White by Law: The Legal Construction of Race

White by Law: The Legal Construction of Race

Hardback Critical America (New York University Hardcover)

By (author) Ian F.Haney Lopez

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  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Format: Hardback | 320 pages
  • Dimensions: 155mm x 231mm x 20mm | 363g
  • Publication date: 29 October 2006
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 081473698X
  • ISBN 13: 9780814736982
  • Edition: 10, Special edition
  • Edition statement: 10th Anniversary ed

Product description

"White by Law" was published in 1996 to immense critical acclaim, and established Ian Haney Lopez as one of the most exciting and talented young minds in the legal academy. The first book to fully explore the social and specifically legal construction of race, "White by Law" inspired a generation of critical race theorists and others interested in the intersection of race and law in American society. Today, it is used and cited widely by not only legal scholars but many others interested in race, ethnicity, culture, politics, gender, and similar socially fabricated facets of American society. In the first edition of "White by Law", Haney Lopez traced the reasoning employed by the courts in their efforts to justify the whiteness of some and the non-whiteness of others, and revealed the criteria that were used, often arbitrarily, to determine whiteness, and thus citizenship: skin color, facial features, national origin language, culture, ancestry, scientific opinion, and, most importantly, popular opinion. Ten years later, Haney Lopez revisits the legal construction of race, and argues that current race law has spawned a troubling racial ideology that perpetuates inequality under a new guise: colorblind white dominance. In a new, original essay written specifically for the 10th anniversary edition, he explores this racial paradigm and explains how it contributes to a system of white racial privilege socially and legally defended by restrictive definitions of what counts as race and as racism, and what doesn't, in the eyes of the law. The book also includes a new preface, in which Haney Lopez considers how his own personal experiences with white racial privilege helped engender "White by Law".

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Author information

Ian Haney Lopez is professor at Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California at Berkeley. In addition to White by Law, he is the author of Racism on Trial: The Chicano Fight for Justice.

Review quote

Praise for the 10th Anniversary Edition "Ten years after its initial publication, White by Law remains the definitive treatment of the naturalization cases, and provides a compelling account of the role of law in constructing race. A wonderful combination of thematic development and historical excavation, one leaves this revised edition with a thoroughgoing understanding of the ways in which citizenship functioned not only to include and exclude but as a process through which people quite literally became white by law." --Devon W. Carbado, Professor of Law and Associate Dean, UCLA School of Law" "White by Law remains one of the most significant and generative entries in the crowded field of 'whiteness studies.' Ian Haney Lopez has crafted a brilliant study, not merely of how 'race' figures in the juridical logic of U.S. citizenship, but of the ways in which law fully participates in the wholesale manufacture of those naturalized groupings we know as 'races.' A terribly important work." --Matthew Frye Jacobson, author of Roots Too: White Ethnic Revival in Post-Civil Rights America "White by Law remains the definitive work on how American law constructed a 'white' race at the turn of the twentieth century. Haney Lopez has added a chapter to the new edition, a sobering analysis of how, in our own time, 'colorblind' law and policy threaten to perpetuate, not eliminate, racial inequality. A must-read." --Mae M. Ngai, author of Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America "Here is one work that proved challenging to review with a fresh eye, having been widely reviewed and discussed since its original publication more than 10 years ago...While one's first question upon picking up such a book could easily be 'why bother?' with the re-release of an older work, in this case, the strategy works...[T]he addition of the author's personal narrative in the Preface and his intriguing view into the future with the new conclusion will add to the book's pedagogical value. In sum, Haney Lopez has provided a piece of scholarship worthy of bringing out a curtain call on its 10th anniversary." --Law and Politics ReviewPraise for the 1st edition: "Haney Lopez performs a major service for anyone truly interested in understanding contemporary debates over racial and ethnic politics... A sobering and crucial lesson for a society committed to equality and fairness." --Martha Minow, Harvard Law School "This book is remarkable for sheer information value, but draws its analytic power from the emphasis on whiteness to make sense of racial oppression... Haney Lopez convincingly demonstrates that the US is ideologically white not by accident but by design." --Choice