Critical Race Theory

The following are excerpts from books or journals where a search found references to "Critical Race Theory." I then looked for sentences where "white" was found and looked for interesting content of no particular nature other than discussing White-supremacism, White-privilege, White-racism, etc. I did not attempt to analyze those who vilify Whites, and only offer up these remarks for your interest, entertainment or enlightenment. (Matt Nuenke - July, 2004)
Publication Information: Book Title: Race Is Race Isn't: Critical Race Theory and Qualitative Studies in Education. Contributors: Donna Deyhle - editor, Laurence Parker - editor, Sofia Villenas - editor. Publisher: Westview Press. Place of Publication: Boulder, CO. Publication Year: 1999. Page Number: v.

Critical race theory (CRT) is an exciting, revolutionary intellectual movement that puts race at the center of critical analysis. Although no set of doctrines or methodologies defines critical race theory, scholars who write within the parameters of this intellectual movement share two very broad commitments. First, as a critical intervention into traditional civil rights scholarship, critical race theory describes the relationship between ostensibly race-neutral ideals, like "the rule of law," "merit," and "equal protection," and the structure of white supremacy and racism. Second, as a race-conscious and quasi-modernist intervention into critical legal scholarship, critical race theory proposes ways to use "the vexed bond between law and racial power" (Crenshaw, Gotanda, Peller, and Thomas, 1995, p. xiii) to transform that social structure and to advance the political commitment of racial emancipation.

What can critical race theory, a movement that has its roots in legal scholarship, contribute to research in education? Plenty, as it turns out. Much of the national dialogue on race relations takes place in the context of educationin continuing desegregation and affirmative action battles, in debates about bilingual education programs, and in the controversy surrounding race and ethnicity studies departments at colleges and universities. More centrally, the use of critical race theory offers a way to understand how ostensibly race-neutral structures in educationknowledge, truth, merit, objectivity, and "good education"are in fact ways of forming and policing the racial boundaries of white supremacy and racism. The chapters by Ladson-Billings; Villenas, Deyhle, and Parker; Pizarro; and other authors in this book provide an excellent example of this use of critical race theory.

In a similar vein, as the federal government seeks to wrest control from local communities of color over their neighborhood schools by invoking the notion of "national standards," education scholars are using critical race theory to demonstrate that these standards may in fact be a form of colonialism, a way of imparting white, Westernized conceptions of enlightened thinking.

A recent compilation of CRT key writings points out that there is no "canonical set of doctrines or methodologies to which [CRT scholars] all subscribe" (p. xiii). However, these scholars are unified by two common intereststo understand how a "regime of white supremacy and its subordination of people of color have been created and maintained in America" (p. xiii) and to change the bond that exists between law and racial power.

This thematic strand of whiteness as property in the United States is not confined to the nation's early history. Indeed, Andrew Hacker (1992) exercise with his college students illustrates the material and social value the students place on their possession of whiteness. Hacker uses a parable to illustrate that although the students insist that "in this day and age, things are better for Blacks" (p. 31), none of them would want to change places with African Americans. When asked what amount of compensation they would seek if they were forced to "become Black," the students "seemed to feel that it would not be out of place to ask for $50 million, or $1 million for each coming Black year" (p. 32). Hacker continues:

And this calculation conveys, as well as anything, the value that white people place on their own skins. Indeed, to be white is to possess a gift whose value can be appreciated only after it has been taken away. And why ask so large a sum? . . . The money would be used, as best it could, to buy protection from the discriminations and dangers white people know they would face once they were perceived to be black. (p. 32)

Thus, even without the use of a sophisticated legal rhetorical argument, Whites know they possess a property that people of color do not have and that to possess it confers aspects of citizenship not available to others. The argument is that the "property functions of whiteness"rights of disposition, rights to use and enjoyment, reputation and status property, and the absolute right to excludemake the American dream of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" a more likely and attainable reality for Whites as citizens. This reality also is more likely to engender feelings of loyalty and commitment to a nation that works in the interests of Whites. Conversely, Blacks, aware that they will never possess this ultimate property, are less sanguine about U.S. citizenship.

Patricia Williams (1995) explains these differential notions of citizenship as being grounded in differential experiences of rights because "one's sense of empowerment defines one's relation to law, in terms of trust-distrust, formality-informality, or right-no rights (or needs)" (pp. 87-88). An example of this differing relation (in this case to commerce) was shared in one of my classes.

We were discussing Mclntosh (1990) article on "white privilege." One White woman shared a personal experience of going into a neighborhood supermarket, having her items rung up by the cashier and discovering that she did not have her checkbook. The cashier told her she could take her groceries and bring the check back later. When she related this story to an African American male friend, he told her that was an example of the privilege she enjoyed because she was White.{Pg. 18}

Critical race theory sees the official school curriculum as a culturally specific artifact designed to maintain a White supremacist master script. As he contends:

Master scripting silences multiple voices and perspectives, primarily legitimizing dominant, White, upperclass, male voicings as the "standard" knowledge students need to know. All other accounts and perspectives are omitted from the master script unless they can be disempowered through misrepresentation. Thus, content that does not reflect the dominant voice must be brought under control, mastered, and then reshaped before it can become a part of the master script. (p. 341) {Pg. 21}

Larson (1997) presents an example of this phenomenon in a case study of White school administrators at a Midwestern high school. The administrators rigidly follow bureaucratic strategies of control by enacting disciplinary procedures against African American students despite growing evidence of racial tension due to outright prejudice by White teachers and tracking placements that stunted African American student progress and eventually caused the community to rise up and demand change.{Pg. 33}

According to Ladson-Billings, the narrative that "we are all immigrants" blames Latino immigrants themselves for their marginalization by saying they do not work as hard as previous European immigrants. In this way, Ladson-Billings (in this volume) argues that CRT "sees the official school curriculum as a culturally specific artifact designed to maintain a White supremacist master script."{Pg. 36}

Villenas and Deyhle argue that as monoculturalism and monolingualism uphold White privilege, these linguistically and culturally sophisticated families are relegated to an inferior status. They argue that "CRT as an explanatory tool helps us position schools' and larger society's negative perceptions of cultural differences in family socialization and education within a framework of power relations and the castification of Latinos in the United States" (Villenas and Deyhle, in press).

The data from these ethnographic studies of Latino communities demonstrates that vocational tracking is rampant. Based on the results of IQ tests and standardized tests, Latino/a students were channeled into lower-level courses for those who were not considered "college material." Ladson-Billings argues that the movement for intelligence testing has been motivated by a desire to legitimize the labeling of "raced" children as deficient. Using a CRT lens, Villenas and Deyhle argue that "deficit explanations on the part of teachers and school administrations are patterns connected to White strategies of maintaining privilege. As Mexican students are placed in lower tracks, White students are placed in upper tracks with the justification that this will prepare each for the sorts of jobs they are capable of" (in press). One youth who left school commented, "If you're Mexican, they put you lower. If you're White, they put you higher, right?" (Romo and Falbo, 1996, p. 192). Teachers looked at the cultural differences of their students and hoped that they would "snap out of it" and become "normal," meaning like White middle-class students. Teachers expressed the view that Mexican kids were "held back" by their families: "I think they hold him back [pause] well, unwillingly . . . I think they want what's best for him but they're unwilling [pause] or not able to help. I'm sure everything is in Spanish" (Carger, 1996, pp. 86-87). Villenas and Deyhle conclude that requiring assimilation becomes "a strategic way of dismissing Mexican culture and entrenching the 'normalcy' of white middle-class norms."{Pg. 38}

Racism in Hope City ranges from the activities of White supremacist groups in the county to rampant institutionalized discrimination in the areas of housing, law enforcement, and employment. These forms of racism as they played out in the everyday lives of Latino immigrant residents made up the experiential stories of discrimination that circulated in the community.{Pg. 40}

The field of education has much to offer critical race theory and legal scholarship, precisely because schooling and "colonial" education are the greatest normalizers of White supremacy.{Pg. 48}

Those "in power" within these contexts may have lessons to share, but they are also not fully invested in seeing the complexities of this context because it demands questioning their own power and authority. Simn's documentary demonstrates this process as teachers ignore the violent struggles for survival Latinas/os in Los Angeles must face and as they misinterpret the impact of these families on the local economy because of their own xenophobically constructed self-interests. It is often exceptionally difficult and of no interest to those with the most to lose to consider the way in which their own privilege is based on the denigration of others. Sleeter (1996) provides an excellent example as she explains white discourse on race at an interpersonal level and the way in which it allows for the maintenance of inequalities. In another work, describes how political discourse in the United States also shapes social problems and the way we think about them so as to further empower the advantaged at the expense of the disadvantaged. Most people engaged in the discussion do not ever acknowledge that this may be the most significant result of our public political discourse. In looking at white teachers, Sleeter later shows that they create unconscious racialized understandings that privilege themselves and white students over students of color. In short, teachers, administrators, and schools have done very little to improve the educational opportunities of Chicanas/os over the years. There is a long history of school staff being formally and informally trained to blame Chicanas/os for their failure and to ignore the staff's complicity in the process. {Pg. 66}

This chapter examines what is often left unmarked in the discourses of emancipatory pedagogy and research: the discursive practices that reproduce white privilege. I juxtapose two research accounts, both of which revolve around and are derived from my ethnographic classroom study of a feminist course that fulfills a diversity requirement at the university at which it is offered. The first account, which I refer to as the main "text," derives from observations and analysis of my field notes, classroom transcripts and notes, and student interview transcripts. This account focuses on the research "results." I refer to the second account as the "subtext." Subtexts can contain the stories, assumptions, beliefs, norms, and/or discursive codes that usually are left implicit and unspoken. The subtext that I recount here tells of the research relations constituting my study, relations marked by struggle and conflict.

I juxtapose segments of the subtext against the text in this chapter deliberately, in order to give readers a sense of fragmentation, since in this case the subtext is one that has been explicitly displaced and silenced. I include the subtext here, however, because it is an effective illustration of the ways in which a power-evasive discourse is mobilized to protect the privilege, power, and entitlements of speakers occupying privileged "axes of social difference". Power-evasive discourses are discourses in which speakers do not acknowledge what power and advantages they have as a result, for example, of whiteness and white supremacy, but also as a result of middle- or upper-class status, or masculine or heterosexual privilege. I specifically want to address how power-evasive white discourse also can be deployed by those professing to hold emancipatory agendassuch as those posited by feminist pedagogy and researchand can subvert their goals of disrupting relations of domination. {Pg. 155}

However, the assumption of safety is particularly problematic when the discursive practices of a diversity classroom are marked by mainstream and dominant white, middle-class codes around control, conflict, and power; and when student disagreement and divergence from course materials and positions result in silencing, dismissal, and potential exiling.{Pg. 159}

In this section I will describe six classroom practices that illustrate how power and control are deployed in this classroom, confounding the course goal of deconstructing relations of domination. In the following analysis of these practices, I detail how this classroom employs a power-evasive discourse that both characterizes and reproduces white privilege.{Pg. 160}

This growing "body" of work illustrates that silences over real social differences, the selective marking and invisibility of white racial identity, and the suppression of overt conflict not only continue to be shaped and coded by race, class, culture, and gender, but these silences, absences, and unmarked differences themselves constitute forms of discursive power.{Pg. 175}

Chow (1993) identifies the discourse that I have been describing throughout this essay as a "discourse of white guilt," which she defines specifically as one in which the speaker is not necessarily white, but which "continues to position power and lack against each other, while the narrator of that discourse . . . speaks with power but identifies with powerlessness" (p. 14). The implications of a white -guilt discourse are multiple. In both pedagogy and research, deploying this discourse reduces the complexity of subject positioning to a dichotomous framework. The implications also include simplifying understandings of how power works. Walkerdine (1990) makes these points when she argues that it is necessary to understand "Individuals not as occupants of fixed, institutionally determined positions of power, but as multiplicities of subjectivities . . . [to understand, for example] an individual's position [a]s not uniquely determined by being "woman," "girl" or "teacher." It is important to understand the individual signifiers [girl, woman, teacher] as subjects within any particular discursive practice. We can then understand power not as static, but produced as a constantly shifting relation." (p. 14)

Another implication of the white -guilt discourse that Chow (1993) identifies is that it involves a discursive currency that inverts Robin Hood logic: It takes from those who are less privileged the very terms from which they might be able to develop their own sets of discursive tactics. Those deploying a white -guilt discourse further their privileges and entitlement while "robbing the terms of oppression of their critical and oppositional import, thus depriving the oppressed of even the vocabulary of protest and rightful demand" (p. 13). {Pg. 177}

As a form of oppositional scholarship, CRT is not an abstract set of ideas or rules. However, critical race scholars have identified some defining elements. The first is that racism is a normal, not aberrant or rare, fact of daily life in society, and the assumptions of white superiority are so ingrained in our political and legal structures as to be almost unrecognizable. Racial separation has complex, historic, and socially constructed purposes that ensure the location of political and legal power in groups considered superior to people of color. Racism is also likely permanent, and periods of seeming progress are often followed by periods of resistance and backlash as social forces reassert white dominance (Bell, 1992). In reaction, CRT challenges the experience of whites as the normative standard and grounds its conceptual framework in the distinctive experiences of people of color. This "call to context" insists that the social/experiential context of racial oppression is crucial for understanding racial dynamics.{Pg. 183}

A central tenet of CRT's criticism of liberalism is Bell's theory of "interest convergence"that is, whites will promote advances for blacks only when they also promote white interests. The concept of interest convergence has its roots in the Marxist theory that the bourgeoisie will tolerate advances for the proletariat only if these advances benefit the bourgeoisie even more. Class conflict is therefore intractable and progress is possible only through revolution.

The following story illustrates the dynamics of interest convergence. In Bell parable The space traders (1992), he describes an invasion of space aliens that offer to solve the planet's fiscal, environmental, and fuel needs in exchange for all persons of African descent. Although many whites were against it, the majority, like their colonial forebears, were ultimately willing to exchange the lives, liberty, and happiness of Africans for their economic, educational, and social desires. Bell's point is that, historically, white Americans have been willing to sacrifice the well-being of people of color (Africans, indigenes, and others) for their economic self-interests, and that continued subordination of blacks is sustained by economic and legal structures that promote white privilege. {Pg. 185}

In analyzing the principles of neutrality and choice as applied to desegregation litigation, points out that the court's fallacious assumption is that blacks and whites occupy equal positions in society. Then, by a process termed "disaggregation," the court disengages the case from its historic context, removes (or ignores) the voice of people negatively affected by racism, and refuses to acknowledge the deeply held beliefs of black inferiority and white superiority that drive state resistance to integration. The principle of neutrality dictates that blacks cannot name their reality; the principle of choice justifies further racial inequality and segregation. What in fact happens, however, is that white students have their choices widened to include black colleges, whereas black students continue to face a hostile environment at white colleges. In short, white choice trumps that of blacks. {Pg. 196}

Definitions of "white" interests contain additional problems around assumptions of homogeneity. Anti racist activism among whites is not a new phenomenon; its roots extend deep into American abolitionist history. Although its impact has often been overshadowed by a variety of forces, its relevance has continued to assert itself. Currently a number of whites, including educators, are deconstructing whiteness and critiquing educational institutions from a white perspective. In addition, the psychological, social, and economic impact of whiteness has been advanced by racial identity development theory; and holds considerable promise for promoting cross-racial dialogue. CRT would benefit from white narratives that examine and critique white privilege in its varied forms. White opposition to racial oppression could serve as a valuable strategy for challenging other whites to actively oppose racism.{Pg. 200}

Some may perceive the prevailing stereotype of Asian Americans as the model minority as a positive, novel image when compared with the Yellow Peril image; however, as historian Gary Okihiro (1994) demonstrates, the concepts of the Yellow Peril and the model minority "form a seamless continuum. While the yellow peril threatens white supremacy, it also bolsters and gives coherence to a problematic construction: the idea of a unitary white identity. Similarly, the model minority fortifies white dominance, or the status quo, but it also poses a challenge to the relationship of majority over minority. . . . It seems to me that the yellow peril and the model minority are not poles, denoting opposite representations along a single line, but in fact form a circular relationship that moves in either direction. We might see them as engendered images: the yellow peril denoting a masculine threat of military and sexual conquest, and the model minority symbolizing a feminized position of passivity and malleability. Moving in one direction along the circle, the model minority mitigates the alleged danger of the yellow peril, whereas reversing direction, the model minority, if taken too far, can become the yellow peril. In either swing along the arc, white supremacy is maintained and justified through feminization in one direction and repression in the other." (pp. 141-142) {Pg. 217}

Increasing reliance on special ability programs raises the specter of another form of segregation in America's public elementary and secondary schools, namely tracking. Research reveals that white students are admitted to accelerated schools and programs, whereas African Americans and Latinos are relegated to inferior schools and low tracks. Such tracking internalizes the bias and stigma of segregation, nullifying the benefits of intraschool desegregation. {Pg. 231}

My hope is that other education scholars interested in CRT will continue the examination of merit and individualism as these concepts relate to race and education. Merit is a very context-specific term. For example, the National Merit Scholarship program is not really national. Each year about 50,000 students are selected on the basis of PSAT scores to be semifinalists for this prestigious award. Ironically, this list is not identical to the list of the 50,000 highest scoring students nationwide. Instead, states are given a specific number of slots for semifinalists in proportion to the number of graduating seniors in each state in the previous year. If students were selected on the sole basis of merit (in this case, test scores), many states would not fill their "quota" of semifinalist slots. In fact, data from the NAEP, the SAT, and other indicators of state-level achievement suggest that some states would have few, if any, awardees in an open competition using test scores (NEGP, 1995). The National Merit Scholarship program is actually a state-level competition. I submit that this program is a form of geographic affirmative action. Further, it is biased, given that high school graduation rates are strongly associated with parental education. However, not many people are opposed to this program. I would imagine supporters saying, "It gives everyone a chance to compete." I concur with this argument. Yet why is this form of affirmative action more acceptable to mainstream white America? Of course, it is veiled in the discourse of merit. Moreover, affluent white Americans rarely oppose programs that operate in their self-interest (see Taylor, this volume). These two fundamentalist practices are cornerstone targets for the critical race critique. {Pg. 259}

A second criterion should guide those who contend their work is a part of critical race theory: The scholarship should build on and expand beyond the scholarship found in the critical race legal literature. Delgado offered a strong rationale for this criterion. In his article "The imperial scholar: Reflections on a review of civil rights literature," Delgado (1984) showed that an inner circle of 26 legal scholars, all male and white, occupied the key venues of civil rights scholarship to the exclusion of scholars of color. He noted that when a member of this inner circle wrote about civil rights issues, he generally referenced other members of the inner circle for support while ignoring the scholarship of people of color in the field. It would be hard to imagine why anyone would want to replicate this kind of behavior. Those scholars in education who are interested in fashioning a theory of race and education that is informed by CRT should make it clear how they are using the theory and methods of this movement and describe the limitations that are pushing them beyond it toward the goal of true social justice.{Pg. 268}


Publication Information: Book Title: Words That Wound: Critical Race Theory, Assaultive Speech, and the First Amendment. Contributors: Kimberl Williams Crenshaw - author, Richard Delgado - author, Charles R. Lawrence - author, Mari J. Matsuda - author. Publisher: Westview Press. Place of Publication: Boulder, CO. Publication Year: 1993. Page Number: v.

The answers to these questions begin with our identities. We are two African Americans, a Chicano, and an Asian American. We are two women and two men. We are outsider law teachers who work at the margins of institutions dominated by white men.{Pg. 2}

Stripped of its context this is a seductive argument. The privilege and power of white male elites is wrapped in the rhetoric of politically unpopular speech. Those with the power to exclude new voices from the official canon become an oppressed minority. Academic freedom to express one's beliefs is decontextualized from the speaker's power to impose those beliefs on others. The isolated Black, Brown, or Asian faculty member, the small group of students who risk future careers in raising their voices against racism, are cast as powerful censors.

The first amendment arms conscious and unconscious racistsNazis and liberals alikewith a constitutional right to be racist. Racism is just another idea deserving of constitutional protection like all ideas. The first amendment is employed to trump or nullify the only substantive meaning of the equal protection clause, that the Constitution mandates the disestablishment of the ideology of racism.{Pg. 15}

Lower- and middle-class white men might use violence against people of color, whereas upper-class whites might resort to private clubs or righteous indignation against "diversity" and "reverse discrimination." Institutionsgovernment bodies, schools, corporationsalso perpetuate racism through a variety of overt and covert means.{Pg. 23}

Expressions of hatred, revulsion, and anger directed against members of historically dominant groups by subordinated-group members are not criminalized by the definition of racist hate messages used here. Malcolm X's "white devil" statementswhich he later retractedare an example. Some would find this troublesome, arguing that any attack on any person's ethnicity is harmful. In the case of the white devil, there is harm and hurt, but it is of a different degree. Because the attack is not tied to the perpetuation of racist vertical relationships, it is not the paradigm worst example of hate propaganda. The dominant-group member hurt by conflict with the angry nationalist is more likely to have access to a safe harbor of exclusive dominant-group interactions. Retreat and reaffirmation of personhood are more easily attained for members of groups not historically subjugated.{Pg. 38}

What of hateful racist and anti-Semitic speech by people within subordinated communities? The phenomenon of one subordinated group inflicting racist speech upon another subordinated group is a persistent and touchy problem. Similarly, members of a subordinated group sometimes direct racist language at their own group. The victim's privilege becomes problematic when it is used by one subordinated person to lash out at another. I argue here for tolerance of hateful speech that comes from an experience of oppression, but when that speech is used to attack a subordinated-group member, using language of persecution and adopting a rhetoric of racial inferiority, I am inclined to prohibit such speech. {Pg. 39}

These same civil libertarians assert that I suggest that all conduct with an expressive component should be treated alikenamely, as unprotected speech. This reading of my position clearly misperceives the central point of my argument. I do not contend that all conduct with an expressive component should be treated as unprotected speech. To the contrary, my suggestion that racist conduct amounts to speech is premised upon a unique characteristic of racismnamely its reliance upon the defamatory message of white supremacy to achieve its injurious purpose. I have not ignored the distinction between the speech and conduct elements of segregation, although, as the constitutional scholar Lawrence Tribe explained, "Any particular course of conduct may be hung almost randomly on the 'speech' peg or the 'conduct' peg as one sees fit." Rather, my analysis turns on that distinction; I ask the question of whether there is a purpose to outlawing segregation that is unrelated to its message and conclude that the answer is no.

If, for example, John W. Davis, counsel for the Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, had been asked during oral argument in Brown to state the board's purpose in educating Black and white children in separate schools, he would have been hard pressed to answer in a way unrelated to the purpose of designating Black children as inferior. If segregation's primary goal is to convey the message of white supremacy, then Brown's declaration that segregation is unconstitutional amounts to a regulation of the message of white supremacy. Properly understood, Brown and its progeny require that the systematic group defamation of segregation be disestablished. Although the exclusion of Black children from white schools and the denial of educational resources and association that accompany exclusion can be characterized as conduct, these particular instances of conduct are concerned primarily with communicating the idea of white supremacy. The non-speech elements are by-products of the main message rather than the message being simply a by-product of unlawful conduct. {Pg. 60}

Another way to understand the inseparability of racist speech and discriminatory conduct is to view individual racist acts as part of a totality. When viewed in this manner, white supremacists' conduct or speech is forbidden by the equal protection clause. The goal of white supremacy is not achieved by individual acts or even by the cumulative acts of a group, but rather it is achieved by the institutionalization of the ideas of white supremacy. The institutionalization of white supremacy within our culture has created conduct on the societal level that is greater than the sum of individual racist acts. The racist acts of millions of individuals are mutually reinforcing and cumulative because the status quo of institutionalized white supremacy remains long after deliberate racist actions subside.

It is difficult to recognize the institutional significance of white supremacy or how it acts to harm, partially because of its ubiquity. We simply do not see most racist conduct because we experience a world in which whites are supreme as simply "the world." Much racist conduct is considered unrelated to race or regarded as neutral because racist conduct maintains the status quo, the status quo of the world as we have known it. Catharine MacKinnon has observed that "To the extent that pornography succeeds in constructing social reality, it becomes invisible as harm." Thus, pornography "is more act-like than thought-like." This truth about gender discrimination is equally true of racism.

Just because one can express the idea or message embodied by a practice such as white supremacy does not necessarily equate that practice with the idea. Slavery was an idea as well as a practice, but the Supreme Court recognized the inseparability of idea and practice in the institution of slavery when it held the enabling clause of the thirteenth amendment clothed Congress with the power to pass "all laws necessary and proper for abolishing all badges and incidents of slavery in the United States." This understanding also informs the regulation of speech/conduct in the public accommodations provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 discussed above. When the racist restaurant or hotel owner puts a Whites Only sign in his window, his sign is more than speech. Putting up the sign is more than an act excluding Black patrons who see the sign. The sign is part of the larger practice of segregation and white supremacy that constructs and maintains a culture in which nonwhites are excluded from full citizenship. The inseparability of the idea and practice of racism is central to Brown's holding that segregation is inherently unconstitutional.

Racism is both 100 percent speech and 100 percent conduct. Discriminatory conduct is not racist unless it also conveys the message of white supremacyunless it is interpreted within the culture to advance the structure and ideology of white supremacy. Likewise, all racist speech constructs the social reality that constrains the liberty of nonwhites because of their race. By limiting the life opportunities of others, this act of constructing meaning also makes racist speech conduct.{Pg. 61}

In striking a balance, we also must think about what we are weighing on the side of speech. Most Blacksunlike many white civil libertariansdo not have faith in free speech as the most important vehicle for liberation. The first amendment coexisted with slavery, and we still are not sure it will protect us to the same extent that it protects whites.{Pg. 76}

Just as the defect of prejudice blinds white voters to interests that overlap with those of vilified minorities, it also blinds them to the "truth" of an idea or the efficacy of solutions associated with that vilified group. And just as prejudice causes the governmental decision-makers to misapprehend the costs and benefits of their actions, it also causes all of us to misapprehend the value of ideas in the market.{Pg. 78}

Finally, racist speech decreases the total amount of speech that reaches the market by coercively silencing members of those groups who are its targets. I noted earlier in this chapter the ways in which racist speech is inextricably linked with racist conduct. The primary purpose and effect of the speech/ conduct that constitutes white supremacy is the exclusion of nonwhites from full participation in the body politic.{Pg. 79}

Whenever we decide that racist hate speech must be tolerated because of the importance of tolerating unpopular speech, we ask Blacks and other subordinated groups to bear a burden for the good of societyto pay the price for the societal benefit of creating more room for speech. And we assign this burden to them without seeking their advice or consent. This amounts to white domination, pure and simple.{Pg. 80}


Publication Information: Book Title: Beyond All Reason: The Radical Assault on Truth in American Law. Contributors: Daniel A. Farber - author, Suzanna Sherry - author. Publisher: Oxford University Press. Place of Publication: New York. Publication Year: 1997. Page Number: *.

The story also expresses another theme of Bell's, that even the noblest principles merely conceal white self-interest. His development of this theme, however, reveals its disturbing underside. In the story, there is opposition to the deal, especially among the Jewish leadership. They condemn the trade as genocidal and organize the Anne Frank Committee to oppose it. But, Bell points out, their high-minded proclamation leaves out the true motivation of many Jewsa fear that "in the absence of blacks, Jews could become the scapegoats." The moral: Jews don't really desire black equality; they want to keep blacks around as convenient targets to deflect white gentile anger.{Pg. 4}

As Bell's story illustrates, these radical multiculturalists believe in particular that western ideas and institutions are socially constructed to serve the interests of the powerful, especially straight, white men. This leads them to attack such core concepts as truth, merit, and the rule of law. Catharine MacKinnon, the well-known feminist theorist, says that traditional standards of merit for jobs and school admissions are merely "affirmative action for white males," reflecting what white males value about themselves. This theme has been repeated by a number of other feminists and critical race theorists, who have seemingly been blind to its anti-Semitic implications. Others attack the concepts of reason and objective truth, condemning them as components of white male domination. They prefer the more subjective "ways of knowing" supposedly favored by women and minorities, such as storytelling like Bell's. As to the rule of law, it is an article of faith that legal rules are indeterminate and serve only to disguise the law's white male bias. In short, radical multiculturalism includes a broad-based attack on the Enlightenment foundations of democracy.{Pg. 5}

We are not trying to play the victims' one-upmanship game or ask why some disadvantaged groups have succeeded where others have not. Nor are we accusing the radicals themselves of being personally racist or anti-Semitic. We are simply suggesting that their theorywhich attributes all success to powercannot account for groups that surpass white gentile America without resorting to racism and anti-Semitism.

The radical theories inescapably imply that Jews and Asians enjoy an unfair share of wealth and status. Thus, the necessary normative implication of the radical theory is that steps should be taken to redress the balance more in favor of white gentiles. In addition, the radicals cannot easily explain Jewish and Asian success. Although benign explanations for this success are available, they are logically inconsistent with radical multiculturalism; consequently, the radicals would be forced to explain Jewish and Asian success by deploying theories that parallel historic forms of anti-Semitism. In short, if the radical multiculturalists are not personally anti-Semitic or anti-Asian, it is only because they have failed to work fully through the logic of their own theories. {Pg. 10}

We then turn, in the second part of the book, to a three-pronged critique of radical multiculturalism. First, in our view, the radical attack on merit has implications that should appall the radicals themselves as well as others. If merit is nothing but a mask for white male privilege, then it becomes difficult to defend the fact that Jews and Asians are quite disproportionately successful. If their success cannot be justified as fairly earned, it can only be attributed to a heightened degree of entanglement with white male privilege. In short, we believe that radical multiculturalism implies that Jews and Asian Americans are unjustly favored in the distribution of social goods. These anti-Semitic and racist implications of radical multiculturalism are unavoidable, and lead us to condemn radical multiculturalism itself as unacceptable.{Pg. 11}

In combination, these factors encourage a somewhat paranoid style of thought, which sees the covert influence of white male power behind every text, event, or institution, and which interprets any criticism or disagreement as a political power play. Finally, although we believe that radical multiculturalism is itself a dead end, we believe that progressive legal scholars have other valuable insights, and in the "Conclusion" we discuss the prospects for constructive dialogue between them and mainstream scholars.{Pg. 12}

The beneficiaries of this covert oppression are usually described as straight white males, or, more pompously, as "the white male establishment." Everyone else is either a victim, a collaborator, or an unwitting dupe.{Pg. 24}

The claim is that some people can know things that others readily cannot. Yale law professor Stephen Carter describes, and criticizes, the radical view: radical multiculturalism "proposes . . . that writers who are white and writers who are not are at opposite ends of an unbridgeable chasm, that their experiences of reality diverge so sharply that beyond a certain, limited point, a shared understanding is virtually impossible." Or, as Delgado puts it, when it comes to certain kinds of knowledge, "minority status constitutes virtually a presumption of expertise."{Pg. 30}

Similarly, other radicals argue that current standards are a "gate built by a white-male hegemony that requires a password in the white man's voice for passage," and that "cultural bias sets standards for performance in terms of the tendencies, skills, or attributes of white America."{Pg. 32}

There is no doubt that Jews and Asians, considered as groups, have achieved extraordinary success in our society, on average outperforming white-gentiles on many measures of success. Income information is difficult to obtain, especially for Jews, who are not considered as a separate group for census purposes. Nevertheless, available figures show that both Jews and Asian Americans earn significantly more on average than white-gentiles. In 1970, average Jewish family income was 172 percent of the average American income, average Japanese American family income was 132 percent, and average Chinese American family income was 112 percent. By 1980, American-born Chinese Americans were earning 150 percent of the non-Hispanic white-average, with Japanese and Korean American families not far behind. As of that year, unemployment rates for Chinese, Japanese, and Korean Americans were also about half those of the general population, and poverty rates run significantly lower for many Asian American groups. Jews, too, continue to enjoy economic success. In 1982, 23 percent of the wealthiest 400 Americans, and 40 percent of the wealthiest 40, were Jewish, although Jews account for less than three percent of the American population.{Pg. 57}

Another benign reading is that the congruence between the standards  imposed by the dominant majority and the values innocently adopted by Jews and Asian Americans is simply happenstance. Again, this reading does not rescue the radical multiculturalists. Either white gentiles impose standards of merit to solidify their own power, or they do not. (The possibility that elites actually gain by allowing other groups to succeed is addressed later.) If the elite do construct the standards for their own benefit, then white gentiles might allow Jews and Asians to succeed , but they would not allow them to surpass . A "gate built by a white male hegemony" is not likely to open wider for Jews and Asians than for members of the dominant culture. If, as critical race theorist Patricia Williams suggests, merit can be structured either to "like" or to "dislike" any particular group, one wonders how it came to be structured to prefer Jews and Asians to white gentiles and why those in powerthemselves white and gentile-allowed it to remain so structured. Even if standards of merit are not infinitely malleable, it should be possible for a determined white gentile elite to mold the standards enough to prevent excessive Jewish or Asian success.{Pg. 60}

In different ways, all of these stories cast doubt on the idea of merit in law school hiring. Bell's story suggests that, at best, merit takes second place to white supremacy in hiring.{Pg. 77}

Although not all radical multiculturalists go this far, many do reject conventional methods of reasoning as incurably white male. Scholars in a variety of disciplines, including law, have suggested that women have a different way of understanding the world from that of men. For example, Lucinda Finley argues that law and legal reasoning reflect a male voice by emphasizing "rationality, abstraction, a preference for statistical and empirical proofs over experiential or anecdotal evidence," and "universal and objective thinking."{Pg. 87}

For example, when a white-woman at a CLS summer retreat referred to an Inuit woman's story as an example to defend the use of personal experiences, the original storyteller protested: "Did that woman intend to appropriate my pain for her own use, stealing my very existence, as so many other White, well-meaning, middle and upper class feminists have done?"

The rhetoric of their responses, however, does not bode well for further dialogue. Jerome Culp reacted by psychoanalyzing Coughlin and other storytelling critics, accusing them of having passed through denial into anger, as one of the standard stages of griefhere, he says, grief over the demise of white hegemony. Their views can be discounted, apparently, as merely one stage in some twelve-step program of recovery from their virulent racism.{Pg. 89}

While a general review of the historians' confrontation with social constructionist ideas is beyond the scope of this book, one response is particularly intriguing. Hayden White is one of the most prominent of the anti-objectivists. In a 1982 article, he bluntly cautioned his fellow historians against objectivity: "One must face the fact that when it comes to apprehending the historical record, there are no grounds to be found in the historical record itself for preferring one way of construing its meaning over another."{Pg. 108}

Radical multiculturalism is also coherent in another way, because it relies consistently on metaphors of concealment and disguise. For the radical multiculturalist, what appears civilized and normal is at heart violent, self-serving, and oppressive. The indeterminacy thesis says that what passes for principled legal reasoning is nothing but a thin veil, hiding the real bases for judicial decisions. Merit, we learn, isn't objective; it's just an affirmative action program designed by white-males to favor themselves. And truth is the story told by the victors.{Pg. 123}

Everywhere, behind the mask of health are the sicknesses of racism and sexism, which must be rooted out. This passion to penetrate the mask of innocence structures radical multiculturalist discourse, which easily descends into a hunt for hidden signs of racism and sexism even among the most avowedly radical, who must always fear the presence of hidden pockets of the disease. And so we find people carefully compiling lists of all the times in the day when being white works to their benefit, lest they commit the sin of unknowing complicity in racism.{Pg. 124}

Examples of this response are not hard to find. Several are given in earlier chapters, such as Derrick Bell's assertion that critiques of critical race theory should not be dignified with a response and Jerome Culp's view that criticisms of storytelling are merely the anger stage in the process of grieving for the death of white supremacy.{Pg. 134}

But the problem is broader still. In the radical multiculturalist scheme of things, anyone who succeeds is suspect, regardless of group membership. White male success is, of course, understandable. As Harlon Dalton, a critical race theorist at Yale, puts it, the term white male means "more than simply pigment and chromosomal structure." It invokes "the social meaning that attaches to being part of the master race, and that flows from being one of those for whose benefit patriarchy exists and the memory of the goddess has been expunged." It goes without saying that success by white males is merely a result of "white privilege" rather than something fairly earned.{Pg. 139}


Publication Information: Book Title: Failed Revolutions: Social Reform and the Limits of Legal Imagination. Contributors: Richard Delgado - author, Jean Stefancic - author. Publisher: Westview Press. Place of Publication: Boulder, CO. Publication Year: 1994. Page Number: v.

A white apartment owner will probably not deny a superbly qualified black applicant an apartment if a friend or observer is present. As a result of its covert nature, many persons of the majority race, even those of good will, consistently underestimate the extent of racism in society.{Pg. 17}

What can be done? One possibility we must take seriously is that nothing can be donethat race and perhaps sex-based subjugation is so deeply embedded in our society, so useful for the powerful, that nothing can dislodge it. No less gallant a warrior than Derrick Bell has recently expounded his view of "racial realism": Things will never get better; powerful forces maintain the current system of white-over-black supremacy.{Pg. 20}

Some explain that race-remedies law serves a homeostatic function, assuring that racial progress occurs at just the right slow pace. Too-rapid change would be terrifying for the white majority; too-slow change could prove destabilizing.{Pg. 56}


Publication Information: Book Title: Legal Theory at the End of the Millennium. Contributors: M. D. A. Freeman - editor. Publisher: Oxford University Press. Place of Publication: London. Publication Year: 1998. Page Number: iii.

In 1982-3, students at Harvard Law School protested that school's invitation to Jack Greenberg and Julius Chambers, distinguished civil rights practitioners, the first white, the second black, to co-teach a course entitled 'Race, Racism, and American Law', until then taught by Derrick Bell, who left Harvard to become dean at the University of Oregon School of Law in Eugene, Oregon. Disappointed that the course was to be taught by a white teachereven one with such a distinguished record as that of Jack Greenberg, long-time litigator with the NAACP defence fund and chief architect of Brown v. Board of Education students of colour boycotted the class, which turned out to have an all-white enrolment.{Pg. 469}

Interest convergence, attributed to Bell and foreshadowed by Charles Beard, is the view that civil rights gains respond, not so much to black needs as white self-interest. In an article entitled ' Brown v. Board of Education and the Interest Convergence Dilemma', Bell invited his readers to consider why that landmark decision came when it did.{Pg. 471}

Critical race theorists, notably Derrick Bell, Patricia Williams, and Richard Delgado, pioneered legal storytelling, both as a means to tell one's own storyfor example, of discrimination at the hands of a New York boutiquebut also to question, mock, and displace comforting majoritarian tales and myths, such as that black fortunes are improving, white racism is aberrant (rather than ordinary and usualthe normal state of affairs), or that discrimination does not count unless proved to be intentional.{Pg. 475}

As mentioned earlier, groups of people do, indeed, look somewhat different from each other. But geneticists tell us that blacks and whites have more genes in common than the ones that distinguish them and that the difference between the average white and the average black in genetic makeup and physical appearance is less than the variability within each of those groups. Many Americans would not believe that assertion. Why not? Because, according to the social constructionist theory of race, our culture and history are written and designed to assign various groups different places on the ladder of race and racial categories, with whites holding fast to the upper rung. White folks have a race tooalthough they are not accustomed to thinking of themselves in that way. Colleges are beginning to offer courses in critical white studies examining the history of whites in America, as well as white privilege and white power.{Pg. 481}

Storytelling, as deployed by Critical Race Theorists, tries to recapture those excluded perspectives. It sets out to destroy unconsciously-accepted mindset and presuppositions in order to show the contingent, self-serving nature of much legal doctrine, even in the area of civil rights, and to show that better possibilities exist for our life together than the ones we accept and experience now. Re-examination of whiteness plays a vital part in reviewing the ways we understand the relation of groups to each other. As Walter Benjamin, sixty years ago, challenged the myth of freedom, so do critical scholars today question history's myth of white superiority. They have shown, for example, that the great southern and European exodus of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries brought to the United States people whose primary concern was not whether or not they were white, but, rather, whether or not they might have enough food and the wherewithal to purchase it.{Pg. 484}


Publication Information: Book Title: Knowledge and Power in the Global Economy: Politics and the Rhetoric of School Reform. Contributors: David A. Gabbard - editor. Publisher: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Place of Publication: Mahwah, NJ. Publication Year: 2000. Page Number: iii.

There is strong evidence that a people's level of economic development rises and falls with its level of educational achievement. However, the desirability of promoting these values is seldom explored. How do we define learning for "productive citizenship?" "Productive citizenship" for whom? Whose needs are being met? These are political issues, issues that emphasize why discussions of learning cannot ignore politics or issues related to race, class, and gender. Discussions that ignore these issues are meaningless. And thus, I might add, most contemporary discussions of learning are meaningless. They ignore the most difficult issues, issues that can only be addressed by a serious consideration of the morals and values of a country in which White middle-class children thrive, and poor children of color see their futures compromised and marginalized by people with power and status but little inclination to challenge the status quo by asking hard questions with hard answers. The most important questions, of course, are what are the real reasons that some children do not learn, and what can we do about it?{Pg. 82}

The two dominant educational ideologies in contemporary American society are the global-capitalist neoliberal interpellation of the human organism as a "human resource" and the cultural conservative interpellation of the human organism as member in good standing of Western civilization, Christian America, or White Christian America, depending on how the exclusive community is defined.{Pg. 98}

Within large urban districts, particularly those characterized by impoverished, struggling schools and large, ethnically diverse populations, gifted programs (including gifted magnet programs) have served and have sometimes been promoted) as a way of stemming White flight; by providing segregated gifted programming, some White parents whose children are in a gifted program will remain within the district and the tax assessment area.{Pg. 125}

Semmes (1992) also observes that "the label 'segregation' is incorrectly applied to any group-focused effort by African Americans ... to rectify the past and current effects of White supremacist oppression and structured inequality" (p. 105). Because apparent social and political "progress," like affirmative action, encourages the belief that focusing on race, or "race-thinking" is obsolete, "paranoia about the threat of perceived essentialism" among theorists contributes to this evasion (Fuss, 1989, p. 1). Unexamined and untheorized, such notions of supposed "progress" prioritize a social ethic of integration that permits no understanding of the culture-systemic character and mode of functioning of "Race" as ideology. Since the invention of race and the mythology of White superiority that condoned four centuries of enslavement, people of African descent continue to experience racial oppression in genocidal proportions. Furthermore, America's urban gang wars, and Africa's so-called "tribal wars," such as those slave hunters fomented in earlier times, are rooted in the mythology and structures of White supremacy.{Pg. 143}

Variations of such impersonation and cultural appropriation have continuedfrom Jewish jazz singer Al Jolson in the 1920s, Elvis Presley in the 1950s, to today's White rappers and "wiggers""White kids" in the suburbs "with Black attitude" (Rogers, 1994) who are the major consumers of hip-hop music. Part of the problem is that education does not prepare teachers or students to perceive the hegemonic interests involved in the appropriation of Black cultural formsor the marginalization and invisibilization of Black people's historical contributions that have been absolutely essential to development of U.S. society.{Pg. 145}

Not only do studentsWhite, Black, Hispanic, or Asianfrom different economic classes have different cultural backgrounds, but they are perceived by dominant institutions such as schools in different ways. That is, the knowledge, behavior, and language patterns of the middle- and upper-middle class child, regardless of ethnicity, tend to be valued by the school, whereas the language and practices of the working-class child tend to be devalued. "Standard English," for example, is a middle- and propertied-class linguistic system into which some of us are born and some of us are not and that the school values at the expense of other linguistic systems.{Pg. 157}

In too many cases, ethnicity is represented biologically, not ideologically. This results from a reward system of moving up the ladder based on acting White (and male), rather than acting out.{Pg. 208}

Many White Americans prefer not to be reminded of the appallingly oppressive and bloody history of racism that has characterized the very fabric of the society. In fact, many, if not most, White Americans would feel extremely uncomfortable if the curriculum in schools incorporated an antiracist pedagogy that asks, Mirror, mirror on the wall, is everyone welcome in the hall?{Pg. 213}

It is the same racist ideology that is forcing President Clinton to join the chorus in calling for an end to affirmative action policies, even though the benefactors of the real affirmative action since the birth of this country have been White males who continue to dominate all sectors of institutional and economic life in this society.{Pg. 218}

The separation of the individual from the group collective consciousness is part of the dominant White ideology's mechanism to fragment the reality so as to make it easier for individuals to accept living within a lie that proposes a raceless and color-blind society.{Pg. 219}

Further, when we examine who participates in adult and continuing education activities and why, we then begin to understand that although large numbers of adults do engage regularly in adult and continuing education, that participation reflects a strong White, middle-class bias, markedly skewed toward those who are already better educated than most. Today's typical participant in adult and continuing education programs is likely to be White, between the ages of 28 and 40, with above average income, working full time at a white-collar job; currently there are only slightly more women participating than men.{Pg. 336}

Drawing on her own experiences as a schoolgirl in the apartheid South and the works of critical theorists and activists such as Giroux, Freire, Booker T. Washington, and Martin Luther King, hooks maintained that "white supremacy, imperialism, sexism, and racism have so distorted education that it is no longer about the practice of freedom" (p. 29). One restorative approach that hooks suggested is the building of a teaching community through dialogue and border crossing, enabling us to understand and then appreciate the differences among us.{Pg. 339}

Critical educators need to consider how racism in its present incarnations developed out of the dominant mode of global production during the 17th and 18th centuries of colonial plantations in the "New World." They, along with multicultural educators, also need to better understand and more forcefully address the process by which the immigrant working class has been historically divided along racial lines. How, for instance, does racism give White workers a particular identity that unites them with White capitalists (Callinios, 1992)?{Pg. 349}

What was apparently incomprehensible to the voters and letter writers was the depth of the rage of the protesters, including me. How dare these Europeans now residing on the American continent attempt to restrict the movements of the descendants of the native peoples? Have they forgotten that just over 150 years ago, the United States, in the name of White supremacist dogma they call "Manifest Destiny," invaded and occupied the northern half of Mexico, an action not unlike the event that brought the wrath of the United States on the population of Iraq? Have they forgotten the Alamo? Do they not notice the Indian faces of those they are naming illegal aliens? Can they actually believe that "we" have completely forgotten the past?{Pg. 355}

Fourth, CRT scholars argue that Whites have been the primary beneficiaries of civil rights legislation. Although under attack throughout the nation, affirmative action has benefitted Whites. The major recipients of affirmative action hiring policies have been White women. One might argue that the majority of these White women have incomes that support households in which other Whites livemen, women, and children.{Pg. 364}

But, these scholars are united by two common interests-to understand how a "regime of white supremacy and its subordination of people of color have been created and maintained in America" (p. xiii) and to break the bond that continues to exist between law and racial power.The use of "voice" or "naming your reality" is a way that CRT links form and substance in scholarship.{Pg. 365}

One does not need to look too deeply to realize that institutions, and in this case schooling, do not address diversity and difference but rather allow for discrepancies based on gender as well as on race identity, class location, ethnicity, and other forms of difference to continue. As we know, traditional educational theory, even defined in terms of a gender equitable one, does not promote the multiple spaces for all children to learn. Instead, it adheres to a dominant conception of schooling that supports a White, middle-class definition of knowledge. Children need to assimilate to be successful in this game by denying their own cultural identity. In this sense, schooling is not connected to the larger multicultural society.{Pg. 370}

A critical feminist perspective, which incorporates multiple ways of knowing and understanding based on difference, can transform teaching and especially the interaction of knowledge, agency, and cultural identity that have been male biased and prescribed by White, middle-class values.{Pg. 371}


Publication Information: Book Title: The Politics of Law: A Progressive Critique. Contributors: David Kairys - editor. Publisher: Basic Books. Place of Publication: New York. Publication Year: 1998. Page Number: iii.

The initial classroom experience sustains rather than dissipates ambivalence. The teachers are overwhelmingly white, male, and deadeningly straight and middle class in manner. The classroom is hierarchical with a vengeance, the teacher receiving a degree of deference and arousing fears that remind one of high school rather than college. The sense of autonomy one has in a lecture, with the rule that you must let teacher drone on without interruption balanced by the rule that teacher can't do anything to you, is gone. In its place is a demand for a pseudoparticipation in which one struggles desperately, in front of a large audience, to read a mind determined to elude you. It is almost never anything as bad as The Paper Chase or One-L, but it is still humiliating to be frightened and unsure of oneself, especially when what renders one unsure is a classroom arrangement that suggests at once the patriarchal family and a Kafkalike riddle state. The law school classroom at the beginning of the first year is culturally reactionary.{Pg. 56}

Particularly where hard resources are involved, it is alarmingly easy to see that winner-take-all civil rights contests can take shape. Affirmative action programs are rife with such contests, which pit one recognized civil rights constituency against another. For instance, in minority business enterprise programs, blacks and Latinos have had ample opportunity to observe white women speed ahead of them in contests for finite resources.{Pg. 131}

Apart from what this example reveals about the sexual psychopathology of white racism in American history, it graphically demonstrates the working of law in a racist society. The nexus between law and racism cannot be much more direct than this.{Pg. 279}

From the perspective of what has become the dominant voice in antidiscrimination law as articulated by the Supreme Court, the cases are also easy ones. If the test claims to measure verbal ability, then it probably does and that's a good thing; the mere fact of racially disproportionate failure rate means nothing without evidence that someone employs it purposely to exclude blacks. The street closing is just a neutral traffic control decision, unless you can prove that the white people did it to keep black people out, instead of just doing it to keep people out, most of whom happen to be black.{Pg. 287}

Central to liberal attitude and hope, then, was what may be the single most important myth that rationalizes American social, cultural, and economic realityformal individualistic "equality of opportunity." It was the abiding faith of folks as disparate as John Locke, Abraham Lincoln, Hubert Humphrey, and Richard Nixon. It serves not only to rationalize but to celebrate inequality, while compelling those who fail to "make it" to internalize a despairing lack of self-worth. It facilitates our callous indifference to the reality of adult inequality by loading the burden of advancement onto our children, mediated by a system of education that systematically denies the extent to which the odds of success are overwhelmingly stacked against those who start at the bottomwhite or black. {Pg. 307}

The Fifth Circuit's decision adopts what Alan Freeman has called the perpetrator perspective." By acting as if there has been no racism in the past, or as if past racism is in no way connected to current White privilege, the law defines racism out of existence. Slavery, segregation, genocide of native populations, and wartime incarceration of Japanese American citizens are all distant memories, unfortunate blemishes on an otherwise glorious history. If there was a time when some significant number of us were bigots, the argument goes, that time is long past, and none of us is responsible for crimes committed before we were born. Certainly, a small number of practicing racists remain, but they are social outlaws in a society committed to racial equality, outlaws subject to strong antidiscrimination laws as well as social sanction.{Pg. 314}

But racism is an injury to a group. White supremacy defines Blacks and other non-White races as inferior as a group. Individual Blacks are discriminated against because of their membership in the group and the entire group is injured by the system of beliefs and practices that defines and treats them as inferior. By limiting constitutional rights to individuals, the Supreme Court simply acts as if there is no such thing as a group injury and denies the only kind of remedy that responds to the way in which racism operates. No group injury means no group remedy.{Pg. 318}

There is another way to think about promoting equality and human dignity that does not ignore our country's racism, sometimes called substantive equality. Consider the constitutional command of equal protection as one requiring the elimination of society's racism rather than mandating equal protection as an individual right. Such a substantive approach assumes that ridding society of racial subordination is indispensable and a prerequisite to individual dignity and equality. It understands that White supremacy hurts us all.{Pg. 319}

But of course everyone is not equal before the law. While the legitimacy of our criminal justice system is explicitly premised on the ideal of that equality, it is a myth. At every stage of the criminal justice system, from encounters with police officers on the beat to the appointment of lawyers for the poor to selecting jurors and enacting criminal laws, members of minority groups and the poor receive harsher treatment than white people of means.{Pg. 410}

Throughout most of the country, criminal juries historically have been and remain disproportionately white, and despite impressive proclamations, the Supreme Court has done all too little to countermand that fact. And we are only able to maintain our ranking as first in per-capita incarceration among developed countries because the incarcerated are themselves disproportionately members of minority groups and poor. If the white per-capita incarceration rate were seven times the black rate, we would not so easily accept a "lock 'em up and throw away the key" approach to criminal justice. We are able to tolerate that policy only because the majority does not have to pay its price.{Pg. 413}

Through both of these themes, the right played to the ongoing racism in our society. The timing of their attack on welfare coincided with the evolution of the welfare entitlement concept, which was in part responsible for finally opening the welfare rolls to African Americans and other people of color. As the right consciously focused on the "white backlash," particularly in the South, exploiting the racial tensions of the 1960s to advance their political agenda, AFDCalong with street crime, nondiscriminatory housing, deteriorating neighborhoods, declining property values, school busing, and affirmative actionbecame a code word for race.{Pg. 583}

The strategic strand of the legal storytelling movement proposed to use the accessibility of the story form in the service of arguments that might otherwise seem improbable or unintelligible. Points that others might not be prepared to hearbecause those points may seem bizarre or incrediblemight be rendered intelligible if transmitted through a story; the familiar format in effect renders the unfamiliar message easier to hear. So, for example, a white person unconvinced by an African American's statement about unconscious discrimination might understand the point differently if it were embedded in a story whose context, details, and plot could make the discrimination nearly undeniable. The strategic strand of the Law and Narrative movement thus offers storytelling as a particularly powerful communicative tool to be employed in the service of persuasion.{Pg. 669}


Publication Information: Book Title: The Appearance of Equality: Racial Gerrymandering, Redistricting, and the Supreme Court. Contributors: Christopher M. Burke - author. Publisher: Greenwood Press. Place of Publication: Westport, CT. Publication Year: 1999. Page Number: 45.

"My being, say, an African-American among other things, shapes the authentic self that I seek to express." The tension of collective oppositions such as white and black informs claims to recognition and authenticity. After all, the recognition of black identity is, in part, facilitated by "white society." American society and institutions centrally shape African-American identity; it cannot be seen as constructed solely within African-American communities. The term "African-American identity" defines a group. This group may voice claims under the Voting Rights Act (VRA), which in turn is used as a means to air communal grievances.{Pg. 45}

By asserting solidarity and speaking in the heretofore silenced "voice," the group establishes itself vis--vis the majority on its own terms. The minority group asserts the power to create and police orthodoxy. Failure to assert group solidarity reinforces the "ideology of white, European, Western supremacy." Not all voices are heard. Depending upon how one reads society and one's conception of justice, the voices that need to be heard change. One thing is certain with respect to VRA litigation: unless the voice employs recognized legal categories, such as race and language minority membership, it is not heard.{Pg. 46}


Publication Information: Book Title: Law Never Here: A Social History of African American Responses to Issues of Crime and Justice. Contributors: Frankie Y. Bailey - author, Alice P. Green - author. Publisher: Praeger Publishers. Place of Publication: Westport, CT. Publication Year: 1999. Page Number: iii.

We should state here that although we are aware of the importance of examining "black-on-black crime" and its impact on African American communities, that is not the focus of this book. We focus here on how African Americansfinding themselves in a hostile environmenthave responded over several centuries to white social and legal oppression. Rather than look inward at black communities and black crime, we will look outward from those communities as African Americans attempt to deal with the injustices that have a profoundand negativeimpact on their lives.{Pg. xvii}


Publication Information: Book Title: Dissent, Injustice and the Meanings of America. Contributors: Steven H. Shiffrin - author. Publisher: Princeton University Press. Place of Publication: Princeton, NJ. Publication Year: 1999. Page Number: xii.

The Ku Klux Klan would also claim to be dissenters, social outcasts who challenge the foundations of the system. Many who are attracted to a free speech theory accenting the protection of dissent might wish to stop right there. Arguably, however, the Klan says in public what many millions of white individuals think or come close to thinking in private. It may reflect the racist character of the society. Moreover, the Klan arguably silences those who would otherwise be dissenters. So understood, a focus on dissent in this context would not offer clear-cut guidance which perhaps helps to explain why many see the hate speech issue as a difficult problem.{Pg. xii}

No doubt, some, indeed much, racist speech would be deterred, and that is an important result. However, some racist speech will not be wholly deterred but rather transformed into an even more effective yet unprosecutable Willie Hortonlike code speech. Even if all explicit racist vilification were eliminated in American society, racism and much unprosecutable implicitly racist speech would still remain. That speech is not only part of the basic fabric of social life but also quite harmful. Even if a program against the speech of racial vilification were entirely successful, then, only the tip of the iceberg would have been liquidated. Moreover, it is important to recognize that much explicit racist speech will not be deterred. Of particular concern in this connection is public racist speech. Self-styled patriots who think that racist speech sanctions violate the very meaning of America would be induced to defy the regulations; they would act on the belief that whiteness is part of the core of America, and that the First Amendment necessarily protects expressions of white superiority.{Pg. 81}

Millions of white Americans already resent people of color to some degree. To fuse that resentment with Americans' love for the First Amendment is risky business.{Pg. 83}


Publication Information: Book Title: Faces at the Bottom of the Well: The Permanence of Racism. Contributors: Derrick Bell - author. Publisher: Basic Books. Place of Publication: New York. Publication Year: 1992. Page Number: iii.

Since then, I have thought a lot about Mrs. MacDonald and those other courageous black folk in Leake County, Mississippi, particularly Dovie and Winson Hudson. Remembering again that long-ago conversation, I realized that Mrs. MacDonald didn't say she risked everything because she hoped or expected to win out over the whites who, as she well knew, held all the economic and political power, and the guns as well. Rather, she recognized thatpowerless as she wasshe had and intended to use courage and determination as a weapon to, in her words, "harass white folks."{Pg. xii}

Even so, under pressure of civil rights protests, many white Americans were ready to accede to if not applaud Supreme Court rulings that the Constitution should no longer recognize and validate laws that kept in place the odious badges of slavery.{Pg. 2}

Few whites are able to identify with blacks as a groupthe essential prerequisite for feeling empathy with, rather than aversion from, blacks' self-inflicted suffering, as expressed by the poet Maya Angelou in this introduction's epigraph. Unable or unwilling to perceive that "there but for the grace of God, go I," few whites are ready to actively promote civil rights for blacks. Because of an irrational but easily roused fear that any social reform will unjustly benefit blacks, whites fail to support the programs this country desperately needs to address the ever-widening gap between the rich and the poor, both black and white.{Pg. 4}

For white people who both deny racism and see a heavy dose of the Horatio Alger myth as the answer to blacks' problems, how sweet it must be when a black person stands in a public place and condemns as slothful and unambitious those blacks who are not making it. Whites eagerly embrace black conservatives' homilies to self-help, however grossly unrealistic such messages are in an economy where millions, white as well as black, are unemployed and, more important, in one where racial discrimination in the workplace is as vicious (if less obvious) than it was when employers posted signs "no negras need apply."{Pg. 5}

The critically important stabilizing role that blacks play in this society constitutes a major barrier in the way of achieving racial equality. Throughout history, politicians have used blacks as scapegoats for failed economic or political policies. Before the Civil War, rich slave owners persuaded the white working class to stand with them against the danger of slave revoltseven though the existence of slavery condemned white workers to a life of economic privation. After the Civil War, poor whites fought social reforms and settled for segregation rather than see formerly enslaved blacks get ahead.{Pg. 8}

the top two million income earners in this country earn more than the next one hundred million. Shocking. And yet conservative white politicians are able to gain and hold even the highest office despite their failure to address seriously any of these issues. They rely instead on the time-tested formula of getting needy whites to identify on the basis of their shared skin color, and suggest with little or no subtlety that white people must stand together against the Willie Hortons, or against racial quotas, or against affirmative action. The code words differ. The message is the same. Whites are rallied on the basis of racial pride and patriotism to accept their often lowly lot in life, and encouraged to vent their frustration by opposing any serious advancement by blacks.{Pg. 9}

We rise and fall less as a result of our efforts than in response to the needs of a white society that condemns all blacks to quasi citizenship as surely as it segregated our parents and enslaved their forebears. The fact is that, despite what we designate as progress wrought through struggle over many generations, we remain what we were in the beginning: a dark and foreign presence, always the designated "other." Tolerated in good times, despised when things go wrong, as a people we are scapegoated and sacrificed as distraction or catalyst for compromise to facilitate resolution of political differences or relieve economic adversity.{Pg. 10}

To initiate the reconsideration, I want to set forth this proposition, which will be easier to reject than refute: Black people will never gain full equality in this country. Even those herculean efforts we hail as successful will produce no more than temporary "peaks of progress," short-lived victories that slide into irrelevance as racial patterns adapt in ways that maintain white dominance. This is a hard-to-accept fact that all history verifies. We must acknowledge it, not as a sign of submission, but as an act of ultimate defiance.{Pg. 12}

The blacks who wanted to emigrate to Afrolantica pointed out that all these earlier advocates of emigration had themselves been driven to take their stand by their experience of slavery or segregation and by their perception that the discrimination, exclusion, and hostility from whites was never going to end. Garvey himself had told blacks that racial prejudice was so much a part of the white civilization that it was futile to appeal to any sense of justice or high-sounding democratic principles.{Pg. 38}

Some conservatives feared Afrolantica could become another Cuba, insulated from American expansionism and, worse, beyond its power. Afrolantica, they warned, could serve as a rallying incentive for other third-world peoples who might conclude that white influence, rather than colored incompetence, was responsible for their poverty and powerlessness.{Pg. 43}

She stopped to take a deep breath, then went on. "Racial segregation was surely hateful, but let me tell you, friend, that if I knew that its return would restore our black communities to what they were before desegregation, I would think such a trade entitled to serious thought. I would not dismiss it self-righteously, as you tell me many black leaders would do. Black people simply cannot afford the luxury of rigidity on racial issues. This story is not intended to urge actual adoption of a racial preference licensing law, but to provoke blacks and their white allies to look beyond traditional civil rights views. We must learn to examine every racial policy, including those that seem most hostile to blacks, and determine whether there is unintended potential African Americans can exploit.{Pg. 60}

"Good." She put down her heavy rifle. "Though it will probably take five minutes for me to tell you about my group. We call ourselves White Citizens for Black Survival, or WCBS. Our program has two prongs. First, the policy phase we call 'racial realism.' Then the activist phase, in which we aim to build a nationwide network of secret shelters to house and feed black people in the event of a black holocaust or some other all-out attack on America's historic scapegoats."{Pg. 93}

She nodded. "We understand it and are determined to avoid in ourselves the oppressors' penalty. We try to understand contemporary racism and the role it plays in American law, because law has always been a powerful expression of ruling interests. We believe that America's race problem is a white problem. We have determined to take personal responsibility for racism. Those of us living in isolated areas are in the process of altering our homes to hide, feed, and otherwise take care of black refugees. All of us undergo rigorous spiritual, moral, and military training. The last because we may have to launch attacks in order to defend blacks in a crisis."{Pg. 94}

To answer both questions, I cited the 1978 Bakke case, where the Supreme Court invalidated the policy of California's medical school of reserving 10 percent of its openings for minorities. The Court relied heavily on the Fourteenth Amendment which the Courtduring its enlightened periodsaid poses serious problems to state laws and policies that make racial classifications. In rigidly applying this rule in a seemingly neutral way to California's 10-percent minority admissions policy, a policy intended to make amends for years of overt discrimination, the Court's majority utterly ignored the fact that the white race had in fact the power and advantages; and that, notwithstanding the Fourteenth Amendment, the black race has for decades been denied entry into California's medical schools.{Pg. 102}

When a black person group makes a statement or takes an action that the white community or vocal components thereof deem "outrageous," the latter will actively recruit blacks willing to refute the statement or condemn the action. Blacks who respond to the call for condemnation will receive super-standing status. Those blacks who refuse to be recruited will be interpreted as endorsing the statements and action and may suffer political or economic reprisals.{Pg. 118}


Publication Information: Book Title: Dismantling White Privilege: Pedagogy, Politics, and Whiteness. Contributors: Nelson M. Rodriguez - editor, Leila E. Villaverde - editor. Publisher: Peter Lang. Place of Publication: New York. Publication Year: 2000. Page Number: iii.

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