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Summary of White by Law: The Legal Construction of Race – 2nd Edition
From publisher NYU Press:
Whiteness pays. As White by Law shows, immigrants recognized the value of whiteness and sometimes petitioned the courts to be recognized as white. Haney Lspez argues for the centrality of law in constructing race.–Voice Literary Supplement”White by Law’s thoughtful analysis of the prerequisite cases offers support for the fundamental critical race theory tenet that race is a social construct reinforced by law. Haney Lspez has blazed a trail for those exploring the legal and social constructions of race in the United States.”–Berkeley Women’s Law JournalLily white. White knights. The white dove of peace. White lie, white list, white magic. Our language and our culture are suffused, often subconsciously, with positive images of whiteness. Whiteness is so inextricably linked with the status quo that few whites, when asked, even identify themselves as such. And yet when asked what they would have to be paid to live as a black person, whites give figures running into the millions of dollars per year, suggesting just how valuable whiteness is in American society.Exploring the social, and specifically legal origins, of white racial identity, Ian F. Haney Lopez here examines cases in America’s past that have been instrumental in forming contemporary conceptions of race, law, and whiteness. In 1790, Congress limited naturalization to white persons. This racial prerequisite for citizenship remained in force for over a century and a half, enduring until 1952. In a series of important cases, including two heard by the United States Supreme Court, judges around the country decided and defined who was white enough to become American.White by Law traces the reasoning employed by the courts intheir efforts to justify the whiteness of some and the non- whiteness of others. Did light skin make a
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