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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Different Paths


A critical perspective on law and political economy requires an appreciation not only of how race, gender, sexuality, class, national origin, immigrant status, and other aspects of our identities intersect and interact, but also why they do so. Focusing on the United States as a settler colonial state, this essay suggests that the primary markers of identity used to oppress people are themselves the master’s tools, i.e., constructs of the colonial project. Building on the late Stokely Carmichael’s distinction between the paths of the exploited and the colonized, it argues that remediating status-based injustices will require us to go beyond a redistribution of social goods and resources, or even institutional restructuring, to challenge the paradigm that works to define and contain us—the one that propelled Western colonialism and now permeates not only the United States but legal, economic, and political institutions around the world.

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