This work reviews an important shortcoming of the dominant public international paradigm and the recent methodical responses to that edifice. Specifically, this article argues that issues of race have not been significantly addressed in international law discourse. In particular, this Article notes that in the theoretical discourse some writers have discussed race, but the thrust of the discourse marginalizes the importance of race. In the practice of international law, people of color are affected but rarely recognized in policy debates. Additionally, this work attempts to explain how a discourse that positions race at the center of the discourse increases the prospect of a coherent view of international law. At its core, it recognizes that both the traditional approach and its responses contain some virtue, but are woefully lacking in at least one important respect. The existing approaches to international law fail to adequately explore the consequential nature that race has played in the development of international law. By reviewing the theoretical foundations of the approaches and by providing vivid examples of the racialized nature of movements in international law, this article will demonstrate how race has been a real but unspoken determinant of international policy. This Article, in addition to acknowledging the beginnings of a new race-based approach to international law, formally proposes a race-focused international discourse in order to ensure that an often determinative variable to international action is not at best relegated to merely one of a host of potential relevant factors to international policy making. Following a handful of scholars who have begun to address the impact of race on certain international issues, this paper calls for the recognition of a race-focused discourse that will extend and expand the scope and depth of international dialogue, as well as ensure an inclusion of diverse voices in the already robust debate that is the methods discourse on international law. Finally, a race approach to international law will attempt to debunk the purported objectivity of the liberal paradigm and question the reality of the humanitarian rhetoric that is at the root of international law.
A Race Approach to International Law (RAIL): Is There a Need for Yet Another Critique of International Law
, 33 U.C. Davis L. Rev. 1519
Available at: https://ecollections.law.fiu.edu/faculty_publications/315