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Directions in Sexual Harassment Law$
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Catharine A. MacKinnon and Reva B. Siegel

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780300098006

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300098006.001.0001

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The Racism of Sexual Harassment

The Racism of Sexual Harassment

(p.479) 28 The Racism of Sexual Harassment
Directions in Sexual Harassment Law

Tanya Katerí Hernández

Yale University Press

This chapter discusses the court's view of sexual harassment as a transgression without color. Sexual harassers are presumed to be color blind in their selection of victims, and sexual harassment is generally viewed as a civil rights violation in which issues of race are irrelevant. The centrality of racialized gender stereotypes in the manifestation of sexual harassment, however, may indicate that sexual harassment does discriminate by race. Scholars have noted that the operation of racialized gender stereotypes conceptually distinguishes “pure” White women from “wanton” women of color. This is a distinction described by Beverly Balos and Mary Louise Fellows as the “prostitution paradigm,” a consideration of which within the sexual harassment context explains the rationale for the seeming racial disparity in rates of sexual harassment.

Keywords:   court's view, sexual harassment, transgression without color, color blind, selection of victims, issues of race, racialized gender stereotypes, Beverly Balos, Mary Louise Fellows, prostitution paradigm

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