Race, Racism, And American Law Essay

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When we think of what it means to be white in today’s society, it seems so obvious in our modern eyes of who is white and who is not. Usually we have the mentality in racial aspects of either one person is this or not. What influences our way of differentiating from one person to another is what we were taught in life and from school. In Ian Haney Lopez, White By Law, Lopez discusses how the terms “black” and “white” were not natural categories that were simply there from the very beginning of time. But instead were terms that were created in part under the social construction of the law.
He gives a great example of this, by quoting a work from A. Leon Higginbotham, Jr.’s classic study, In the Matter of Color: Race and the American legal process: The Colonial Period (1978) and Derrick Bell’s Casebook, Race, Racism, and American Law. He noted how in both books the authors would treat the terms of “blacks” and “negroes” as natural categories. For instance Higginbotham’s book mentions how, “In 1619, when these first twenty blacks arrived in Jamestown, there was not yet a statutory process to especially fix the legal of blacks”. Just like Bell labeling the Africans that came to Jamestown as “Negroes”.
Lopez criticizes both authors on how they fell prey to the assumption that “blacks” and negroes” were racial terms naturally existed back then. Which is not the case for back in the 1600’s, African and Europeans did not see themselves as “whites” or “blacks”, it wasn’t until
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