Sunday, June 04, 2006

Conversation Between Blacks and "The Law"

I just want to have this excerpt from Alan David Freeman's article "Legitimizing Racial Discrimination Through Antidiscrimination Law: A Critical Review of Supreme Court Doctrine" (62 Minn. L. Rev. 1049 (1978) preserved online for my future perusal. I think it pretty well shows the bewildering array of obstacles the law has put in the path of Black Americans who take seriously that racial discrimination is now illegal.
The Law: "Black Americans rejoice! Racial discrimination has now become illegal."

Black Americans: "Great, we who have no jobs want them. We who have lousy jobs want better ones. We whose kids go to black schools want to chose integrated schools if we think that would be better for our kids, or want enough money to make our own schools work. We want political power roughly proportionate to our population. And many of us want houses in the suburbs."

The Law: "You can't have any of thsoe things. You can't assert your claim against society in general, but only against a named discriminator, and you've got to show that you are an individual victim of that discrimination and that you were intentionally discriminated against. And be sure to demonstrate how that discrimination caused your problem, for any remedy must be coextensive with the violation. Be careful your claim does not impinge on some other cherished American value, like local autonomy of the suburbs, or previously distributed vested rights, or selection on basis of merit. Most important, do not demand any remedy involving racial balance or proportionality; to recognize such claims would be racist." (1049-50)

No comments: