Race and the Law
Instructor: Sonia Gipson Rankin, JD
Are we a "post-racial" society? Do "English-only" laws make the workplace more cohesive? Is there a "model minority" in America? Should Latinos and Blacks avoid hoodies? Are Native American children better off with Native American parents? Why do we drug test welfare recipients? When was affirmative action white? What happens when Russian children are considered "not white enough"? What does equality really mean?
This seminar will explore the complex topic of race through a legal lens, considering the historical and contemporary relationship between law and society. We will analyze law as an expression of cultural values, a reflection of social, economic, and political structure, and an ideological instrument of social control and social change. We will examine the legal construction of race as it relates to individual, institutional, and structural racism.
Complimenting this general perspective will be an examination of selected legal institutions, such as the court system, the police, regulatory agencies, and the legal profession.