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Race, Racism and American Law, Sixth Edition

  • Derrick A. Bell
Series / Aspen Casebook Series
Teaching Materials

The Sixth Edition of this innovative text written by Derrick Bell continues to provide students with insight into the issues surrounding race in America and an understanding of how the law interprets those issues as well as the factors that directly and indirectly influence the law. The first casebook published specifically for teaching race related law courses, Race, Racism, and American Law is engaging, offering hard-hitting enlightenment, and is an unparalleled teaching tool.

Among the features that have made this text a success with both students and instructors through five editions over 35 years:

  • Clear and readable text along with a participatory approach that encourages discussion of unresolved and perhaps unresolvable racial issues.
  • Interdisciplinary excerpts from historical, sociological, and psychological publications that provide comprehensive coverage of all aspects of the subject and in this edition pose the question of the lawand#8217;s limitations in remedying current racial barriers.
  • Creative hypothetical exercises for possible briefing and argument to the class by student advocates. The presentations promote a learning by teaching experience that enables students to realize the complex nature and consequences of racism in the United States
  • Commentary on the Supreme Court's conception of a andquot;color-blindandquot; society and its adverse effects on school desegregation, voting, employment, and affirmative action
  • Alternatives to integration in achieving the goal of equal educational opportunity.
  • The absence or inadequacy of remedies for racial barriers facing Latino, Asian and Native American citizens.
  • Discussion of Professor Lani Guinier's advocacy of proportional representation over majority-minority districts.
  • The uses of nooses as racial intimidation symbols replacing flaming crosses.
  • Racial priorities in Hurricane Katrinaand#8217;s rescue and recovery policies.
  • The legal ramifications of the disproportionately high percentage of blacks and Hispanics in American prisons
  • Legal and social barriers to blacks and Latinos seeking to challenge employment discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended.
  • The growing acceptance and continued hostility to interracial sex and marriage.
  • The vulnerability of black and Latino buyers to consumer schemes and sub-prime mortgages.
  • The limited value of racial protests during a time of war and national crisis.

Fully updated, the Sixth Edition includes:

  • Increased citation to and discussion of law review articles that offer new and perhaps controversial perspectives, which Professor Bell utilizes to provide divergent views and thus better provoke class discussion and independent student thought
  • Summaries of new Supreme Court cases
  • A new hypothetical problem that deals with using non-racial criteria to create school diversity
  • New sections on the adverse impact of immigration on black employment and the impact of unemployment on prison rates

Race, Racism, and American Law, Sixth Edition, compiled and published initially in 1973 by Derrick Bell, in this latest addition continues its position as an essential tool to any course addressing the reasons why race remains a key to Americaand#8217;s economic, political and social functioning. If you arenand#8217;t already using this text, request an examination copy today.

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About the authors
Derrick Bell
Harvard University New York University

Derrick Bell's contributions as a civil rights advocate, intellectual instigator, scholar, and professor at Harvard University and New York University are immeasurable. His work and presence have been foundational to an entire field of law and legal scholarship, Critical Race Theory. He mentored generations of legal scholars, social justice advocates, and students, inspiring thousands to live out their commitments to fight racial injustice. He taught with his whole self by repeatedly demonstrating his willingness to contest the prevailing status quo. His passing in 2011 came before he could complete the seventh revision of his groundbreaking text, emRace, Racism and American Lawem, first published in 1973. That text was the first of its kind and, like its author, was intellectually demanding, encyclopedic, and innovative. It was also a product of a restless spirit that did not settle for easy answers or self-reassuring platitudes. As a witness to and participant in a pivotal and historic period of the fight for racial justice, Professor Bell, perhaps more than many, understood both the possibility and limits of the law and relentlessly pursued the clear-eyed, unsentimental truth. He had seen that the trajectory of the struggle for racial justice was not a linear upward path but a jagged and sometimes nearly indiscernible road, with switchbacks, cutouts, cul-de-sacs, and only scattered lookouts of soaring vistas. Nevertheless, he insisted that we achieve a sense of direction by constantly testing and contesting ideas.& Professor Bell's story and trajectory—from civil rights practice to theory—introduced a different way of approaching the study and teaching of law. Instead of centering the Supreme Court as the protagonist in the quest for civil and human rights, he centered the social movements that sought to enforce the promises and commitments codified in the country's fundamental law. He put it more eloquently than anyone else could:& The movement for racial justice "was much more than the totality of the judicial decisions, the anti-discrimination laws and the changes in racial relationships reflected in those legal milestones…" His mission was to find "a method of expression adequate to the phenomenon of rights gained, then lost, then gained again." He helped us understand that the movement was not bound by time or existing doctrine. It was instead a commitment to carry the fight across generations, despite its repeated derailment.

Product Information
Sixth Edition
Publication date
Civil Rights / Race and the Law , Race and the Law
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