Targeting White Supremacy in the Workplace

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Resurgent white supremacy is leading to segregation in some workplaces and local labor markets, long after Title VII and executive orders dismantled Jim Crow. My research conceptualizes a new way to apply the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871. Much of the law—passed to combat a white terror campaign to deny blacks and their political supporters rights equal to those of white citizens—has been struck down by court rulings. The surviving part, codified in 42 U.S.C. § 1985(3), is limited by its narrow text and Supreme Court rulings that have largely ignored congressional intent in passing this law. Using extensive legislative history, I show that Congress heard testimony from ex-Klan members about the group’s strategy to boycott black workers and segregate them in a caste system that approximated slavery. A major floor speech by Rep. Luke Poland emphasized congressional intent to interdict this economic segregation. I show the relevance of this history by analyzing four current and recent cases involving white supremacist planning and commission of acts to drive blacks, Mexicans, a Jew, and a Navajo from their workplace or a specific labor market. I demonstrate how these cases fit the demanding textual requirements to state a claim under Section 1985(3). In response to a growing number of conspiracies in a work setting to attack minorities, this study provides victims, lawyers, and courts a new way to confront today’s resurgent and aggressive white supremacy movement.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-158
JournalStanford Law and Policy Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2018


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