Race, Racism, and the Law

BU Law is at the forefront of efforts in this country to examine and deconstruct policies and legal doctrines that perpetuate racism: The school is led by Dean Angela Onwuachi-Willig, a renowned legal scholar and expert in critical race theory; and law faculty and students are actively involved with the BU Center for Antiracist Research, founded by Ibram X. Kendi.  

The relevant curriculum is divided into two broad categories: Courses that take an anti-racist approach to lawyering, exploring ways to produce or sustain racial equity; and courses that examine opinions, statutes, and other legal materials that address issues of race or racism, including civil rights laws. Examples of anti-racist courses include classes on affordable housing law, discrimination in the legal profession, critical race theory, and mass inequality and social trauma. Courses that fall under the category of race and the law cover topics such as American Indian law, civil rights litigation, cannabis law, and disability law. 

BU Law’s experiential offerings—including the Wrongful Convictions Practicum, the Criminal Law Clinical Program, and the Immigrants’ Rights & Human Trafficking Program, among others—also engage with race and anti-racism. And through the Center for Antiracist Research, students have the opportunity to work on law, policy, and justice initiatives, including by filing amicus briefs in high-profile cases, drafting model legislation, and developing anti-racist education programs for judges and lawyers. Other degree programs that allow students the opportunity to engage on these issues include dual degrees in history, international relations, or public health. LLM students—in addition to choosing from the JD offerings related to race and the law—are introduced to some of these topics through their survey of US Constitutional law.