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About the Book

Race, Racism, and American Law

Front Cover - Race, Racism, and American Law

Sixth Edition

Derrick Bell, New York University

2008. Approx.  830 pages. ISBN: 978-0-7355-7574-5. With Teacherís Manual.

About the Book

The Sixth Edition of this innovative text written by Derrick Bell continues to provide students with insight into the issues surrounding race in America.  Given the crucial political and economic role of race in contemporary American life, a course on the subject should be a required or at least a strongly recommended component in every law schoolís curriculum.  Bellís text provides 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 structure that encourages learning by teaching for both teacher and student.  This participatory approach 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 lawís limitations in remedying current racial barriers.
  • Creative hypothetical exercises for possible briefing and argument to the class by student advocates.  The presentations  promote the text's 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 "color-blind" society and its easily accepted view that racism is a matter of only historical interest, and the adverse effects of this assumption by first the society and then the courts on school desegregation, voting, employment, and affirmative action
  • Alternatives to integration in achieving the goal of effective schooling for minority children. 
  • 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 Katrinaís 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.
  • The abandonment after 9/11 of civil liberties protections for Americans of middle-eastern Arabs and Muslim backgrounds.

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, in this latest addition continues its position as an essential tool to any course addressing the reasons why race remains a key to Americaís economic, political and social functioning. If you arenít already using this text,  request an examination copy today.

Preface / Sample Chapters