Abstract: The “gang” label has been so highly racialized that white people who self- identify as gang members are almost never categorized as “gang members” by law enforcement, while Black and Latino people who are not gang members are routinely labeled and targeted as if they were. Different rules attach to people under criminal law once they are labeled gang members, yet this two-track system is justified under the guise that the racially disparate treatment is legitimate because of gang association.
This Article takes one concrete example—culturally specific tattoos—and unmasks how racial markers are used to attach the gang label. Specifically, I describe examples of how tattoos symbolizing Chicano cultural identity are used to categorize people as gang members.
I discuss four types of tattoos that represent important aspects of Mexican-American identity, but that are regularly used to define people as gang members. Specifically, I discuss how tattoos and symbols of people’s racial identities or places of origin, such as “Mexicano” or “Brown Pride,” have been used as evidence of gang membership. I also describe the use of tattoos that depict Aztec or Mayan imagery, as well as tattoos of Catholic religious symbolism.
The Article then builds on scholarship in the field of Critical Race Studies to criticize the current construction of the law, which keeps racially disparate treatment entrenched. Here, I rely on academic literature about tattoos to explain how central tattoos are to people’s identities, and to argue that the law should evolve to acknowledge disparate impact claims in the absence of evidence of discriminatory intent, and to recognize discriminatory intent when it is masked behind language that legitimizes discrimination.
Other Articles from WLR Online
We Are Never Getting Back Together: A Statutory Framework for Reconciling Artist/Label Relationships
Could a Political Compromise Be Constitutional? Legal Hurdles for Possible Negotiations with Russia
Is It Time to Bury Barry? Why an Old Change at the Legislature Requires a New Look at Washington’s Nondelegation Doctrine
Franco I Loved: Reconciling the Two Halves of the Nation’s Only Government-Funded Public Defender Program for Immigrants
Abstract: This Article argues that trusts and estates (“T&E”) should prioritize intergenerational economic mobility—the ability of children to move beyond the economic stations of their parents—above all other goals. The field’s traditional emphasis on testamentary freedom, or the freedom to distribute property in a will as one sees fit, fosters the stickiness of inequality. For wealthy settlors, dynasty trusts sequester assets from the nation’s system of taxation and stream of commerce. For low-income decedents, intestacy (i.e., the system of property distribution for a person who dies without a will) splinters property rights and inhibits their transfer, especially to nontraditional heirs.
Holistically, this Article argues that T&E should promote mean regression of the wealth distribution curve over time. This can be accomplished by loosening spending in ultrawealthy households and spurring savings and investment in low-income households.
T&E scholars are tackling inequality with greater urgency than ever before, yet basic questions remain. For instance, what do we mean by “inequality”? How can we remediate inequality? And what goals should we advance in redressing inequality? This Article contributes to these conversations by articulating a comprehensive framework for progressive inheritance law that redresses long-term inequality.