Race and Regulation

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Experts examine how regulatory policies disproportionately affect communities of color.

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The effects of regulation do not impact all segments of society equally.

Federal, state, and local governments have historically administered regulatory policies to the detriment of people of color. Such policies have left communities of color more vulnerable to disparities in access to justice in areas such as housing, health care, and the provision of social services.

At the start of his administration, President Joseph R. Biden issued an executive order seeking to advance racial equity for underserved communities nationwide. In the following year, advocates have highlighted ways the federal government can ensure equity for all, including communities of color.

To continue conversations about racial justice and inequality, The Regulatory Review has invited scholars to examine institutionalized and systemic racism within the U.S. regulatory system. We hope this series provides a forum in which scholars can call attention to the racism that remains embedded within regulatory practice, generating far-ranging implications for daily life.

This series builds on The Regulatory Review’s longstanding commitment to examining the most vital issues of regulatory law and policy and making issues related to regulation and administrative law more accessible to all.

The contributors to this series are: Veena Dubal, University of California, Hastings; Jill A. Fisher, University of North Carolina; Olatunde C. Johnson, Columbia University; Dorothy E. Roberts, University of Pennsylvania; Carrie L. Rosenbaum, University of California, Berkeley; Jessica Trounstine, University of California, Merced; and S. Lisa Washington, University of Wisconsin.

Four of these contributors also spoke during the past year in the Penn Program on Regulation’s lecture series on race and regulation, with video recordings of each available online.

The Regulatory Review is committed to being an anti-racist publication by providing a forum for analysis about racial justice and inequality, and by promoting the work of scholars of color. We encourage contributors to submit essays throughout the year that engage with and sustain national conversations about how racism manifests in administrative law and regulatory policy. We hope contributors of color will feel welcome and encouraged to submit essays addressing any regulatory topic of their choice at any time.


Land Use Regulation and Residential Segregation

April 11, 2022 | Jessica Trounstine, University of California, Merced

Policymakers must address how local governments have created segregation through their policy choices.

Hidden Racial Disparities in FDA-Required Research

April 12, 2022 | Jill A. Fisher, University of North Carolina

Current testing practices in the pharmaceutical industry exploit social and racial inequities.

Priorities and the State of Implicit Bias in Crimmigration

April 13, 2022 | Carrie L. Rosenbaum, University of California, Berkeley

Written immigration enforcement priorities might promote transparency but still might not address inequities.

How the Carceral State Punishes Survivors

April 14, 2022 | S. Lisa Washington, University of Wisconsin

Survivors of color who report domestic violence and sexual assault risk exposure to further harm.

How Agencies Can Better Regulate for Racial Justice

April 18, 2022 | Olatunde C. Johnson, Columbia University 

The federal government should promote racial equity assessments, plans, and audits.

The False Promise of “Third-Category” Worker Laws

April 19, 2022 | Veena Dubal, University of California, Hastings

Proposition 22 and similar laws exacerbate racial inequalities in the workforce.

The Child Welfare System and the Regulation of Black Families

April 20, 2022 | Dorothy E. Roberts, University of Pennsylvania

The United States should replace its current family regulatory system with one that improves children’s welfare.