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Monday, August 31, 2020

Race, Racism, & Business Law Courses

The past several months have caused many of us to reflect on how we can better incorporate issues of race and racism into our courses.  I wanted to highlight two new links regarding race, racism, and business law courses.  First, Carliss Chatman, Cathy Hwang, and Ben Edwards put together a statement on race/racism in business law that they are inviting all law professors to sign. The statement states in full:

“We are law professors, and many of us write and teach about business law.

We think race and racism are important to the study of business law, just as they are important to the study of any area of law. From slavery and redlining to lack of opportunity in the workplace and limited access to capital, race and racism have always been part of business and business law.

To our colleagues and our students: we welcome the opportunity to engage in these discussions and commit to thinking hard about how to incorporate them into our research and our teaching.”

They will share and update a list of signatories on the Business Law Prof Blog here, and you do not need to teach business law to sign it.  I personally think these issues are incredibly important, and I welcomed the opportunity to sign the statement – thanks to Carliss, Cathy, and Ben for putting it together!

Second, there was a recent discussion on the AALS Business Associations listserv in which many professors shared resources related to race, racism, and business law.  I put the resources into a shared document that anyone can access, and I will continue to update it.  If you have any additions to this document, please send them my way at [email protected]. 

Like many other areas of law, I think the business law community has real work to do in this area.  I look forward to continued dialogue and action on these issues. 

Posted by Jessica Erickson on August 31, 2020 at 07:11 PM in Life of Law Schools, Teaching Law | Permalink


I need facts before I could ever endorse this. The killing of black males either convicted of crimes or in the act of committing them and resisting a lawful arrest is hard to regard as racism, since twice as many whites die at the hands of the police as blacks.

Posted by: William John Carney | Sep 8, 2020 8:16:46 PM

I teach Business Associations and I have tried very hard over the years to keep my politics out of it and I'll be damned if I'm going to start now. Race has nothing to do with the important questions of corporate law. Discriminatory access to capital and discriminatory practices in hiring and promotion aren't relevant at all to corporate law although they are important matters that should be addressed in Civil Rights classes. In my humble opinion, it's an abuse of power to use a platform as the Law Professor to address tangential political issues that are irrelevant to the subject matter of the class.

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