College of Law

Student Resources

Dean’s Book Review ~ White by Law: The Legal Construction of Race


Dean's Book Review ~ White by Law: The Legal Construction of Race

DATE: Wednesday, September 29 2021
TIME: 8:00 am - 9:00 am
LOCATION: Virtual Event
COST: Free and open to the public
1 hour CLE (pending)

Please join Dean Elizabeth Kronk Warner for her monthly dean’s book review. The book to be reviewed will be, White by Law – 10th Anniversary Edition: The Legal Construction of Race 2nd Edition by Ian Haney López.  This book was selected in celebration of September being National Hispanic-Latinx Heritage month.

White by Law was first published in 1996 to immense critical acclaim, and established Ian Haney López as one of the most exciting and talented young minds in the legal academy. This was the first book to fully explore the social and specifically legal construction of race, White by Law inspired a generation of critical race theorists and others interested in the intersection of race and law in American society. Today, it is used and cited widely by not only legal scholars, but many others interested in race, ethnicity, culture, politics, gender, and similar socially fabricated facets of American society.

In the first edition of White by Law, Haney López traced the reasoning employed by the courts in their efforts to justify the whiteness of some and the non-whiteness of others, and revealed the criteria that were used, often arbitrarily, to determine whiteness, and thus citizenship: skin color, facial features, national origin, language, culture, ancestry, scientific opinion, and, most importantly, popular opinion.

Ten years later, Haney López revisits the legal construction of race, and argues that current race law has spawned a troubling racial ideology that perpetuates inequality under a new guise: colorblind white dominance. In a new, original essay written specifically for the 10th anniversary edition, he explores this racial paradigm and explains how it contributes to a system of white racial privilege socially and legally defended by restrictive definitions of what counts as race and as racism, and what doesn’t, in the eyes of the law. The book also includes a new preface, in which Haney Lopez considers how his own personal experiences with white racial privilege helped engender White by Law.

Please RSVP with the link provided in this email. Once registered you will receive the link to participate. If you have any questions please email,


Jorge L. Contreras, The University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law, Presidential Scholar and Professor of Law

Arturo A. Thompson, The University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law, Assistant Dean of Career Development

Nicolas C. Wilde (’15) – Associate, Armstrong Teasdale LLP