Intersectional race and gender analyses: why legal processes just don't get it
Legal processes, particularly those relating to criminal justice, have frequently been criticized for their inability to accommodate the experiences of racialized women. Recognizing categories of difference is difficult for processes that are framed within an ideology that emphasizes objectivity and universalism. The Australian Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody (RCIADIC) was a quasi-legal entity that investigated 99 Indigenous deaths in custody, as well as the underlying social, cultural and legal issues that may have had a bearing on those deaths. The RCIADIC, like many other legal processes, appears to have been unable to take an intersectional race and gender approach in its analysis. This article uses the RCIADIC inquiry to identify, describe and critically analyse the ways in which the dominant liberal ideology can, at times, operate to exclude racialized women. The reasons identified are based on the opinions and information collected from 48 interviews of people who either worked for the RCIADIC or were in some other way associated with the RCIADIC. The critical analysis presented in this article provides insights into how legal processes remain patriarchal in focus even when embarking on an inquiry about race.