Search This Blog

Friday, March 8, 2013

Legal Storytelling: Focus on Patricia Williams' "Benetton Story"













Dear all,
today prof. David Skeel talked about the third strand of the Law and Literature movement, the so called "Law and Narrative/Legal Storytelling" strand. He focused in particular on what could be considered the most powerful example of legal storytelling, the "Benetton Story" by Patricia Williams.
You will certainly find the story and comments about it on the web.

As a first little "homework" of the Law and the Humanities course, we ask you to find the story, read it, and possibly answer a question that was asked in class today: what was the reaction of Benetton to Patricia Williams' writing? Was there a reaction at all? Why?

You could also read one of the articles published by prof. Williams on The Nation and write something about them on the blog: http://www.thenation.com/authors/patricia-j-williams#

27 comments:

  1. The professor David Skeel talked about the three strands that we can find in law and literature:
    1)"law as language"
    2)"literature and empaty"
    3)"law and Narrative"
    Today the professor explain to us th "benetton story" that can be connected to the third point.
    in this story,williams Patricia describes how she was refused access to a Benetton store by a teenage clerk when she was trying to buy
    a sweater for her mother,and how she encountered difficulties in persuadind a law review to publish a full account of this episode.
    what is the point of the story?
    Someone insist that the point isn't the benetton episode itself,but
    the difficulties Williams encountred with law review.
    one could also see the story as an example of how badly blacks
    are treated in our society.
    now, the professor explained to us how they are subject to criticism Legal stories.
    highlighting some important questions you should be asking.
    for example:1) how can a personal incident be challenged 2)How do we know if it is true?
    Now...i'm agrre with this critical points because
    we know ALL that the Benetton can be defined as a company that has colored the world.
    Benetton said: "The communication should not be commissioned from outside the company, but conceived from within its heart."
    A brand that became the driving force of a message "United Colors". Around the "united colors" will develop
    the concept of advertising images that will create a growing network of "United People".
    Are images showing boys and girls of all colors that express integration, energy and joie de vivre.
    Evoke a universe a bit 'abstract dominated by the ease of relationships and feelings.
    Benetton has been often criticized for his strong advertising and the strong messages
    it has launched, to be often left out schemes.
    But,advocates of storytelling disagree about whether such an analytical
    framework is necessary at all.of course, tend to support their method.
    However I could not find the reaction of Benetton on the web.
    But I think the silence of my research is due to the
    awareness of Benetton itself to be increasingly subject to criticism,
    however they never stopped its success.

    ReplyDelete
  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Like Federica, I could not find the reaction of Benetton itself to Patricia William's story. I believe that Benetton's lack of reaction speaks louder than had Benetton actually published an official reaction, as not reacting to William's story allows Benetton to do two main things. One, the lack of reaction first and foremost causes any reader of William's narrative to question its validity, one of the main criticisms Professor Skeel commented on regarding the third strand of law and literature. By doing so, this allows the reader to focus more on the morality of the story, not on the scandal that is racism within the Benetton corporation itself. By not reacting, Benetton is probably implying that this narrative could have taken at any commercial clothing store, or center, and that racism stems from an individual, not a brand. By not reacting, Benetton can continue to maintain it's "United Colors" image, even if all of its employees clearly don't abide by that supposed common belief. Secondly, by not reacting Benetton eliminated the possibility of another reaction from Patricia Williams, which could have ended in a law suit or a court case accusing Benetton, as a corporation, of racism. In conclusion, by not reacting Benetton has allowed William's narrative to highlight the legal possibility of racism, but not act on it and damage their company. Personally, this speculation causes me to wonder what would have happened had Benetton reacted, and if the situation would have harmed their image drastically.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I agree with Federica as regards the 'approach' of Benetton in the advertising market. All of us remember the 'kiss of the Popes' for example. But staying on the issue introduced today by Prof. Skeel, with its anecdote Patricia Williams, represents the third strand of law and literature: the law as narrative, reflecting on the intersection of the race issue, topic very beaten not only in U.S, and the special case that happened to her in New York. Despite the unpleasant event, all of us know another main characteristic of the commercial attitude of United Colors of Benetton,that has always shown to protect the concept of equality of race (which has always been part of the Benetton brand). I'd like to think that Benetton had apologized for the terrible act of its clerk (also i have not been able to find the story on internet).
    But I would like to introduce another question. As Professor Skeel noted in today's lesson, the introduction of legal issues through the legal storytelling, and then the wider concept of law as narrative, meets some criticism, including the question of whether a single legal storytelling can really be extended and generalized. I think that today in America, but also in the world, you can find thousands of analogous cases, and then the anecdote presented in legal storytelling of Patricia Williams, is very real and current. Legal narrative, such as that of P.Williams, put the focus on human beings.
    Finally, I can honestly say to all of you, including Prof. Conte and Dr.ssa Gialdroni, how it would be important, in view of the study of law, deepen the theme of narrative writing, encouraging students to improve their legal analysis and reflect on their ethical responsibility, teaching them to encode information in legal narrative form.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I did search a lot for a reaction from the Benetton Group to Patricia Williams or to the editor who first published her story, but I wasn’t able to find anything neither. Even if I can’t assure there hadn’t been answers, since all the archives I checked on weren’t older than 2008, and this story dates back to 1991.
    By the way I founded out this story has been quite famous (or infamous: it depends on the point of view!) since what most created noise was the refusal from a journal to publish the story – and that’s way maybe the concerns moved from the Benetton employee to the editor so we don’t know if there was a reaction on that sense. But I read lots of comments, and I really liked the one which quoting expressly Patricia Williams defined her work and the whole “The Alchemy of Race and Rights” (when the Benetton story founded its second printing) as a diary where the author reflects her ordinary life like in a mirror to see in the reflections who she really was, in an effort to accept her race and conditions.
    I also read one of her article entitled “Eggs Are People Too!”: it seemed funny because of the title, but it was more and more interesting because of the content! It talks about some important issue which we are used to hear about nowadays, regarding life, contraception and also particular events such as the artificial insemination by the so-dead-dad’s semen. Well, it’s quite a controversial argument and I must say she summed up everything so coherently that it’s quite hard to reply. I really do agree with her positions, but it was a quite new argument she reported in favour of a natural procreation, in order of really social justice, that I had never heard before: she says that eggs and sperms, even if they are not yet fecundate, they are already alive! And she goes further back to give life a birth: to the DNA, which is in partly already in both sperms and eggs! That’s a quite new reason to support the thesis.

    ReplyDelete
  6. About the third strand of Law and Literature exposed by Professor Skeel, Law and narrative, we can find a number of internationals inspirations. One of the biggest concerns is racial discrimination. We refer to the essays written by Patricia Williams. She is a lawyer and a teacher, deriving from a mixed family of black "slaves" and white men. Williams has talked several times about her personal experience of discrimination (in a symposium on “excluded voices”, in some writings and in many interviews). The story now known as the Benetton case has been handed down as an exciting tale in which victorious is not the law, but the ideals of few.

    However, with time, the history of the brand with the name United Colors of Benetton, has been set aside, ignored and left in places where it cannot damage the reputation of the company. The paradox is obvious, but as I have said to my colleagues, the "no response" of Benetton wonders even more. The Italian company has in fact chosen to ignore the problem, based on the fact that the written narrative cannot be used as evidence in a legal judgment. Yet the voice of Patricia Williams is not the only one to emerge from a novel, or rather since the most ancient literature, and I mean even a the roman Cicerone with his epistolae railed against the incorrect implementation of Roman law.

    So finally I can only believe that, where the law doesn’t arrive, the only way to raise your voice in the society of the past and of the present is through narrative. Therefore, law and narrative, in my opinion, is not only a combination of two different "subjects", but cooperation that one day may help to ensure that law and respect for people becomes one concrete concept and not the first as an empty abstract idea written on a piece of paper.

    Y. C.

    ReplyDelete
  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi everebody.
      I think, like Ylenia does too, that literature is a vehicle to describe reality the law aspects of it too .
      Patricia Williams, with her Benetton Story, represents a kind of “personal essay” ,the memoir,that describes a current problem: discrimination. She writes about this experience and sends the article in to be published in a law review.
      I read a comment of hers that describes her experience with the publication of her Benetton Story:<Two days after the piece was sent to press,I received copies of the final page proofs.All reference to my race had been eliminated because it was against "editorial policy"to permit descriptions of physiognomy.In a telephone conversation to them,I ranted wildly about the significance of such an omission."It's irrelevant",another editor explained."It's nice and poetic,but it doesn't advance the discussion of any principle.This is a law review,after all".
      The editors could not make the leap from Williams' description of her "round brown face" pressed up against the store window, to a broader discussion of racism underlining the buzzer security systems in New York.

      So the United Color Benetton name is a false theory and a current problem, according to my opinion, is the Benetton’s relocation.The relationship between discrimination and relocation is evident, Williams’ story is only the first step of a modern problem that concerns all the world and that only a few people feel like a problem of their own.

      Delete
  8. Concerning Prof.Skeel's lesson about the third strand of Law and Litterature:narrative/ legal storytelling,talking about Patricia Williams'"Benetton story",she reveals the entanglements of law about concept of rights with a moving testimony to the actual importance of rights to generations of blacks(as you can see also from "The Alchemy of Race and Rights"published in 1991).
    According to Williams is impossible to elude the inescapable presence of racial prejudice in us and to pretend that we live in a colour-blind society.Mostly you pretend to accept the multi-ethnicity in compliance with international law.
    Maybe,the reason why there wasn't been a reaction by Benetton Group to Patricia Williams'story is because the Group(as people do)doesn't want to see:racism is ugly and it convinced itself that such ugliness does not exist.
    Racism is human race limit,so it's hard to accept and overcome.
    Benetton's brand and "mission"wuold be damaged from this case,and even if people believe to Williams' story,it would be considered as isolated incident.
    By the way,in my opinion,it's useful to link to Toni Morrison's(one of the most prominent African American intellectual) essay "Speaking the Uspeakable" that wants demonstrate rethorical strategy African American intellectuals often use to reclaim a racial essentialism based on experience that authorizes or legitimises their spech in some very politically important ways:affirming we are the subjects of our own experience of those with whom we have come in contact.

    ReplyDelete
  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Surfing in the net I could not find how Benetton have responded to Williams’ story but I found and e-book where were reported some interesting critiques about Williams’ incident.
    Reading a few pages of this book named “Beyond all Reasons” by Daniel Fabrer and Suzanna Sherry you can obtain different and peculiar point of view about Williams’ story.
    There’s the radical multiculturalists’s opinion that seem to sustain that the aim of this episode is highlighting the discrimination against colored people.
    But not every person who support the multiculturalists’ line up think that racism and prejudice are the real incident’s background.
    Professor Jerome Culp, for instance, writes that the point of the whole story is not this sort of declaration of prejudicial behaviour based on race; Culp affirms that Williams wanted to use her story to point out her difficulties with law review.
    On the other hand Professor Alex M. Johnson asserts that Williams wants to underline the limits of current civil rights laws adding that (as Culp sustains) the episode’s goal is to criticize the privileging of white law review editors over authors of color.
    So, thanks to the different approaches to Williams’ story, we can find two level of interpretation of the same episode.
    This could be useful to understand how even if this a subjective and anecdotal story and it might be linked only with the Williams’ personal and discriminating event it should be arrange, as I have just written, on the “legal review dispute” either as Culp and Johnson assert.


    I think that if scholars can create this empathic bond between their real life events and how they do have to face the juridical system, this could be helpful for ordinary people who would read legal stories.
    So we could have different sorts of interpretative levels as we have different kinds of readers: the same story could be address to experts and common people.
    I also can add that in my opinion legal storytelling truly helps ordinary people to get into these sort of subjects and ease them to understand how the legal system works.
    On the other hand is also a valuable means to give lawyers help with their specific profession; above all with the part of their job that concern the relation between them and the client.


    As I attended these three Professor Skeel’s classes I was thinking about the impact that Legal Storytelling might have in Italy.
    And while Professor Skeel’s presented us the Patricia Williams’ “Benetton episode” I was trying to imagine a potential scenario if this story had happened here.
    I have to admit that in Italy we are usually aware of episodes like this through newspapers and newscasts and we often took them as report. So we know the score as it is.
    But what would happen if a person who has experienced this kind of incident itself writes about it with the aim to train people to deal with a legal point of view?
    I mean, what would happen if here in Italy a lawyer or a scholar with a very personal incident to write about addresses its story to ordinary readers to educate them to legal subjects?
    I hope that some of you who will be so kind to read my comment will answer me here or in class so we may discuss about it.
    Have a nice Sunday all of you.
    R.D.L

    ReplyDelete
  11. I was contemplating William’s Benneton case and more generally on the consequences of storytelling.
    Generally speaking, I don’t really belive in “statistics” and I don’t’ think that a single event or a story should happen to become a“case” and an objective problem.
    in this particular situation, the issue is not whether or not Benetton brand is pretending to appear anti-racist as per its advertising campaign ,when actually it is, but we can rather assume that a clerk that had not been really brilliant, acted as he was having prejudices, not the whole company. It seems to me over the top to generalize a single case of discrimination that had accidentally occurred.
    I’m in a certain sense skeptical about storytelling and the Third strand;
    my opinion is that a Lawyer can refer both to storytelling and the Second strand as a tool to get more empathetic and deeply comprehend people and life.

    ReplyDelete
  12. The power of story telling ( 3 strand: Law and Narrative)
    Patricia Williams is a lawyer and a professor of commercial law.
    The Alchemy of Race and Rights is an eloquent autobiographical essay in which the author reflects on the intersection of race, gender, and class. Using the tools of critical literary and legal theory, she sets out her views of contemporary popular culture and current events. She also traces the workings of "ordinary racism".
    In this book Patricia describes how she has been denied accessing in to a Benetton store by a shop assistant.
    During Prof. Skeel’s lesson I remembered that in recent years Benetton has been involved in many scandals. After a brief research on the web I found the following cases:
    Benetton vs Mapuche: http://it.mapuches.org/benetton/benetton0511.html http://www.santarosarecuperada.com.ar/
    Benetton vs “cocuklar” (baby worker) : http://web.tiscalinet.it/lacimiceonline/numero_marzo-aprile2000/Bambini%20Ragazzi%20art%203.htm
    I think that the story telling helps to open our eyes to a hidden reality.
    Benetton is a multinational company which uses multicultural models in its campaigns in order to show its concern about equality. But Is it true that Benetton cares about equality?
    I think that it is a multinational company only focused on its profits.
    I haven’t found any Benetton reaction to this scandal. I think it’s because it relies on its powerful campaigns to convince people about its interest on equality.

    ReplyDelete
  13. It’s difficult to add something new to the precious comments that my colleagues have shared above. In Italy we’ve never discussed about Patricia Williams!
    There are a lot of topics for reflection rising from Prof. Skeel’s interesting lessons and from my colleagues’ comments. To remain in the topic I’ll only focus on “Benetton story”.
    The subject was discussed in the class with some questions that are still resounding in my mind. And have pushed me to further reflect on this case.
    First of all: How can a personal incident be a challenge? Subjectivity could become objectivity?
    The mixture of personal and common/social, between subjectivity and objectivity is emblematic to understand how some phenomena that otherwise would only remain narrative elements, become instead relevant under a legal profile.
    Those who have read Patricia Williams’s Book were lucky to be accompanied by the hand across this dark side.
    I personally believe that while “Benetton story” remains a unique and personal case, it’s also a big and heavy opportunity for reflection that literature, often, offers to us.
    A critical and legal eye, such as the one of the author, will help us for a more technical and responsible reading but shouldn’t end up in an unbalance of roles.
    While an exchange of roles could enrich our own background (see topics delivered during Prof. Skeel’s second lessons on Lawyering as Translation but also Law as Empathy) the storyteller must remain such and the same for the legal expert.
    To conclude, in respect of Dr. Gialdroni’s suggestion, I share with you a key moment of Prof. Skeel’s lesson when the student next to me, rightly asked “Has Benetton replied to Patricia William’s report?” and Prof. Skeel’s answer was that apparently there was no reaction at all form the brand. Furthermore in response to the class’ surprised faces, Prof explain to us that this “no-reaction” answer from Benetton has reduced the event to a simple narrative “charge”, even if the author was a legal expert. Benetton’s silence has made Patricia Williams’s voice personal and subjective. It’s up to our minds to decide if this is the right interpretation.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Speaking of the third strand, Professor Skeel has focused our attention on the case of racial discrimination suffered by Patricia Williams. she have written a book (the alchimy of race and rights)where she speak of an experience of discrimination and the problems of equality in race, gender and class. This book gives us the opportunity to understand the roll still the racism in our society and how literature can make us reflect on this.I am surprised that this story is little know in Italy. moreover I am impressed by the fact that isn't a story so old. Furthermore I haven't found any Benetton's reaction to this scandal, perhaps because this written narration is not evidence in a legal judgment as Ylenia said. Paradoxically, Benetton has promoted an advertising campaignwith ipocrisy, focused on equality, whit the slogan "united colors". This slogan is now part of the brand! As posted Andrea the Benetton has been involved in many scandals, however without stopped its succes. Why? Because the people (like me) don't know these events.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Me too haven’t found an answer to the question I put in class, as well as the other fellows. So we can suppose that there was no reply.
    The reason why I wondered if Benetton reacted to this narrative is that I supposed it did.
    In fact in USA this story is well known and it’s considered true by the most people. So, considering the anti-racism policy company, I thought that if Benetton had shown an open mind recognizing the possibility of a single bad behavour, his customers would appreciate it. Benetton is a very big company and it’s not possible for it to control all its clerk’s behaviours. As Eva Toschi has already written, it’s not a single conduct that could damage the whole company reputation.
    Talking about it with other people I realized that my point of view was quite optimist. In fact not answering to Williams, Benetton didn’t allowed the issue to grow. In this way it avoided the risk of a negative public reaction.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hi everybody! I was absent at the lesson so I didn't know well the story (and I didn't found it on web).. reading your posts I get a sense of a question, so I'm just thinking that one person is not "Benetton", but maybe a reaction on his part to what had happened would have been in line with his philosophy! The narrative is a big strument of law, it can arrive direct to everybody, better than everything! see you tomorrow :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Hello everybody.
    My level of english is not yet enough so i'll try to write something (but forgive me for mistakes :)).
    I like the third strand, i find it very interesting. I've read all the comments and i agree with Eva Toschi's thought.I don't think that a personal experience can represent an incontestable truth, after all there aren't proofs but only one version of the fact. So this could be a limit for the whole third strand. Furthermore on the web i found a book titled which refers to Benetton story using these words: "...he had used the Benetton's article in his jurisprudence class, and a rumor got started that the benetton's story wasn't true that it was...a lie that was probably the product of a diseased mind trying to make all white people feel guilty." Perhaps even in U.S. there are doubts about this story.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I couldn't find an article dealing with the reaction of benetton to patricia william's story on web.But i was able to find a lot of articles about the story where williams describes how she was refused to access into a benetton store by a teenage shopkeeper when she was trying to buy a sweater for her mother.I think the point of the story remains obscure and without a clear conclusion.Even because the shopkeeper indicated the store was closed.So the question is not the event in itself but the difficulties williams encounters with the law editors when she tried to publish the essay.In fact,as she described,all the references to her race were been eliminated in name of "editorial policy",and the justification of the editor was the essay is just "law review".Is this just a speculation?Or could it be a way to sponsor herself and her work?I really don't know. Moreover we must remember the collaboration between the photographer Oliviero Toscani and Benetton(1980-1990)about and against racism,war and sexual discrimination.Sometimes the benetton's advertisings were very shocking!So,I understand the reason why benetton never answered to Williams.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. YES...it's absurd that "Benetton" that often makes advertising against racism is the protagonist of this episode...

      Delete
  20. The title of the book is 'Why I Hate Abercrombie Fitch' by Dwight A. McBride.
    Sorry, i had not written :)

    ReplyDelete
  21. Patricia Williams writes about “Benetton ‘story” in the book “THE ALCHEMY OF RACE AND RIGHTS ." In the story, Patricia Williams describes going Christmas shopping for her mother. She sees a sweater she thinks will be perfect in the window of a Benetton store. She sees several white shoppers inside the store, so rings the buzzer to be let in, pressing her "round brown face" against the window while she does so. The young, white salesclerk, blowing a bubble with his gum, shakes his head "no," and indicates that the store is closed. He will not let her in. She writes of this experience and sends the article in to be published in a law review, where it undergoes various radical transformations, which she also describes in the final essay.Critics ask: Did Williams correctly interpret the salesclerk's refusal to let her in as racism? Is this the inference that I, as an insider, would have drawn?How do you know that the same thing would not happened to anyone else? All reference to Benetton in the book had been deleted because, according to the editors and the faculty advisor, it was defamatory; they feared harassment and liability; they said printing it would be irresponsible. Patricia William called them and offered to supply a footnote attesting to this as a personal experience at one particular location and of a buzzer system not limited to Benetton's.The editors told her that they were not in the habit of publishing things that were unverifiable. This story it’s a good example of the third strand “law and narrative/legal storytelling” and is really interesting read people’s comments on it.Many people don’t believe Patricia Williams .Many students do not believe that asian American are discriminated against.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Alice Borsacchi

    On 8 March Prof. David Skeel explained the third strand of the Law and Literature movement called "Law and Narrative/Legal Storytelling" strand, analising in particular an example of legal storytelling, the "Benetton Story" by Patricia Williams. The story talking about an episode of racism in which Patricia Williams (a professor of law at Columbia University) was discriminated by a teenage clerk that denied access to a Benetton store. The turning point of this story is not the denied access but the persistent discrimination of black people. But it isn't a mere episode of racism because the fact that we are talking about a Benetton store exacerbates the gravity of the situation. How is it possible that a brand that focused his slogan on the respect of races could be protagonist of this indecorous and discreditable episode and, moreover, how is it possible that Mrs. Williams encountered difficulties in persuadind a law review to write an exhaustive account of this episode?
    In her book, <>, Patricia Williams exposed her positions about the theme of racial discrimination; she examines episodes of racial subordination by anecdotes,literary theorys, and philosophy.
    The argument expressed in the book, expecially about the special alchemy of race and rights, took place relating the view of the condition of black America 30 years after the Civil Rights movement. And here we might recall that alchemy is more than << little bits of law and pieces of everyday life fly[ing] out of [one's] mouth in weird combinations >> as she said.
    However, Professor Skeel underlined that Benetton is knew as a company that "has colored the world" and so it could be the driving force of a message United Colors, developping the concept of advertising images that will create a better network of United World and of United People.
    The answer of Benetton is linked with the concept of communication; in his mind communication <>.

    I think that the episode narrated by Patricia Williams can't be taken as a "yardstick" of the modus operandi of the Benetton company; we have to consider it as a cross section of the nowadays society, in which exist a little minority of racist behaviour. In an other point of view the lack of official reaction by Benetton doesn't allow us to have a right vision of this question. Concerning about the real value of the third strand, I’m in a certain sense skeptical about storytelling and the third strand, as Prof. Skeel explained to us,
    a lawyer could consider both to storytelling and both to the law and to the other aspects; only in this way it's possible to have an acutely, genuinely and deeply comprehension of the fact ...



    ReplyDelete
  23. StoryBennetton Story
    It si quiet allarming: Benetton used posters in every part of the cities in the world to promote their openminded attitude to people of every colour Of the skin,and as a consequence we know what happened to Williams! It si clear that shop assistants working in large cities where criminality is normality have no easy life, and their behavior is caused by the fear . Benetton did not react probably because the critics moved to the fact prevented them to give any kind of explanation, that could be' considered a form of justification rather than an apologising for a situation that can occur where you are pressed by a system in which we tend to confuse the phisical appearance with the person. This make me think of Frankenstein, as he was victim of what people thought he could be because of his ugly aspect , he should have been bad and violent!
    Ms Williams is victim of ignorance and discrimination , even on Christmas time when people are said to be more attentive to others' needs.

    ReplyDelete
  24. David Skeel’s third strand of the law and literature movement (legal storytelling) can be identified from Patricia Williams’ “Benetton Story.” The focus of the story is not about injustices connecting to racism, but rather it poses the question: Is the story true? Did it really occur? Not only Williams’ description of what happened in the store can be used to come to a perspective on this question but also the reaction (or lack thereof) of Benetton and the legal process of publishing her narrative. When Williams attempted to publish her account her work was forced to undergo many changes. I found this excerpt online that is interesting to read and helps demonstrate components of legal storytelling:
    I received the second edit. All reference to Benetton had been deleted because, according to the editors and the faculty advisor, it was defamatory; they feared har- assment and liability; they said printing it would be irresponsible. I called them and offered to supply a footnote attesting to this as my personal experience at one partic- ular location and of a buzzer system not limited to Benetton's; the editors told me that they were not in the habit of publishing things that were unverifiable. I could not but wonder, in this refusal even to let me file an affidavit, what it would take to make my experience verifiable. (http://open.wmitchell.edu)
    There is this focus on what constitutes legitimacy, which connects to what Steel mentioned as law meeting criticism. Williams was criticized and furthermore asked to prove her story, which was initially categorized as defamatory. However, does Benetton’s lack of response lead one to believe that Williams story is in fact true? There was no defense from the store on what they believe to have happened; there were two subjects in this narrative, however we have only read one perspective. It is hard to assess whether or not stories such as Williams can be used to shape legislation, and be included in legal discourse.

    Maya Shair

    ReplyDelete