The two articles I've finished so far are Poetic Justice, and Mayteenth, which I read in that order. Both include the following quote by William Van Alstyne:
One gets beyond racism by getting beyond it now: by a complete, resolute, and credible commitment never to tolerate in one's own life--or in the life or practices of one's government--the differential treatment of other human beings by race. [Rites of Passage: Race, the Supreme Court, and the Constitution, 46 U. Chi. L. Rev. 775, 809]
It's a nice, snappy quote. I liked it. I also completely misinterpreted it the first time around. In "Poetic Justice," the quote came in the midst of a discussion of Brown v. Board's (in)famous maxim that desegregation proceed with "all deliberate speed." "All deliberate speed," of course, rapidly became no speed at all, as Southern states used it as an excuse to delay, and delay, and delay. So I read Professor Van Alstyne's quote through my happy Crit worldview: as a critique of incrementalism and a call for radical change. Arguing against those Whites who pushed a "don't rock the boat" mentality, who insisted that race relations will improve on its own, I had Van Alstyne in the role of Martin Luther King, demanding that racism never be tolerated: not now, not tomorrow, not ever.
This is, to be sure, very close to what Professor Van Alstyne is saying: in fact, if you replaced "differential treatment of other human beings by race" with something like "the unforgivable evil of racism and racist ideologies," it might say exactly that (I'd imagine that Van Alstyne would equate the two, but I think they are distinct). But upon re-read in "Mayteenth," I realized (somewhat embarrassingly, as it was quite clear) that what Professor Van Alstyne was actually advocating was not a radical view of race and anti-racism, but classic color-blindness. "Mayteenth" transposed the quote next to Bakke instead of Brown, where the full meaning of the phrase "one gets beyond racism" is found in its implicit rebuke to Justice Blackmun's famous argument in that case: "In order to get beyond racism, we must first take account of race. There is no other way." I'm in the camp of Mr. Justice Blackmun--I am not even convinced that race is something we should get beyond, much less confident that we are prepared to make the jump now.
One of the nice (or not so nice, depending on your perspective) things about great quotes is that they can be used to inspire so many things. I've always took to heart Barry Goldwater's exhortation that "extremism in the pursuit of liberty is no vice, and moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue," although I would have agreed with precious little else Goldwater believed in 1964. Similarly, with Van Alstyne in mind, I can say that One gets beyond racism by getting beyond it now, by resolving to pursue and eradicate racial hierarchy wherever it exists, by refusing to tolerate the structures and institutions which denigrate color and exalt White, and by keeping an ever-vigilant eye and a constant guard against racism in all its many forms and disguises. Most importantly, one gets beyond racism by never allowing oneself to think one has already gotten beyond it.
Perhaps not as poetic--but certainly more in line with my conception of justice.