Assistant Professor, UCLA Law. Teach and write about the law of educational inequality, property and the family. Mom of 3. Amateur artist. All opinions my own.

To be White with an illegitimate grievance is to be untouchable. But to be Black, living under conditions of legitimate grievance, is to be under threat of death.

white nationalist rioters at the capitol building on january 6, 2021
white nationalist rioters at the capitol building on january 6, 2021

On January 6, I watched, on national TV, White Nationalist Terrorists walk and run and push their way into the Capitol building in Washington D.C. Egged on by their Grand Wizard, they engaged in “trial by combat”, violent insurrection, exactly as the GW’s should-be-disbarred lawyer instructed them to do. They scaled walls (not always successfully), broke windows, crushed a woman to death, beat a Black woman bystander, and killed a police officer.

I found the images jarring and terrifying. Not at the actions themselves, but the anger behind them. The disbelief that their side lost, disbelief fueled by lies and conspiracies, led them to call for the disenfranchisement of mostly Black people in urban metropolitans. …


Stop ignoring Black and Brown children’s pandemic pain by assuming the depressed or anxious pandemic child is White

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The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately punished BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and non-Black people of color) communities. According to CDC data as of November 30, COVID-19 infects, hospitalizes and kills BIPOCs at rates many times over the rates for White people. Generations of neglect and malevolence provide the backdrop for this calamity: medical neglect resulting in pre-existing conditions that make COVID-19 more dangerous to BIPOC bodies; urban neglect resulting in overcrowded housing and thus more disease spread; and economic neglect making BIPOC folks more susceptible to the crippling forces of pandemic-based unemployment.

We now know that BIPOC people fare worse in the pandemic than White people on another measure of well-being: mental health. Recently, a doctor described the mental health crisis among Black people as a “tsunami” triggered by the trauma caused by the virus’s impact on BIPOC bodies, a wave of law enforcement’s physical violence against Black bodies, being more likely to social distance but also disproportionately arrested for violating social distancing rules, and the greater effects of the economic shocks on Black people and communities. Indigenous communities, long disproportionately represented in the masses of American poverty, also find disaster in COVID-19. For a grim example from November, consider that the Navajo Nation had 8,659 COVID-19 cases per 100,000 people; if it were a state, it had far more cases per 100,000 people than any other jurisdiction, including New York State. BIPOC communities are suffering physically and mentally with little end in sight. And this particularly rings true for the youngest among us: our children. …


“Proximity to Whiteness is often both physically and symbolically violent to Black people.”

Black and white girls looking at each other in a classroom. Probably in the late 1950s.
Black and white girls looking at each other in a classroom. Probably in the late 1950s.

http://reuther.wayne.edu/ex/Brown/brown4.html

When I was deciding on where I should start my graduate studies, Palo Alto, California seemed to me like a good place to be. At the time, my children were 19 months old and newborn, and it would be years until I enrolled them and their younger brother in school. But my program would take at least seven years and thus it was important to me to understand the stock of “good” schools where we chose to live. …


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I was drawn in by the photo of the tall young Black man with a red tie, staring wistfully into the ether, and his mother, a black woman, statuesque, perfectly coiffed and staring straight into the camera. I was intrigued by the headline, “A Black Student’s Mother Complained About ‘Fences.’ He Was Expelled” , which drew me in even further. …

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