31 Harv. J.Racial & Ethnic Just. 129 (2015)
Corporations Are (White) People: How Corporate Privilege Reifies Whiteness as Property

handle is hein.journals/hblj31 and id is 133 raw text is: CORPORATIONS ARE (WHITE) PEOPLE:
Amanda Werner*
In 1993, renowned legal scholar and Critical Race theorist Cheryl Har-
ris's Whiteness as Property examined how property rights interact with and
reinforce race.1 Harris documents how the American property regime de-
veloped in tandem with conceptions of race to inhere the white identity
with protected legal value, shaping historical patterns of domination and
continuing to reproduce subordination in the present.2 This paper at-
tempts to build on this canon by considering the role of the corporation-
and, particularly, the expansion of corporate privilege-in reinforcing
these same property interests. I explore how legal conceptions of the cor-
poration developed alongside whiteness as property, evolving and ex-
panding   with   modem     colorblind jurisprudence    to  reify  white
domination through an ostensibly race-neutral mechanism.
Part II begins with a discussion of Harris's Whiteness as Property, which
lays the intellectual foundation for my analysis. I next consider how
whiteness as property has persisted despite the gains of the civil rights
movement and related remedial efforts, suggesting that the expansion of
corporate privilege has played a major role in enabling ongoing inequities
in access to opportunity and resources. Part III explores this connection
more deeply, offering a fuller explanation of corporate privilege's shifting
functions in enforcing white domination and recounting the curious be-
ginnings of corporate privilege in Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific
* Graduate of UCLA School of Law, as part of the David J. Epstein Program in Public
Interest Law and Policy and the Critical Race Studies specialization. The first incar-
nation of this Article was presented at the 7th Annual Critical Race Studies Sympo-
sium at UCLA School of Law, Whiteness as Property: A Twenty Year Appraisal. I am
indebted to Cheryl Harris, Tendayi Achiume, Devon Carbado, Laura Gomez, Fran-
ces Olsen, Sharon Dolovich, Cathy Mayorkas, and Adam Winkler for their many
helpful conversations and comments throughout the development of these ideas. I
am deeply grateful to the UCLA Critical Race Studies program for the symposium
platform, particularly Jasleen Kohli, who made my participation possible. Finally,
this Article could not have been written without the invaluable mentorship of my
dear friend, Sadath Omar Garcia.
1. Cheryl I. Harris, Whiteness as Property, 106 HARV. L. REV. 1707 (1993).
2. Id. at 1714.

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