“Power concedes nothing without a demand.”
– Frederick Douglass
Washington & Lee has displayed Confederate flags in the chapel dedicated to Robert E. Lee since the 1930s… and now they won’t. All because 14 black Washington & Lee law students demanded that the university stop. Those students risked the consequence of potential employers who could and probably still will label them as agitators. They risked disapprobation from those in the dominant culture who still expect black people to “just get over” slavery, racial oppression, and continued racism. They risked time, energy, and stress that could have been devoted to finals or networking or just finding a good microbrew.
You remember that movie Ghost World? Me neither. It starred that girl from American Beauty and that girl from Lost in Translation and Steve Buscemi Eyes and the kid from The Client (R.I.P.). But none of that matters! What matters for our purposes today is that the plot involved signs from something called Coon Chicken Inn. Spoiler alert: that place actually existed! It was a chain of three fried chicken restaurants that trafficked in succulent breast meat and crazy f**king racism. According to its wiki entry, Coon Chicken Inn even possessed trademarks. Real, valid, honest-to-God trademarks.
This week, the Washington Redskins were adjudged to be more racist than Coon Chicken Inn. Well, not exactly. Specifically, the Redskins trademark was cancelled on the grounds that it was “disparaging to Native Americans.” You can read Elie’s take and the actual decision itself here.
But what if I told you that Coon Chicken Inn was just the tip of the racist iceberg? What if I told you that same iceberg is racist sexist, and homophobic? Is that an iceberg you would be interested in investigating?
Let’s muck around in the fever swamps of America’s offensive trademarks and the shaky legal edifice that has been erected around them, shall we?
* 17 bizarre lawsuits. I don’t know, I view the people making sure I get every delicious inch of my meatball sub as heroes. [Crime Wire]
* Dallas just threw its support behind reparations for slavery. Because obviously they didn’t bother to read the resolution. Democracy in action! [Gawker]
* J. Christian Adams misunderstands an election law. This shocks me not at all. In the past, he complained to me that Pam Karlan didn’t understand voting rights based on a panel I covered. She’s now the Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Voting Rights and Adams is still spouting off (affiliate link) about how the DOJ is bending over to service the Black Panthers. [Election Law Blog]
* Did you know the history of drones in America dates back to the Civil War? Well, now you do. And knowing is some proportion of the battle. Infographic below…. [Criminal Justice Degree Hub]
This image constitutes fair use. Not that Washington can do much about it now anyway.
‘The Court concludes that the [Board’s] finding that the marks at issue ‘may disparage’ Native Americans is unsupported by substantial evidence, is logically flawed, and fails to apply the correct legal standard to its own findings of fact.’ Those aren’t my words. That was the court’s conclusion. We are confident that when a district court reviews today’s split decision, it will reach a similar conclusion.
Student members of the Union Council at University College London recently banned the “Nietzsche Club” from campus. Well, not really “banned,” as much as told the group it can no longer proclaim an affiliation with the school. The Council reasoned that the club was promoting a fascist ideology. Nietzsche fanboy Brian Leiter took a break from making up s**t from whole cloth to pen a stirring defense of the Nietzsche Club, pointing out that Nietzsche wasn’t really a fascist and noting that true Nietzsche scholars understand that he’s not the racist Nazi inspiration that everyone thinks he is.
Unfortunately for Professor Leiter, the student group in question totally digs Nietzsche for all the racist and fascist reasons.
Brian Leiter went off half-cocked on the internet? Wonders will truly never cease…
* We’ve discussed the troubling statistics showing that black people are by and large shut out of career advancement in Biglaw. Aric Press, editor-in-chief at ALM, discusses the study with Lee Pacchia below…. [Mimesis Law]
* The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has been operating without a director for almost a year and a half, and Sen. Orrin Hatch is calling it “inexcusable.” Here’s his politely pissed off letter to President Barack Obama. [Corporate Counsel]
* Weed has been legal and free flowing in Colorado for months, but now the state is starting to see its dark side. It seems morons who get too high are accidentally killing themselves and others. [New York Times]
* InfiLaw’s bid to purchase Charleston Law reached the pages of the NYT, with a shout-out to one “scrappy website” that referred to the company by its one true name: “diploma mill.” [DealBook / New York Times]
* “Why would you bring black people into the world?” An ex-lover/employee of Donald Sterling is suing him for racial and sexual harassment over lovely comments like this. She’s repped by Gloria Allred. [CNN]
Today’s depressing internet news for black people is that they’re not going to make partner at a large law firm in a major city. Well, black people probably already know that, but a new study making the rounds today emphasizes that point for those who haven’t been paying attention.
African-Americans make up only 1.9% of the partners at the nation’s top 100 law firms, according to American Lawyer. That number has barely changed in five years. If you are an African-American woman, you should probably not even bother. Only one of every 170 top law firm partners is a black female.
In general, the legal profession is a bad place for black people. Only 4.2% of American attorneys are black, compared with 7.1% of doctors and 8.5% of financial managers. So if you are a rich person, you are basically more likely to have a black person fix your heart so you can live long enough to spend all the money he’s made for you then you are to have him write your will.
Why is this? We can’t know for sure, but in law, advancing in your career has more to do with what white people think of you than anything else…
The only thing more obsolete than this building is what is inside it.
Some students at the University of Chicago Law School are up in arms because the school’s law review rejected a diversity proposal recommended by the school’s faculty. This rejection leaves Chicago’s law review as the only one at a top law school without any diversity component for choosing student staffers.
UPDATE (8:00 p.m.): A Chicago tipster clarifies: “While the faculty supported the Chicago Law Review diversity proposal, it was written and proposed by law review leadership,” which advocated for it strongly.
This is the point in the post where everybody, including my colleagues, expects me to scream RACEISM™ and jump up and down on the generally right-leaning law school. But honestly, I just don’t care. I just don’t give a damn if a law school is choosing spots on its law review fairly, unfairly, with racial animus, or based on cup size. NOBODY READS THEM. More people will read this post about the Chicago Law Review than will actually read the law review.
And really, if we’re going to pretend that getting on to law review is some important measure of student success or achievement, then maybe Chicago Law needs to do a better job of educating minority and female students at the school so that they might achieve at the same level of success as the white males who “win” this generally irrelevant prize….
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