Is Kim Kardashian White (And Why Does It Matter Anyway)? Of Celebutantes, Racial Fluidity & the Law

12 Pages Posted: 6 Aug 2019 Last revised: 22 Aug 2019

Date Written: July 31, 2019

Abstract

With the world’s most ubiquitous celebutante playing a starring role, this essay examines the peculiar role of the law in the construction of race and its implications on equal-protection and anti-discrimination jurisprudence.

The essay begins by assessing Kim Kardashian’s racial identity through three lenses: social, legal and historical. Through its analysis, the essay traces the dramatic transformation of both juridical and popular notions of racial identity over the course of American history, questions some of our most fundamental perceptions about race and provides a unique spin on issues of diversity, immutability and colorblindness. In the process, the essay not only highlights (for better or worse) the continuing relevance of race in American life but also brings to light the under-appreciated significance of racial fluidity (in a time when society is growing increasingly ‘woke’ about gender fluidity) and its potentially seismic impact on long-held, but rarely questioned, assumptions in constitutional and civil-rights law.

Keywords: race, whiteness, discrimination, equal protection, racial fluidity, 14th Amendment, immigration

Suggested Citation

Tehranian, John, Is Kim Kardashian White (And Why Does It Matter Anyway)? Of Celebutantes, Racial Fluidity & the Law (July 31, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3430050 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3430050

John Tehranian (Contact Author)

Southwestern Law School ( email )

3050 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90010
United States

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