The Law Has Shaped Law

931 WordsMay 19, 20164 Pages
Law has shaped many factors in society such as race and gender. Laws reflect the values of society, and historically we can see that laws were created in order to maintain power for the white, male population. In order to do this, law had to create the idea of the “other” since race and gender are not natural occurrences. Race and gender although not real, are powerful social phenomenons that have shaped law and society. Difference is identifiable. Unlike the Jews in Germany, or the Catholics in Ireland, Blacks constantly wear their identity, unable to hide or disguise it to those who seek harm. Furthemore, femininity as society dictates it is about being the opposite, or the “other” of masculinity. As Hanley Lopez states in his work, skin complexion, hair texture and length, and nose width are all signifiers of difference, and this has been historically used to decide who was enslaved, who was free, and who had what rights. Today these features are used to create the idea of race and gender and apply social constructions about these groups to individual people. Race and gender are not natural facts. There is nothing biological about race, one can not single out the “black” or the “white” gene in the human genome. Furthermore, there is nothing biological that dictates that women’s hair should be longer, or that they are mentally inferior to men to the point that they should not work or vote. Although the ideas are not “real” in nature, they exist in a very real way in

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