Title of Abstract

How Law Schools Can Combat Structural Racism: A Contemporary Analysis of American Judicial Systems and Law School Curriculum

Submitting Student(s)

Mailah BilalFollow

Faculty Mentor

Two WU mentors: Jennifer Leigh Disney, Ph.D.; Brandon Ranallo-Benavidez, Ph.D.; disneyj@winthrop.edu; benavidezb@winthrop.edu

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

Political Science

Faculty Mentor

Jennifer Disney, Ph.D. and Brandon Ranallo-Benavidez, Ph.D.

Abstract

Given that law schools are in a unique position to adequately address racism, how can law schools and lawyers today dismantle the structural and institutional racism that has been historically embedded and permitted in our judicial and legal systems? There are several ways that law schools, law students, and lawyers themselves can address this issue. First, I would like to define terms such as “structural racism” and institutional racism” to provide a foundation of what these terms mean. In this paper, I will conduct a historical analysis of how structural racism is embedded in our legal systems by looking at Supreme Court cases (or cases in general) that deal with discrimination law. Then, I will conduct a comparison of the curriculum between PWI and HBCU law schools, and how they address racism in the classroom. After conducting that analysis, I will propose a policy recommendation on how law schools and the American Bar Association can incorporate anti-discriminatory and anti-racist practices by mandating training and the education of law students regarding cultural biases. The overall project will be significant to the political science discipline since many students of the discipline (including myself) would like to attend law school and become attorneys. It is hard to ignore the overarching theme that is present in our legal systems, and law schools as an institution have a unique ability to combat this issue.

Additional Fields About Your Abstract

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Course Assignment

PLSC 490 - Disney and Ranallo-Benavidez

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How Law Schools Can Combat Structural Racism: A Contemporary Analysis of American Judicial Systems and Law School Curriculum

Given that law schools are in a unique position to adequately address racism, how can law schools and lawyers today dismantle the structural and institutional racism that has been historically embedded and permitted in our judicial and legal systems? There are several ways that law schools, law students, and lawyers themselves can address this issue. First, I would like to define terms such as “structural racism” and institutional racism” to provide a foundation of what these terms mean. In this paper, I will conduct a historical analysis of how structural racism is embedded in our legal systems by looking at Supreme Court cases (or cases in general) that deal with discrimination law. Then, I will conduct a comparison of the curriculum between PWI and HBCU law schools, and how they address racism in the classroom. After conducting that analysis, I will propose a policy recommendation on how law schools and the American Bar Association can incorporate anti-discriminatory and anti-racist practices by mandating training and the education of law students regarding cultural biases. The overall project will be significant to the political science discipline since many students of the discipline (including myself) would like to attend law school and become attorneys. It is hard to ignore the overarching theme that is present in our legal systems, and law schools as an institution have a unique ability to combat this issue.