Saturday, September 25, 2004
Hearing this reminded me of an article I found a few years ago by Darren Hutchinson (formerly of SMU law school, currently at American University's Washington College of Law): "'Gay Rights' for 'Gay Whites'?: Race, Sexual Identity, and Equal Protection Discourse," 85 Cornell Law Review 1358-1391 (2000).
The essential thrust of this paper goes beyond showing that homosexual racial minorities have a more difficult time in social settings, but they are treated differently by the law. Professor Hutchinson's area of expertise lies in critical race theory which provides the foundation for a paper that examines how gays are treated unequally under the law depending on whether they are a racial minority or not.
Professor Hutchinson argues that ultimately "success or failure of efforts to achieve legal equality for gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered individuals will depend in large part on how scholars and activists in this field address questions of racial identity and racial subjugation."
The problem as he sees it is that scholars create a comparative approach to addressing issues of inequality under the law: "use of analogies between "racial discrimination" and "sexual orientation discrimination," or between "people of color" and "gays and lesbians."...this approach impedes the quest for gay and lesbian equality."
What has happened that creates further inequality under the law is that the comparative approach has created a narrow construction of the gay and lesbian community as largely upper-class and white. Opponents of gay and lesbian equality then use this narrow construction of the gay and lesbian community "in political discourse and judicial opinions; scholars, activists, and jurists contest the "morality" and necessity of extending civil rights protections to gay and lesbian citizens by depicting the gay and lesbian community as largely white, privileged, and unharmed by any discrimination they face."
See, watching TV can be a good thing for getting you to think about the legal world that is revolving around us.