and Douglas S. Massey, “Places and Peoples: The New American Mosaic”
      • 27. Pew Research Center, “Between Two Worlds: How Young Latinos Come of Age in America”—Student Exercises
    • 7. Exploring Intersections: Race, Class, Gender and Inequality
      • Introduction by Elizabeth Higginbotham and Margaret L. Andersen
      • 28. Patricia Hill Collins, “Toward a New Vision: Race, Class and Gender as Categories of Analysis and Connection”
      • 29. Yen Le Espiritu, “Theorizing Race, Gender, and Class”
      • 30. Roberta Coles and Charles Green, “The Myth of the Missing Black Father”
      • 31. Nikki Jones, “From Good to Ghetto”
      • 32. Gladys García-Lopez and Denise A. Segura, “‘They Are Testing You All the Time’: Negotiating Dual Femininities among Chicana Attorneys”—Student Exercises
    • 8. Race and the Workplace
      • Introduction by Elizabeth Higginbotham and Margaret L. Andersen
      • 33. William Julius Wilson, “Toward a Framework for Understanding Forces that Contribute to or Reinforce Racial Inequality”
      • 34. Deirdre A. Royster, “Race and The Invisible Hand: How White Networks Exclude Black Men from Blue-Collar Jobs”
      • 35. Pierrette Hondagneu-Sotelo, “Families on the Frontier”.
      • 36. Angela Stuesse, “Race, Migration and Labor Control”—Student Exercises
    • 9. Shaping Lives and Love: Race, Families, and Communities
      • Introduction by Elizabeth Higginbotham and Margaret L. Andersen
      • 37. Joe R. Feagin and Karyn D. McKinney, ”The Family and Community Costs of Racism”
      • 38. Dorothy Roberts, “Shattered Bonds: The Color of Child Welfare”
      • 39. Kumiko Nemoto, “Interracial Relationships: Discourses and Images”
      • 40. Zhenchao Qian, “Breaking the Last Taboo: Interracial Marriage in America”—Student Exercises
    • 10. How We Live and Learn: Segregation, Housing, and Education
      • Introduction by Elizabeth Higginbotham and Margaret L. Andersen
      • 41. John E. Farley and Gregory D. Squires, “Fences and Neighbors: Segregation in the 21st Century”
      • 42. Melvin L. Oliver and Thomas M. Shapiro, “Sub-Prime as a Black Catastrophe”
      • 43. Gary Orfield and Chungmei Lee, “Historic Reversals, Accelerating Resegregation and the Need for New Integration Strategies”
      • 44. Heather Beth Johnson and Thomas M. Shapiro, “Good Neighborhoods, Good Schools: Race and the ‘Good Choices’ of White Families”—Student Exercises
    • 11. Do We Care? Race, Health Care and the Environment
      • Introduction by Elizabeth Higginbotham and Margaret L. Andersen
      • 45. H. Jack Geiger, “Health Disparities: What Do We Know? What Do We Need to Know? What Should We Do?”
      • 46. Shirley A. Hill, “Cultural Images and the Health of African American Women”
      • 47. David Naguib Pellow and Robert J. Brulle, “Poisoning the Planet: The Struggle for Environmental Justice”
      • 48. Robert D. Bullard and Beverly Wright, “Race, Place and the Environment”—Student Exercises
    • 12. Criminal Injustice? Courts, Crime, and the Law
      • Introduction by Elizabeth Higginbotham and Margaret L. Andersen
      • 49. Bruce Western, “Punishment and Inequality”
      • 50. Rubén Rumbaut, Roberto Gonzales, Goinaz Kamaie, and Charlie V. Moran, “Debunking the Myth of Immigrant Criminality: Imprisonment among First and Second Generation Young Men”
      • 51. Christina Swarns, “The Uneven Scales of Capital Justice”
      • 52. Devah Pager, “The Mark of a Criminal Record”—Student Exercises
    • 13. Moving Forward: Analysis and Social Action
      • Introduction by Elizabeth Higginbotham and Margaret L. Andersen
      • 53. Thomas F. Pettigrew, “Post-Racism? Putting Obama’s Victory in Perspective”
      • 54. Frank Dobbins, Alexandra Kalev, and Erin Kelly, “Diversity Management in Corporate America”
      • 55. Southern Poverty Law Center, “Ways to Fight Hate”—Student Exercises
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Book Review Essay – The Legacy of Jim Crow: The Enduring Taboo of Black-White Romance

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Law, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2011-07-02 19:33Z by Steven

Book Review Essay – The Legacy of Jim Crow: The Enduring Taboo of Black-White Romance

Texas Law Review
Volume 84, Number 3 (February 2006)
pages 739-766

Kevin R. Johnson, Dean and Mabie-Apallas Professor of Public Interest Law and Chicana/o Studies
Univesity of California, Davis

Dear Senator: A Memoir by the Daughter of Strom Thurmond. By Essie Mae Washington-Williams & William Stadiem. New York: Regan Books, 2005. Pp. 223.

Unforgivalbe Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson. By Geoffrey C. Ward. New York: Knopf, 2004. Pp. xi, 492.

Over the last one hundred years, racial equality has made momentous strides in the United States. State-enforced segregation ended. Slowly but surely, the nation dismantled Jim Crow. As part of that dismantling, the Supreme Court struck down bans on interracial marriage, which were popular in many states.

Interracial relationships have increased dramatically over the last fifty years. In 2006, they meet with much greater acceptance than they did in 1950, especially in the nation’s major urban centers. The United States has begun to grapple with the issues related to interracial intimacy, such as the increasing number of mixed-race people and the controversy over transracial adoption, two topics that would have been wholly unnecessary to mention, much less analyze, just years ago. Ultimately, by transforming notions of race and races, racial mixture promises to transform the entire civil rights agenda in the United States.

Juxtaposed against this promise of transformed racial notions, however, lies this nation’s continuing battle against the enduring legacy of slavery and Jim Crow. While adeptly shedding light on the complexities of U.S. racial history, Dear Senator: A Memoir by the Daughter of Strom Thurmond and Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson reveal just how far from this legacy the nation has advanced over the twentieth century. At the same time, the books highlight the many ways in which race relations have remained more or less the same.

Born in 1925, Essie Mae Washington-Williams is the half-black daughter of the late U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond. Dear Senator tells the story of her life as the invisible child of a staunch segregationist and prominent national politician. Raised by her aunt in Coatesville, Pennsylvania, Washington-Williams was first stunned to learn as a teenager that her real mother—not her aunt as she had been told—was Carrie Butler, a young African-American woman who had worked as a domestic in the Strom Thurmond family home in South Carolina. A few years later she met her father, whose identity had been a tightly kept family secret. Only upon Thurmond’s death in 2003 did it become widely known that he had fathered Washington-Williams.

A generation before Washington-Williams’s birth, Jack Johnson became the first African-American heavyweight boxing champion of the world. Unforgivable Blackness details his capture of the championship as a milestone in the social history of the United States. Previously reserved exclusively for white men, the title served as a high profile symbol of white supremacy. Consequently, Johnson’s championship reign generated great controversy and contributed to heightened racial tensions…

…Both books reveal much about the deep-seated legal and social taboos that surrounded and influenced black–white relationships before the Supreme Court’s 1967 decision in Loving v. Virginia. The stories of Essie Mae Washington-Williams and Jack Johnson demonstrate how law and policy, combined with strong social forces, sought to enforce the strict separation of the races in intimate relationships. Nonetheless, from the days of Thomas Jefferson, such relationships (often nonconsensual) frequently formed between prominent white men and subservient African-American women. Interracial sex was kept secret; this secrecy served to maintain the myth of complete racial separation.

Dear Senator and Unforgivable Blackness also reveal much about the social and legal double standards used to judge interracial relationships. African Americans like Jack Johnson were harshly punished for crossing the color line. Strom Thurmond, of course, legally married a series of glamorous “All-American” women and was able to keep his relationship with an African-American domestic service worker—and his half-black daughter—a secret from the general public. That liaison crossed the same line violated by Jack Johnson but was not sanctioned in the least; indeed, it fit comfortably into a long history of white men exploiting black women.

The legacy of Jim Crow and the legal and social separation of the races continues to affect the formation of interracial relationships in the modern United States. Most Americans marry persons of the same race. Although increasing, white–black relationships are relatively rare and much less common than Asian American–white, Latino–white, and Native American– white relationships.

A body of legal scholarship analyzing racial mixture has emerged in recent years. Some of that scholarship is autobiographical, including James McBride’s best-selling book The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother. Adding to this body of literature, Dear Senator and Unforgivable Blackness tell memorable stories of the lives of two remarkable people and, at the same time, offer fascinating glimpses of how law and policy indelibly influenced them and their relationships.

This Essay analyzes how these books reveal the lasting impacts of slavery and Jim Crow on modern social relations. For even with the demise of the legal prohibition on interracial relationships, the social taboo on black–white relationships remains. So long as we live in a socially segregated society, low intermarriage rates between African Americans and whites will likely remain.

Part I of this Essay briefly summarizes the two books and places them in their proper historical, legal, and social contexts. Part II analyzes the enduring legacies of Jim Crow that Dear Senator and Unforgivable Blacknesshig highlight and discuss. These legacies include: (A) the persistence of social disfavor for black–white relationships; (B) the continued portrayal of African-American men as stereotypical criminals and hypersexual beings; (C) the endurance of the longstanding conflict between assimilation and nationalism as strategies for minorities seeking social change, personal survival, success, and happiness; and (D) the existence of white privilege in the United States, then and now…

One is left to conclude that Washington-Williams did not really know her father. The relationship was a formally cold one; one of her most lasting memories of Strom Thurmond was his strong handshake. This lack of love, or formal public acknowledgment, could not have been anything other than deeply hurtful, even though Washington-Williams refuses to condemn any of her father’s conduct.

…Despite family difficulties, Washington-Williams led a productive and successful life. She married an African-American man she met in college, who became a civil rights lawyer and died prematurely. Washington-Williams completed her undergraduate studies and later earned a master’s degree. Settling in the Los Angeles area, she was a school teacher and guidance counselor and raised a family. By all accounts, Washington-Williams self-identified as African American, growing up and living in African-American communities throughout her life. Though half-white, she suffered no burning ambiguity about her racial identity, showing again that race is a social, not a biological, construct. In this way, Washington-Williams self-identified as did many mixed-race African Americans, including W.E.B. DuBois and Frederick Douglass.

At the individual level, the painful experiences of Washington-Williams show an extreme example of the racial identity issues mixed-race people in the United States face. Importantly, she went public after Thurmond’s death to clear the air and end the years of media speculation about whether Strom Thurmond was her father. Now claiming to feel “completely free,” Washington-Williams is exploring her white roots and has gone so far as to seek membership in the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution and the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

It was the cruelest of ironies that not only was Essie Mae Washington-Williams’s father white, but he was also one of the most well-known segregationists of his generation. Strom Thurmond, along with many other Southern politicians, used segregation for political gain in post-World War II America. The despised race mixing was the evil thrown out like meat to the dogs when the issue of African-American civil rights was raised; campaign promises to attack this evil won many votes. Thurmond embraced racist views in spite of his long-time relationship with a black woman, thus himself engaging in race-mixing by fathering a child and maintaining a relationship with his half-black daughter. The inconsistencies between Thurmond’s personal and professional lives, of course, are in no way unheard of in U.S. history.

Racial mixture is part of this nation’s heritage. However, U.S. society historically went to great lengths to keep it underground. But when social norms failed to maintain the public separation of the races, law intervened with a vengeance, as it did in Jack Johnson’s life…

Read the entire article here.

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Mixed Race America and the Law: A Reader (Review)

Posted in Articles, Book/Video Reviews, Law, Media Archive, United States on 2010-02-05 21:46Z by Steven

Mixed Race America and the Law: A Reader (Review)

Law and Politics Book Review
American Political Science Association
Volume 13,  Number 4 (April 2003)

Barbara L. Graham, Professor of Political Science,
University of Missouri, St. Louis

Mixed Race America and the Law: A Reader. By Kevin R. Johnson (Editor). (New York and London: New York University Press, 2003. 505 pages. Cloth ISBN: 0-8147-4256-4. Paper ISBN: 0-8147-4257-2)

In Mixed Race America and the Law: A Reader, Kevin R. Johnson has edited one of the most important and timely anthologies on the general topic of race mixture and the law. The anthology addresses a range of provocative issues concerning the mixed race experience and the law and its impact on mixed race peoples. For readers who are unfamiliar with the vast literature on the mixed race experience, I am confident that they will find this book’s interdisciplinary approach indispensable in its grappling with issues raised by multiracialism and the law. Johnson’s book, part of the Critical America Series published by New York University Press, takes critical race theory into another direction in its emphasis on mixed race scholarship.  As with many of the writings of critical race theorists, Johnson’s book has seriously challenged the conventional wisdom of the black-white paradigm. The writings persuasively demonstrate that America has always been a mixed race society, that the law has played a major role in shaping racial categories, classification schemes, intermarriage, immigration and trans-racial adoption issues to name a few. Race is addressed as a social construct and Johnson – as well as the other contributors – acknowledges how law has not kept up with the fluid racial boundaries in the American context. This book covers the diversity of the mixed race experience in America, including African American, Indian, Latina(o) and Asian populations. Johnson argues in the introduction that “racial mixture will undoubtedly shape the future study of race and civil rights in the United States. As minorities of many different types intermarry and rates of immigration of diverse peoples to this country remain high, more racial mixtures and mixed race peoples will emerge.”  The writings in the anthology take the reader on a journey in an effort to understand the complexities of racial mixture in the United States and abroad.

Johnson has carefully selected eighty-seven edited scholarly writings, primarily law review articles published in the 1990s and a few court cases.  The reader is divided into twelve parts in an attempt to examine the complexities of racial categories and what they mean for a mixed race society.  Part I addresses the history and slow demise of anti-miscegenation laws. The edited selections cover issues such as an historical overview of these laws, the history of racial identification and the regulation of interracial sex in colonial Virginia, and the relationship between lynchings and interracial relationships.  As expected, Johnson includes writings on an analysis of Loving v. Virginia (1967) and its impact.  Readers may be unfamiliar with an important precursor to Loving, Perez v. Sharp (1948), where the California Supreme Court held that the state anti-miscegenation law violated the Constitution.  Going beyond the white-black context, the other writings in Part I cover attempts to regulate intermarriage between Indians and whites and Asians and whites…

Read the entire review here.

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A Reader on Race, Civil Rights, and American Law: A Multiracial Approach

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Law, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2009-12-31 21:43Z by Steven

A Reader on Race, Civil Rights, and American Law: A Multiracial Approach

Carolina Academic Press
864 pages
ISBN-10: 0-89089-735-2
ISBN: 978-0-89089-735-5
LCCN: 2001092052

Timothy Davis, W. and Ruth H. Turnage Professor of Law
Wake Forest University

Kevin R. Johnson, Dean and Mabie-Apallas Professor of Public Interest Law and Chicana/o Studies
University of California, Davis

George A. Martinez, Professor of Law
Southern Methodist University, Dedman School of Law

This anthology offers a range of legal and related literature analyzing the major issues of race and civil rights in the modern United States. Unlike previous works, which have tended to focus on the relationship between Caucasians and African Americans, this anthology considers race and civil rights issues from a wide range of minority perspectives — African American, Asian American, Latino, and Native American.

The debate over race issues is examined in numerous contexts, including the role of race in laws affecting education, housing, employment, voting rights, immigration, and the administration of criminal justice. In this anthology, editors Davis, Johnson, and Martinez explore broader themes such as the history of racial subordination of African Americans, Native Americans, Asian Americans and Latinos; affirmative action; hate speech; and the subordination of women of color. In setting the stage for an examination of race in these diverse contexts, the anthology’s first selections explore the concept of race.

The anthology is geared toward, but not limited to, law school classes focusing on civil rights and race relations. The selections are of such a nature that the anthology should also appeal to anyone interested in foundational readings in this area. Each chapter begins with an introduction that strives to provide a framework from which the reader can analyze the current debates over issues of race in the United States.

View the table of contents here.

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How Did You Get to Be Mexican? A White/Brown Man’s Search for Identity

Posted in Autobiography, Books, Family/Parenting, Identity Development/Psychology, Latino Studies, Media Archive, Monographs, Social Science, United States on 2009-12-31 17:00Z by Steven

How Did You Get to Be Mexican? A White/Brown Man’s Search for Identity

Temple University Press
264 pages
EAN: 978-1-56639-651-6
ISBN: 1-56639-651-4

Kevin R. Johnson, Dean and Mabie-Apallas Professor of Public Interest Law and Chicana/o Studies
University of California, Davis

This compelling account of racial identity takes a close look at the question “Who is a Latino?” and determines where persons of mixed Anglo-Latino heritage fit into the racial dynamics of the United States. The son of a Mexican-American mother and an Anglo father, Kevin Johnson has spent his life in the borderlands between racial identities. In this insightful book, he uses his experiences as a mixed Latino-Anglo to examine issues of diversity, assimilation, race relations, and affirmative action in contemporary United States.

Read the introduction here.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. A “Latino” Law Student? Law 4 Sale at Harvard Law School
3. My Mother: One Assimilation Story
4. My Father: Planting the Seeds of a Racial Consciousness
5. Growing Up White?
6. College: Beginning to Recognize Racial Complexities
A Family Gallery
7. A Corporate Lawyer: Happily Avoiding the Issue
8. A Latino Law Professor
9. My Family/Mi Familia
10. Lessons for Latino Assimilation
11. What Does It All Mean for Race Relations in the United States?

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Mixed Race America and the Law: A Reader

Posted in Anthologies, Books, Census/Demographics, History, Law, Media Archive, Passing, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2009-10-23 23:45Z by Steven

Mixed Race America and the Law: A Reader

New York Univeristy Press
512 pages
ISBN: 9780814742570

Edited by:

Kevin R. Johnson, Mabie-Apallas Professor of Public Interest Law and Chicano/a Studies
University of California Davis

For the first time in United States history, the Year 2000 census allowed people to check more than one box to identify their race. This new way of gathering data and characterizing race and ethnicity reflects important changes in how racial identity is understood in America. Besides acknowledging the presence of mixed race citizens, this new understanding promises to have major implications for American law and policy.

With this anthology, Kevin R. Johnson brings together ground-breaking scholarship on the mixed race experience in America to examine the impact of law on these citizens. The foundational essays that comprise the collection present the historical, social, and political contexts surrounding the body of law that addresses race while analyzing the implications of multiracialism. Divided into 12 sections, the reader includes an introduction by Johnson and essential essays by contributors such as Garrett Epps, Judith Resnick, Richard Delgado, Ian Haney López, Randall Kennedy, and Patricia Hill Collins. Selections address miscegenation, racial classification, interracial adoption, the 2000 census, “passing,” and other topics; each section includes questions to promote further discussion. This book is an invaluable resource for examining the complexities of racial categories in modern America.

Read the entire introduction here.

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