A Conversation Between “Friends”

If the Official Version of Law (OVL) Advocate, Feminist legal theorist, Racialization and law theorist, and Postmodern theorist were to sit down, their conversation would look something along the lines of this…

Official Version of Law (OVL) Advocate: 

Have you been to the court recently? They have installed an excellent new statue of Lady Justice. Very impressive – and a perfect symbol for the legal system. The legal system is, after all, an impartial, neutral and objective system for resolving social conflict.

It is autonomous, separate from political and social influences – and therefore free from external values and corruption. Legal decisions are based on facts and rules, not individual or group values external to the law.

Lady Justice symbolizes the Rule of Law, which is a central feature of the legal system.

Ultimately, the legal system is just. It is committed to equality – so committed, in fact, that it deals with people as abstract legal subjects. This ensures that everyone is treated the same.

I’m sure that you will agree …

Feminist legal theorist:

It’s ironic how you say the law is fair and equal, so you construct a statue of the lady of law when in reality the men call the shots. The main administrators in the justice system (the judges) are Caucasian men. There is a political and social influence when it comes to the law. Those old white men are caught up in how they think the law should be from ages ago, they do not consider that the times have changed. How is that fairness and equality. Lady Justice to me is a false representation, because she is holding a scale which is showing perfect equality, which is no need in practice in the justice system. To me, the law is used in favor of men to dominate and to oppress the women’s interests and rights.

Your attempt at explaining what Official Version of Law is, may convince the general population that the official version of the law stands on such grounds of freedom of external corruption, unbiased judgement, and equality, you will not convince me. You claim to preach such equality within, when myself and others are aware of the inequality and unlawful judgement of many under your naive practices of the law. Victims of these practices include people of other sexual orientations, non-Caucasians, and women. I try to take part in genuine equality, you give off the impression of an equality that does not exist. We need genuine equality, which will incorporate not only gender issues but with race and sexual orientation.

Racialization and law theorist:

Feminists try to speak of a humanitarian utopia. The official version of the law attempts to create equality and rightfully fails. Racialization exists for a reason, not everyone deserves to be or is equal. If we treated everyone as equal, the lesser humans (colored people, women, and immigrants) would demand things like adequate social welfare and proper medical coverage which would only further damage the economy.

It is often said that social interaction is infused with a privileged / non-privileged dynamic which is defined by racial identity and is a very complex issue. Racialization hurts the privileged because they have to give up their hard earned money to those who do not deserve.

Without a social hierarchy you will have failed laws and a failed economy, you will not convince me otherwise.

Postmodern theorist:

I completely disagree with both the official version of the law and with racialization in the law. In order for laws to work successfully within a system they need to be practiced equally. I am aware of the social issues within laws surrounding race, class, gender, and sexuality. Without addressing these concerns and accepting diversity and multiplicity for what they are, laws are meaningless. Laws are established within a society to protect everyone, not just those of the correct skin color, social class, sexuality, and gender.

I have a contradiction with racialization and law theorist in terms of privileged and non privileged people. If we speak of fairness and equality, why is there a separation between the two? Clearly the rule of law insists that the “us” likes to dominate the “them.” The justice systems segregate everything; it is inevitable that if a middle class “colored” male was to go to court he will be treated differently than the Caucasian male.  We all know of the Trayvon Martin case, who was shot by George Zimmerman. Zimmerman assumed because he was an African American wearing a hood, he was up to no good. There was altercation which led to the death of Martin. Surprisingly, Zimmerman walked! How is that possible, that in the justice system a man walks when clearly it can be said he committed the murder? In comparison if an African American had pursued the same result he would be given a guilty verdict.

Now you tell me, is that fair? Is Lady Justice really representing what you say she is, or is she in representation for the privileged. We need to have an unbiased perspective and be aware of that diversity exists. On paper the Official Version of Law is golden but in reality it is a cover up for the untold.

In order for laws to work, both males and females should have a say in the practice of law. If you only get one side, which is usually males, it will not show a fair representation. By including all ethnicity’s and genders it ensures that laws are created just and fairly. Times have changed and it is not just the white males who have a say in what happens in society.  There are a variety of norms within society and those need to be considered. There are many different cultures around us as well. We have to look at all factors to ensure that there is equality for everyone. There are many diverse values and norms, which must be considered in order to have a well functioning society. If we paint everyone with the same brush it does not ensure that the law is being carried out effectively and efficiently.

Advertisements

4 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

4 responses to “A Conversation Between “Friends”

  1. This is an interesting attempt to produce a script for the conversation between a group of theorists with decidedly different approaches to ‘locating law’.

    Your feminist legal theorist points out the role of legal systems in the reproduction of social relations of gendered inequality. The theorist also draws attention to the issue of oppression, which suggests a background in radical feminist theory. I had hoped to see a discussion of the relationship between the OVL and patriarchy in your script.

    Your racialization theorist seems to be reproducing the racialized narrative that he or she should be criticizing. The vast majority of theorists who focus on issues at the intersection of racialization and the law are not racists, nor are they proponents of discriminatory policies. As Comack notes, researchers writing in the liberal pluralist, Marxist, and feminist traditions have explored the ways in which the Canadian criminal justice system has reproduced racialized forms of exclusion. Many of these theorists have drawn attention to the disconnect between the image of ‘blind’ justice that is central to the OVL and long-standing systems of systemic racism in Canada. Note that the food for thought post indicated that this character works in the critical legal studies tradition, and specializes in race and the law. This implies that the scholar would not adopt an uncritical functionalist stance.

    A postmodern legal scholar would likely go about deconstructing the claims made by the advocate for the OVL. In part, this would involve looking at how law operates at the margins, and in everyday settings. It would consider the role of legal practices in creating (or ‘fixing’) identities, and how this implicates the OVL in the reproduction of discrimination through systems of race, class, and gender.

    I invite you to re-visit the script for your scholar of race and law.

  2. duck19

    Thank you for your analysis, I feel I may have not worded my script in accordance to my understanding of the different approaches. However, with the necessary changes…

    If the Official Version of Law (OVL) Advocate, Feminist legal theorist, Racialization and law theorist, and Postmodern theorist were to sit down, their conversation would look something along the lines of this…

    Official Version of Law (OVL) Advocate:

    Have you been to the court recently? They have installed an excellent new statue of Lady Justice. Very impressive – and a perfect symbol for the legal system. The legal system is, after all, an impartial, neutral and objective system for resolving social conflict.

    It is autonomous, separate from political and social influences – and therefore free from external values and corruption. Legal decisions are based on facts and rules, not individual or group values external to the law.

    Lady Justice symbolizes the Rule of Law, which is a central feature of the legal system.

    Ultimately, the legal system is just. It is committed to equality – so committed, in fact, that it deals with people as abstract legal subjects. This ensures that everyone is treated the same.

    I’m sure that you will agree …

    Feminist legal theorist:

    Yes actually I just recently went to see the statue of Lady Justice. The amount of time and money spent making the statue should have been spent focusing on how our legal system needs to be changed.

    I think it’s ironic how you say the law is fair and equal, so you construct a statue of the lady of law when in reality the men call the shots. The main administrators in the justice system (the judges) are Caucasian men. This system is patriarchal, men are in powerful positions to call the shots. The official version of law states that the system is unbiased. How can this system be biased if men are in control of the law. We need to have more females in these positions as well to ensure that the law is being equally applied to all. Our legal system is over filled with men.

    There is a political and social influence when it comes to the law. Those old white men are caught up in how they think the law should be from ages ago, they do not consider that the times have changed. These men think too much of standard gender roles, these men are not neutral or value-free. How is that fairness and equality. Lady Justice to me is a false representation, because she is holding a scale which is showing perfect equality, which is no need in practice in the justice system. To me, the law is used in favor of men to dominate and to oppress the women’s interests and rights.

    Your attempt at explaining what Official Version of Law is, may convince the general population that the official version of the law stands on such grounds of freedom of external corruption, unbiased judgment, and equality, you will not convince me. You claim to preach such equality within, when myself and others are aware of the inequality and unlawful judgment of many under your naive practices of the law. Victims of these practices include people of other sexual orientations, non-Caucasians, and women. I try to take part in genuine equality, you give off the impression of an equality that does not exist. We need genuine equality, which will incorporate not only gender issues but with race and sexual orientation.

    Racialization and law theorist:

    Yes I just saw the statue the other day they did an excellent job on the blind fold. It truly does show how justice turns a blind eye on the law. I do not think it necessarily demonstrates that Lady Justice does not see race, gender or class.

    I think that idea that law being impartial, neutral and objective is very important. It should be universal and no one should be discriminated upon due to race, gender, or class. The official version of law attempts to create equality but it fails at it. I think that in trying to be so fair and equal the law often turns a blind eye. The maiden is blind folded, this can suggest that she may turn and look the other way in order to avoid seeing some of the issues within the system.

    Racilization exists due to how laws are created and conducted. For example when businesses are hiring they try to meet certain quotas. The law states that no one can be denied a job due to race or gender. However, many companies are finding ways around this and many times people are denied jobs due to race or gender. Even when it comes to education laws do not always protect all citizens. Instead racialization occurs. For example, with residential schools aboriginals faced terrible treatment and conditions. It was as though the laws did not apply to how they were treated. They were abused and mistreated, yet those who mistreated them did not have to worry about the wrath of the law. A blind eye was turned for many years in regards to what happened to them.
    The adversarial system is supposed to be unbiased, however, the trier of fact may have some prejudices. The decisions they make may not necessarily be challenged or questioned. The law should apply legal rules however, that is not always the case. I think politics have an influence on how people are ultimately treated.

    I think if the official version of law actually worked it would be wonderful. However, due to it turning a blind eye on the issues that are occurring there is more damage done then good. Due to those reasons I will have to disagree that everyone receives fair treatment, and that the system is just.

    Postmodern theorist:

    Oh yes I just saw it before coming here and there are so many issues with it! I do not see how having a lady blind folded represents the system as being neutral and not determining decisions based on class, gender, and race. The statute may be blind but those who are triers of fact definitely are not! The statue is blind folded and cannot see what is actually happening in our so called legal system.

    I completely disagree with both the official version of the law. In order for laws to work successfully within a system they need to be practiced equally. I am aware of the social issues within laws surrounding race, class, gender, and sexuality. Without addressing these concerns and accepting diversity and multiplicity for what they are, laws are meaningless. Laws are established within a society to protect everyone, not just those of the correct skin color, social class, sexuality, and gender.
    How can you say everyone is treated equal under the law when this is not the case. Employers hire employees based on gender and race to fill their “quotas.” The aboriginal people were forced to go to residential schools where they endured abuse and other horrifying events. The European settlers did not have to go to such schools and face this abuse. Why was it okay for the aboriginals to go through that? If the law was so fair and equal everyone would have had to go to those schools.
    I have a contradiction with racialization and law theorist in terms of privileged and non privileged people. If we speak of fairness and equality, why is there a separation between the two? Clearly the rule of law insists that the “us” likes to dominate the “them.” The justice systems segregate everything; it is inevitable that if a middle class “colored” male was to go to court he will be treated differently than the Caucasian male. We all know of the Trayvon Martin case, who was shot by George Zimmerman. Zimmerman assumed because he was an African American wearing a hood, he was up to no good. There was altercation which led to the death of Martin. Surprisingly, Zimmerman walked! How is that possible, that in the justice system a man walks when clearly it can be said he committed the murder? In comparison if an African American had pursued the same result he would be given a guilty verdict.

    Now you tell me, is that fair? Is Lady Justice really representing what you say she is, or is she in representation for the privileged. Lady Justice is blind folded and does not see class, race or gender. At the same time she also does not see the inequality which occurs within the system. We need to have an unbiased perspective and be aware of that diversity exists. On paper the Official Version of Law is golden but in reality it is a cover up for the untold.

    In order for laws to work, both males and females should have a say in the practice of law. If you only get one side, which is usually males, it will not show a fair representation. By including all ethnicity’s and genders it ensures that laws are created just and fairly. Times have changed and it is not just the white males who have a say in what happens in society. There are a variety of norms within society and those need to be considered. There are many different cultures around us as well. We have to look at all factors to ensure that there is equality for everyone. There are many diverse values and norms, which must be considered in order to have a well functioning society. If we paint everyone with the same brush it does not ensure that the law is being carried out effectively and efficiently.

  3. Thanks for writing a clarifying update.

  4. c.

    i am reading this as I am student using this text form my MSW class on law and social work practice. These posts have been very useful in reviewing the material and making it come alive!!! smart assignment.
    thanx. carina @Uvic