Congratulations to Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Fresno State, Dr. Tina Fernandes Botts whose book For Equals Only: Race, Equality, and the Equal Protection Clause published by Rowman & Littlefield is available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Books-a-Million.

“I hope people will come to understand a little more fully than they do now that color-blind jurisprudence is a fantasy and is the sheep’s clothing that covers up the wolf of systemic racial discrimination,” said Botts.

Within its pages, Botts traces the shift in interpretations by the Supreme Court of the 14th Amendment that allows for the dismissal of racial discrimination within the legal redefinitions of race and equality.

“It is a book about how and why the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution no longer operates to specially protect those whom I refer to as ‘racialized persons,’ or those assigned a non-white race in the United States, from racial discrimination,” said Botts.

Botts believes For Equals Only will be beneficial for students and Fresno State University by raising awareness about the current misuse of laws historically meant to protect and empower people of color from racial discrimination, but which are presently being used to exclude those very same people. Botts hopes her book will serve as an “expose of one exemplary case of this: the law surrounding the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.”

Dr. Tina Fernandes Botts

Botts’ exploration of these injustices is a continuation of the generations-long effort her family has put forth to address the problem of racial discrimination in the United States.

“I come from a family of racialized persons who have always worked to eliminate racial discrimination,” said Botts. “My grandfather walked with Martin Luther King through the streets of Washington, D.C., my hometown, during the historic March on Washington, his great-grandfather, Alfred Jones, helped build the first school for children of color in D.C., The Thaddeus Stevens School, and even paid the salaries of the teachers in D.C.’s ‘colored schools’ when budget cuts would have laid them off.”

Botts said she and her sister both went to law school in order to address the problem of racial discrimination on different fronts. “My sister is a civil rights attorney. I teach and write about anti-discrimination law.”

For Equals Only has been met with critical acclaim upon its release.

“Tina Botts demonstrates how the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause has come to be interpreted in such a way as to enshrine rather than challenge the ongoing social inequality of those lesser ‘persons’ racialized as black in the United States,” said Charles W. Mills of the CUNY Graduate Center.

Naomi Zack, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Oregon stated, “Tina Botts methodically shows how the concepts of biological race and legal equality in use by the US Supreme Court leave out present and past experiences of discrimination against non-white people in society. This call for a more comprehensive interpretation of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment should spur change and spark reflection among legal scholars, political philosophers, and researchers of race in the United States.”

Dr. Tina Fernandes Botts is an assistant professor of philosophy and the pre-law coordinator for the philosophy department at Fresno State. She holds doctoral degrees in both law and philosophy and has recently developed a new course:  Law, Culture, and the Humanities, that is available for enrollment this spring as a senior seminar.

This fall, Botts will be facilitating a reading group about Sally Kohn’s new book, The Opposite of Hate, to help prepare interested faculty, staff, and students for Kohn’s keynote address at Fresno State on Oct. 3. Kohn’s visit was arranged by the President’s Commission on Human Relations and Equity.  Those attending the reading group will receive a free copy of Kohn’s book, sponsored by the Ethics Center at Fresno State.

Botts is currently in the process of writing another book for Rowman & Littlefield International about hate speech in the United States entitled Hate Speech and Social Harm.