Race-ing Justice, En-Gendering Power: Black Lives Matter, #MeToo and the Role of Intersectional Legal Analysis: Symposium @WisconsinLaw J. L., Gender & Soc’y

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Today at the University of Wisconsin, the Journal of Law, Gender & Society is hosting a symposium on “Race-ing Justice, En-Gendering Power: Black Lives Matter, #MeToo and the Role of Intersectional Legal Analysis: Symposium.” Here is the program description:

Recent years have witnessed an overwhelming outcry from activists who have protested seemingly never-ending instances of unjustified police and vigilante detentions, assaults, and killings of black people. These tragedies cross class and gender lines, as black people from all walks of life seemed at all times prone to being summarily judged and even executed by agents of the state or by self-deputized private citizens. During the same period, we are experiencing a cultural watershed moment, as women have begun to fight loudly and publicly against sexual harassment, violence and abuse by powerful or empowered men. Prior generations of women have often suffered violations and indignities in silence, fearing that formal or informal complaints might endanger their jobs or relationships with coworkers, or even attract more harassment or abuse.

These concerns are exacerbated and further complicated by the involvement of so-called alt-right groups as antagonists to both the #MeToo and the Black Lives Matter movements and by strains of virulent anti-Semitism that often come hand-in-hand with the alt-right’s sexist, racist, and xenophobic rhetoric. One particularly salient example of public allegations of sexual violence recently in the news was the United States Supreme Court confirmation hearings of Justice Brett Kavanaugh. The testimony of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford that Kavanaugh attempted to rape her caused some to speculate that women throughout the United States would mobilize politically in response. 

While both the #MeToo and Black Lives Matter movements are critical reflections on compelling legal and social issues, there are some who suggest that the Black Lives Matter movement is fading into obscurity as the minor rumblings of a few disaffected activists who have maximized their media exposure, along the lines of the Occupy movement. In contrast, the #MeToo Movement has spread and flourished across industries in the United States and even around the globe, seeming to reshape the culture and causing many to question the impact of unequal gender relations and to challenge notions of power and sexual autonomy. This is a important moment to enter an unexplored intersection between gender and race.

Speakers include Linda S. Greene (Wisconsin), Lolita Buckner-Inniss (SMU), Noa Ben-Asher (Pace), Bennett Capers (Brooklyn), Osamudia James (Miami), Keisha Lindsay (Political Science, Wisconsin) and Mehrsa Baradaran (Georgia).

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