Posts Tagged ‘Race’

Catholic Leaders Among Supporters of Immigration Reform

July 21st, 2014 No comments

By: Morgan Davis  

Blog Category: Race & Religion

Immigration law reform is at the forefront of many political, legal, racial, and social debates. Supporters and opponents of various immigration reform issues use major platforms to express which side of the debate they are on. A group of Catholic leaders from across the United States received national media attention after they visited Arizona’s border with Mexico on March 31 and April 1, 2014. They are among the supporters of immigrants in the fight for immigration reform. The Catholic leaders are members of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishop’s Committee on Migration, which supports undocumented immigrants gaining citizenship.  Their visit sparks the discussion, and bridges the gap between race and religion issues, as many of these immigration debates center on different racial and ethnic groups. In their visit to the border they stated their goal was to “highlight the human consequences of a broken immigration system and call upon the U.S. Congress to fix it.” Their concerns are prompted by the number of immigrants that die each year in an attempt to cross the borders into the United States. While their actions are “illegal,” many of the Catholic leaders note the majority of immigrants make this dangerous journey in hopes of finding a better live for their families and more job opportunities. The rising support for immigration reform has especially become more prominent with the increase of Hispanic Catholics over the last twenty years. As the political, social, racial, and religious debate heats up it will interesting to see if supporters of immigration reform will push Congress to take some action.

The opinions expressed herein are strictly those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Widener Journal of Law, Economics & Race.  


Robert Ortega, Catholic Leaders Push Immigration Overhaul at Border, The Arizona Republic, (April 1, 2014, 4:31 PM), available at

Michael Lipka, Catholics, other Christians support immigration reform, but say faith plays small role, Pew Research Center (April 1, 2014), available at

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Australia’s Public Divided on Racial Discrimination Amendments

June 9th, 2014 No comments

By: Andrew Schneidman

Blog Category: International Law & Race

Australia announced major amendments to its Racial Discrimination Act that effectively reduce legal constraints on discriminatory speech.  Since 1975, and until now, the Act banned actions “reasonably likely . . . to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate others because of the race, colour or national or ethnic origin.”  The new amendment removes from the Act the words “offend, insult, humiliate,” banning only actions “reasonably likely . . . [to] intimidate” or “vilify.”  Moreover, the Act grants a major exemption, legalizing actions of racial intimidation made for any genuine purpose in the public interest.  The change comes in the wake of the opinion handed down in Eatock v. Bolt, a 2011 case where a newspaper columnist was found to have breached the Act when he published two articles targeting fair-skinned Aborigines.

The amendment has triggered a public debate, with opponents arguing the amendment bolsters bigotry, and supporters claiming the amendment bolsters free speech.  Opponents contend that the amendments will open the floodgates to racial discrimination in all public discussions.  They fear the amendments’ exemptions are too broad, effectively endorsing acts of public discrimination in any public forum.  Supports reason that the amendments correctly shift racial discrimination claims from the perspective of the group claiming to be offended to “the perspective of a reasonable member of the Australian community.”  They maintain that the amendments simply bar frivolous lawsuits against innocent citizens.

Time will tell the true effect of Australia’s amendments to its Racial Discrimination Act, but one thing is clear: Australia’s courts have less say in matters of discriminatory speech.

The opinions expressed herein are strictly those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Widener Journal of Law, Economics & Race. 


Gay Alcorn, Locked in a war of words to define free speech, The Sydney Morning Herald (Mar. 29, 2014), available at

Gillian Triggs, Race law changes seriously undermine protections, The Australian (Mar. 28, 2014), available at

Martin Gilmour, Discrimination law change strengthening free speech, The Examiner (Mar. 29, 2014), available at

Volume V, Issue 2 Published!

June 2nd, 2014 No comments

The Widener Journal of Law, Economics & Race is proud to announce that Volume V, Issue II is now available! Click the link, read, and enjoy!


Are African-American Women Too Strong to be Victims of Domestic Violence?

June 2nd, 2014 No comments

By: Chantal Jones

Blog Category: Domestic Violence Issues and the Law, Economics, & Race

Domestic violence is a crime that cuts a painful swath across all races, socioeconomic levels and cultures.[1]  Experts in the field say that one set of victims — black women — is at a far greater risk to experience the grimmest of all domestic violence statistics. According to Dallas News, black women are about three times more likely to die at the hands of a partner or ex-partner than members of other racial groups. Intimate-partner homicide is also among the leading causes of death for black women ages 15 to 35.[2]

Racism alters how African-American women receive treatment through domestic violence resources and how they perceive resources. Therefore, because of racism, African-American women have specific concerns when making decisions about domestic violent relationships and what resources would be the best for them.[3] These concerns include the view of the race as a whole, the perceptions of African-American men, how African-American families are treated American society, economic concerns, and how American public protectors such as the police and judicial system treat victims and batterers in the system.[4]

Often times, African-American women are stereotyped as being too opinionated, bossy, and the subservient woman to her husband or significant other. Being viewed as the “strong black woman” can be positive, but unfortunately, it leaves African-American women in positions where they are not seen as the typical “victim.” Therefore, according to Lisa Martinson of the Wisconsin Women’s Law Journal, the African-American woman must first demonstrate herself to be a victim in general, and then a victim of domestic violence.

African-American women stereotypes negatively suggest that she deserves the violence, that she is strong enough to fight it alone or for any other reason to lay some sort of fault upon the woman. This type of rationalization perpetuates not only racism but also the belief that violence against women is condoned by society. Hopefully, with more awareness of domestic violence and knowledge of how abusers seek to gain and retain power over women, African-American women will not have to first disprove the stereotypes in order to attain the assistance they need to leave and stay safely from the batterer.

The opinions expressed herein are strictly those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Widener Journal of Law, Economics & Race.

[1] Selwyn Crawford, Black Women at Greater Risk of Becoming Victims of Homicidal Domestic Violence, Dallas News, (Sept. 21, 2013, 11:10PM), available at

[2] Id.

[3] Lisa M. Martinson, An Analysis of Racism and Resources for African-American Female Victims of Domestic Violence in Wisconsin, 16 Wis. Women’s L.J. 259 (2001)

[4] Id.

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Women of Color and the “Gender Gap” Troubling for Republicans

May 26th, 2014 No comments

By: Stephen McLendon

Blog Category: Race & Religion

Women of color have recently been nicknamed the “gender gap” and have been a source of trouble for conservative Republicans.  This title has been derived from their alleged swing vote resulting from differing candidates’ stance on religious issues, such as abortion and birth control.  However, this “gender gap” ideal assumes that women of color vote solely based on issues dealing with their reproductive rights.   The truth is that their vote extends past issues solely of race and religion.

Women of color, single, and low-income women are directly affected by Republican policies extending beyond race and religion.  The largest issue for these groups of women is healthcare and what the new Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) has to offer.  These groups of women also vote based on education and job policies.  So, the next time Republicans alter their policies based on this “swing vote” group, they will need to change their stance on more than just issues of race and religion.

The opinions expressed herein are strictly those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Widener Journal of Law, Economics & Race.  


Zerlina Maxwell, Black Voters, Not the ‘Gender Gap,’ Won Virginia for McAuliffe, (November 1, 2013), available at

For “Better” or For “Worse”: Aftermath of Zimbabwe’s Racial Land Redistribution

May 12th, 2014 No comments

By: Kyle Byard
Blog Category: International Law & Race

Beginning in 2000, Zimbabwe underwent a drastic change in land ownership among its citizens. President Robert Mugabe, a staunch revolutionary, implemented a fast-track land reform policy that essentially redistributed farmland from white farmers to black farmers. The racial basis of this land redistribution is pretty blatant. During an interview, President Mugabe stated, “Zimbabwe belonged to the Zimbabweans, pure and simple.” He believes white Zimbabweans, or “British settlers,” have a “debt to pay” for taking the land illegally from the original, indigenous people of Zimbabwe.

Depending on how one is affected, this reform program is considered a failure or a success. White farmers have faced violent takeovers of their land, resulting in the death of about eighteen farmers and a majority of farm workers being “driven away from their homes.”  Under the program, nationality of white farmers is irrelevant; they are viewed as “British settlers,” not citizens of Zimbabwe. There have also been negative effects on the economy, including growths in unemployment, hyperinflation destroying Zimbabwe’s currency, and the declination of wheat, coffee, tea, and maize production.

On the other hand, this program has had a positive effect on black farmers of Zimbabwe. The land reform turned 6,000 white farmers into 245,000 black farmers, most of which were too poor to obtain land through other means. As a result of this program, black farmers obtained small plots of land, which they continue to work. While certain crops’ yields have plummeted, tobacco production has risen and become a major cash crop. In 2011, black farmers shared $400 million in tobacco growth, each averaging $6000 of income. New investments in land have also reached the country’s infrastructure, such as the construction of schools, dams and roads.

There is no easy solution to this racial division of land. President Mugabe has alienated a portion of Zimbabwe’s citizens – white farmers. The land reform diminishes or strips them of their livelihood and forces them to start anew elsewhere. Even though some may have been born as a Zimbabwean, white farmers are seen as “visitors.” This program fights oppression with oppression – accepting violence and intimidation as a means to an end. However, this policy allows black farmers to advance in an industry where they have faced many difficulties. It allows black Zimbabweans to take control of their land and find economic success where they originally had little or none. It, in turn, gives them a sense of nationalist pride after the years of white-minority rule. The effects of the new economy have hit Zimbabwe hard, and the change in its agricultural market will require time for adjustment.

In the end, only time can tell where Zimbabwe goes from here.

The opinions expressed herein are strictly those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Widener Journal of Law, Economics & Race.  


Brook Amos, Recognizing Historical Disparages to Help Zimbabwe Move Forward, J. Gender Race & Just. (Oct. 02, 2009),

Mugabe Denies Blame for Zimbabwe, CNN (Sept. 24 2009),

Colin Freeman, The End of an Era for Zimbabwe’s Last White Farmers?, The Telegraph, June 26, 2011,

Godfrey Marawanyika, Thank You, Mr. Mugabe: Zimbabwe’s Forced Land Redistribution Led to Huge Controversy – but it has Transformed the Lives of Thousands of Small Farmers, The Independent, Nov. 05, 2013, available at–but-it-has-transformed-the-lives-of-thousands-of-small-farmers-8923229.html

Prof. Ian Scoones, Robert Mugabe’s Violent Seizure of White Farms Liberated Zimbabwe’s Agriculture Sector, Int’l Bus. Times, Nov. 25, 2013, available at

Lydia Polgreen, In Zimbabwe Land Takeover, a Golden Lining, N.Y. Times, July 20, 2012, available at

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