Sample essay on The Law on Sexuality and Race

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Law is an authoritative imposition of rules. The law acts in different ways. In the American society, it has been used as an agent for stability in defining the hierarchies of race, sexual orientation. The law has also served as a change agent for these hierarchies. This can be observed from the judicial cases below.

The Plessy v. Ferguson case was a 1892 scenario that involved 32 year old Homer Plessy. He was asked by the Citizens Committee to challenge the enacted Separate Car Act; it separated blacks from whites in rail road vehicles. Plessy was later arrested for boarding a 'whites-only' car; spent the night in a local jail, and was released on bond the following day. Judge Ferguson had previously ruled against the Separate Car Act. He however ruled against Plessys' case, based on the state's right to segregate policies within its boundaries. The court voted for separation as long as there was equality. The 1951 case of Brown vs the Board of Education was based on racial facts. 7-year old Linda Brown, an African American could not attend a "white elementary school", seven blocks away. Instead, she had to walk miles away to attend a "black elementary school". The colored students attending "white elementary schools" were also treated unfairly. They did not have the most current books, or school supplies. The National Association for the advancement of Colored People, fought for African American children in the USA, that they may attend the same schools as the white children. In 1954 the Supreme Court voted against the separation of the blacks and the whites in elementary schools.

The 1986, Bowers vs Hardwick case, was based on the fact that Hardwick was a homosexual male. He was found engaging in the act with his partner, by the police. The two were arrested on the grounds of violating the sodomy Act under the Georgia statute. This statute criminalized sodomy. A response that sought to advocate for the end of sodomy laws in the United States was proposed by Bowers. However, the ruling did not favor the homosexuals, as it voted to deny all homosexuals the right to privacy.The 2003 Lawrence vs Texas case, was based on the Texas law that prohibited homosexuality. Lawrence had been jailed and fined for having sex with another man in his house. Based on the rights that existed to privacy, the court overruled the case and stated that the Texas law on sodomy violated the privacy rights. This was under the 'Fourteenth Amendment' due process clause.

The Plessy vs Ferguson 1982 case; and, the 1951 Brown vs Board of Education case demonstrates how the law enforces its rules on race. It also demonstrates on its ability to alter the existing norms of behavior as demonstrated above. The Bowers vs Hardwick, and Lawrence vs Texas case on the other hand, demonstrates how the law reinforces the hierarchies of sexual orientation.

The law has been a change agent. It ensured that the existing prohibiting policies that separated the black and white children from attending the same elementary schools were altered. The privacy policies of the homosexuals in different states were also strengthened and observed, as opposed to what was the case before.

Based on the above discussion, law has not fully achieved social change with respect to race or sexual orientation. This is because the issue of race has been a force to reckon. In as much as the black and white children are allowed to attend the same schools, there are still major racial issues with regard to how the blacks are treated. The available resources are not equally distributed in such settings, among the different races. The whites in most cases are given first priority. In the Bower vs Ferguson case, the law does not bring about change. Instead, it advocates for equality without socialization. There cannot be positive change if the rules of segregation are still observed. In Georgia, the homosexuals are still being denied their right to privacy.

The effectiveness of law concerning racial and sexual hierarchies can however be observed. This is due to the fact that the law has the right to enforce and exercise rules. It can be noted that black children, through law, were allowed to attend white elementary schools. The homosexuals also got their fair share of rights with regards to privacy policies surrounding their sexual acts, in Texas.


The law operates in different ways. This is in line with the jurisdiction that different states have regarding their law enforcement practices. Some states have legalized homosexuality and one is at liberty to engage in it, as long as the law allows for such. However, other states have not legalized homosexuality and it is a punishable crime, in the case one is caught.


Zimmerman, Thomas. "Computing For ACS course". 1997,