“The Jew” in German Constitutional Law

This paper looks at the status of Jews in German constitutional law. The discourse on the Jewish person is a racial discourse that is hardly identifiable as a such because of the lack of self-understanding of Germany as a “racial state.” I claim that there are three constitutional constructions of the Jew—as “historical,” “fictive,” and “real”—which yield a lose-lose situation, as they are not only harmful to Jews, but also to other ethnic and racial minorities. The case law illustrates how the dominant legal discourse denies the raciality of the German state, constructing the “historical Jew” in order to de-racialize Jews in today’s Germany. I will also discuss to what extent the German constitutional discourse on the headscarf created the “fictive Jew,” i.e. “the Jew with the kippah” to offer the ultimate historical and moral argument to ban the headscarf. Finally, I show that the “real Jew” is related to other racialized subjects, particularly to Blacks, Muslims, and Romas

Race, Speech, and Violence in U.S. Education: Lessons on Democracy, Dignity, and Equality

A disturbing rise in racist speech and violence on university campuses in the United States is occurring at the same time legal challenges threaten the future of existing tools to combat racial isolation, provide equal educational opportunity, and foster racial diversity in colleges and universities. The escalation in racist speech and acts of violence on campuses harkens back to civil rights era challenges to state-mandated apartheid, racial segregation in schools, and concurrent acts of state-inspired violence. Historically, such state-inspired violence had a direct and pernicious effect on inculcation of constitutional values and civic engagement for American students. This paper examines how, without a direct focus on the social, psychological, and legal harm of such racial violence in educational spaces, traditional liberal frameworks for constitutional interpretation merely replicate intergenerational educational disenfranchisement.

The Legal Construction of Anti-White Racism in France

The narrative of anti-white racism emerged in the early 2000s in France. This article analyzes the social context and the academic debates around this concept by situating it in the broader field of Whiteness Studies. It argues that so far little attention has been paid to the legal construction of anti-white racism. The recognition of anti-white racism as an actionable legal claim was first promoted by AGRIF, an organization linked to the far right via a specific litigation strategy starting in the late 1980s. Since then the social and legal idea of anti-white racism has been mainstreamed in part due to mobilization of a more established anti-racist organization, the LICRA.

The “Welfare Queen” Goes to the Polls: Race-Based Fractures in Gender Politics and Opportunities for Intersectional Coalitions

This paper argues that the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution, enshrining women’s suffrage, has been used to fracture women's understanding of their rights and shared political interests. Women of color are prosecuted for a surprising “crime” – exercising their right to vote. In some cases, formerly incarcerated women are barred from voting, e.g., when they are on parole or owe court fines (a modern day version of a poll tax). Like the “welfare cheat”– whom a generation ago, Ronald Reagan claimed received welfare checks from the state due to her presumed laziness, incompetence, and fraudulence, the new “Welfare Queen” is a narrative about anyone who places a claim on the state, including the right to vote. Trump's attacks on “voter fraud” underwrite his voter suppression efforts, which often turn on both race and gender. Therefore, we can view women of color as canaries in the coalmine of democracy.

Eugenics—A Key to the Enduring Impact of White supremacy?

Francis Galton, who coined the phrase 'eugenics' founded the field of biometrics in his quest to objectively establish white supremacy. Despite the fact that most of his research actually disproved his theories, eugenics was widely embraced by influential persons across Europe and the world. It influenced law and policy in relation to immigration, education and health. In this paper I will consider 3 questions. First, why was Galton trusted; second, when did this trust dissipate, and third, how do we determine which new ideas are worthy of our trust? I argue that Derrick Bell’s theory of interest convergence can answer question 1; that trust in eugenics has not fully dissipated, and in relation to question 3, that diversity in decision making is the only bulwark against ideas that target specific groups with deadly consequences, trust should only be placed in bodies with a diverse composition.

Law, Food, and Race: The Whiteness of French Food

Food is central to French identity. So too is the denial that racial differences exist and matter. Both tenets are central to the nation’s self-definition, making them difficult, yet all the more important to think about together. This paper purports to identify a form of French food whiteness, that is, the use of food and eating practices to reify and reinforce whiteness as the dominant racial identity. It develops three case studies of how law elevates a fiction of homogeneous French/white food as superior and normative at the expense of alternative ways of eating and their eaters—the law of geographical indications, school lunches, and cultural heritage law. Though it focuses on France, the argument has bearing on the broader understanding of food law as a form of racial regulation in other regions. The whiteness of French food is at work internally as a mode of production of racial difference and inequalities, but also internationally due to French cuisine’s elite status.