The Danger of White Fear

Extensive social science research documents that white people are afraid of black people, and particularly black men. One study found that simply seeing black men made white research subjects uncomfortable, and that overall black men elicited the most negative reactions from white people. More tellingly, in a 2009 survey examining white people’s attitudes toward black people and violence, more than 30% of respondents said that black people were more violent than white people. Moreover, more than 40% of respondents said that “many” or “almost all” black men were violent, while fewer than 20% said the same of black women and white men, and fewer than 10% said the same of white women. And remember, these are just the respondents who were willing to voice their thoughts out loud. Continue reading

Selected to the 2014 ABA Blawg 100

I’m pleased to announce that this blog — which is still less than a year old — has been selected to the ABA Blawg 100. The 100 selected blogs are now competing against one another in 13 categories. Mine is in the “Prof” division. If you’re so inclined, please check out the full list of 100 blogs and consider voting for me.

If you’re new to this blog and made your way here from the ABA Journal site, here are a few posts from the past year that, I think, collectively capture what my blog is about:

On Medium: “Faking Diversity and Racial Capitalism”

I have a new essay on Medium that discusses fake diversity in relation to my Harvard Law Review article “Racial Capitalism.” In addition to a number of photoshopping examples that some people may have heard me discuss elsewhere, I also relate the drive to create fake diversity to  recent political events, including the Frederick Douglass Republicans, the Asian Republican Coalition, and the Republican Party’s new black friend. Read the piece for more.

Quoted in Businessweek on Uber Regulation

I’m quoted in this Businessweek story asking whether Uber can deny service to people that it dislikes. The answer isn’t completely clear yet, and depends on whether Uber’s a common carrier — a carrier like an airline, bus, taxicab service, etc. that holds its services out to the general public. A regulatory agency in Baltimore found that Uber was a common carrier in September 2014,  but so far no other has to my knowledge. I suspect this is something that regulators and courts will be working out for a while.

Farrell & Leong: “Gender Diversity and Same-Sex Marriage”

My coauthored essay with my University of Denver colleague Ian Farrell, “Gender Diversity and Same Sex Marriage,” is just out in the Columbia Law Review Sidebar! Particularly given the recent Sixth Circuit same-sex marriage decision, I’m happy to have our thoughts on one aspect of the same-sex marriage debate out in final form. The editors at Columbia were wonderful to work with and we were impressed with the speedy Sidebar publishing timeline — less than three months from acceptance to publication.



This Year’s Derrick Bell and Clyde Ferguson Awards

Congratulations to my University of Denver Law colleague César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández for his selection as the recipient of this year’s Derrick A. Bell, Jr. Award!

As some readers may know, the The Derrick A. Bell, Jr. Award is awarded annually by the AALS Minority Groups section. It’s named in honor of Professor Derrick A. Bell, Jr.-the first tenured African-American on the Harvard Law School faculty. The Award honors a junior faculty member who, through activism, mentoring, colleagueship, teaching and scholarship, has made an extraordinary contribution to legal education, the legal system or social justice. Continue reading

What I Read Last Week

A few recommendations I found around the Internet last week:

  • Martha Nussbaum, Haterz Gonna Hate?: Nussbaum weaves together her own experience with online harassment with a thoughtful review of Danielle Citron’s book Hate Crimes in Cyberspace, which I’ve mentioned before. I particularly appreciate Nussbaum’s acknowledgment of certain First Amendment realities: “Nobody is really a free-speech absolutist: bribery, perjury, criminal solicitation, extortion and the other types of speech I’ve mentioned are not supported even by zealous speech libertarians. More to the point, US constitutional law is not absolutist, and sensible proposals of Citron’s sort are no threat to cherished values.”

Continue reading

“Improving Rights” and Originalism’s Alternatives

This afternoon I’m looking forward to discussing my article “Improving Rights,” published in the Virginia Law Review earlier this year, with the students in a class called “Originalism’s Alternatives,” taught by Adam Samaha (NYU). The class is about constitutional interpretation and decision, and covers different varieties of originalism as well as alternatives to originalism, along with other topics such as authority theories and judicial behavior. I’m one of about half a dozen law professors who are discussing their recent scholarship with the class.

I’ll be Skyping into the seminar from Denver, which strikes me as a really efficient and creative way to bring guest speakers into the class using technology. It makes the time commitment much less on the part of the speaker, which might make the difference for some speakers between being able to participate and not being able to participate. It reduces the possibility of logistical obstacles — for example, I well remember the frustration of being snowbound in Denver and not being able to get to a class at another school where I was hoping to present my work. And of course it saves a lot of money, which is always a good thing. Of course, Skype isn’t a true substitute for in-person interaction, but it seems to me that in many instances the benefits will make up for the costs. Thanks to Adam for inviting me.

Garden: “Meta Rights”

When are people not only guaranteed the protection of a particular constitutional right, but also notice of the existence of that right and/or help availing themselves of that constitutional right? Charlotte Garden (U Seattle; Litigation Director of Korematsu Center for Law & Equality) takes up this question in a great new piece, “Meta Rights,” just out in the Fordham Law Review. An excerpt from the abstract: Continue reading

New Piece: “The Sharing Economy Has A Race Problem”

I have a piece in Salon today about racial bias in the sharing economy. How can we prevent the race discrimination that affects businesses in the traditional economy from infecting the new sharing economy as well? The Salon piece gestures at a larger project I’m currently working on that will probably take the form of a law review article, tentatively titled “The New Public Accommodations,” that will look at how we can prevent private-actor race discrimination on within the sharing economy. Continue reading