THE WEB ESSAY: EXPLORING ARGUMENTS
Legal scholar Patricia Williams opens the first chapter of her book The Alchemy of Race and Rights with the following observation:
Since subject position is everything in my analysis of the law, you deserve to know that it's a bad morning" (4).
In a variety of ways, Williams goes on to explain why subject position is "everything." She argues, for example:
That life is complicated is a fact of great analytic importance. Law too often seeks to avoid this truth by making up its own breed of narrower, simpler, but hypnotically powerful rhetorical truths. Acknowledging, challenging, playing with these as rhetorical gestures is, it seems to me, necessary for any conception of justice. Such acknowledgment complicates the supposed purity of gender, race, voice, boundary; it allows us to acknowledge the utility of such categoriztions for certain purposes and the necessity of their breakdown on other occasions. It complicates definitions in its shift, in its room for the possibility of creatively mated taxonomies and their wildly unpredictable offspring.
I think, though, that one of the most important results of reconceptualizing from 'objective truth' to rhetorical event will be a more nuanced sense of legal and social responsibility. This will be so because much of what is spoken in so-called objective, unmediated voices is in fact mired in hidden subjectivities and unexamined claims that make property of others beyond the self, all the while denying such connections" (10-11).