Protecting Them from Themselves: The Persistence of Mutual Benefits Arguments for Sex and Race Inequality
New York University Law Review
Defenders of sex and race inequality often contend that women and people of color are better off with fewer rights and opportunities. This claim straddles substantive debates that are rarely considered together, linking such seemingly disparate disputes as the struggles over race-based affirmative action, antiabortion laws, and marital rape exemptions. The argument posits that women and people of color attempting to secure expanded rights and opportunities do not understand their own best interests and do not realize that they benefit from limits on their prerogatives and choices. Indeed, proponents of this argument insist that restricting the rights and opportunities available to women and people of color helps everyone: the people misguidedly seeking more rights and opportunities, the people opposing those claims, and society as a whole. The beguiling conclusion is that the law need not decide between conflicting demands because all parties share aligned interests. I call this effort to assert social solidarity in the face of social conflict the "mutual benefits" argument.
Jill Elaine Hasday, Protecting Them from Themselves: The Persistence of Mutual Benefits Arguments for Sex and Race Inequality, 84 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 1464 (2009), available at https://scholarship.law.umn.edu/faculty_articles/56.