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Unpublished Paper
Antidiscrimination Law and the Multiracial Experience: A Reply to Nancy Leong
ExpressO (2012)
  • Tina F Botts, J.D., Ph.D., University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Nancy Leong’s thesis, in “Judicial Erasure of Mixed-Race Discrimination,” is that antidiscrimination law should make a switch from defining race “categorically” to defining it in terms of the perception of the would-be discriminator so as to better accommodate claims of multiracial discrimination and so as to better achieve what Leong sees as the goals of antidiscrimination law, i.e., the promotion of racial understanding, and the elimination of racism and racial discrimination. But, while Leong’s goals are admirable, the method she proposes for achieving these goals will not succeed. Antidiscrimination law cannot operate to promote racial understanding, or to eliminate racism and racial discrimination, because it was not designed to achieve these goals. Moreover, a switch in focus on the part of antidiscrimination courts from “categorical” race to “perceived” race will not render antidiscrimination law more accommodating to claims of multiracial discrimination. Such a shift would instead operate to further exclude multiracial plaintiffs from protection against discrimination. A more effective way of modifying antidiscrimination law so as to render it better able to accommodate claims of multiracial discrimination is to call courts (1) to remember that discrimination is something that happens to social groups and not to individuals, and (2) to include multiracial persons among the groups of persons specially protected from discrimination.
  • civil rights,
  • equal protection,
  • critical race theory,
  • race,
  • 14th Amendment,
  • Title VII,
  • jurisprudence,
  • philosophy of law
Publication Date
September 11, 2012
Citation Information
Tina F Botts. "Antidiscrimination Law and the Multiracial Experience: A Reply to Nancy Leong" ExpressO (2012)
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