By Patricia J. Williams
Patricia Williams is a legal professional and a professor of industrial legislations, the great-great-granddaughter of a slave and a white southern legal professional. The Alchemy of Race and Rights is an eloquent autobiographical essay within which the writer displays at the intersection of race, gender, and sophistication. utilizing the instruments of severe literary and felony idea, she units out her perspectives of up to date pop culture and present occasions, from Howard seashore to homelessness, from Tawana Brawley to the law-school classrom, from civil rights to Oprah Winfrey, from Bernhard Goetz to Marth Beth Whitehead. She additionally lines the workings of "ordinary racism"--everyday occurrences, informal, unintentional, banal maybe, yet mortifying. taking on the metaphor of alchemy, Williams casts the legislation as a mythological textual content within which the powers of trade and the structure, wealth and poverty, sanity and madness, salary battle throughout complicated and overlapping barriers of discourse. In intentionally transgressing such obstacles, she pursues a direction towards racial justice that's, eventually, transformative. Williams will get to the roots of racism now not by way of fingerpointing yet through a lot gentler tools. Her publication is stuffed with anecdote and witness, shiny characters identified and saw, trenchant research of the law's shortcomings. merely by means of such an inquiry and such sufferer phenomenology do we comprehend racism. The e-book is deeply relocating and never so, ultimately, simply because racism is wrong--we all recognize that. What we do not comprehend is how one can unthink the method that enables racism to persist. This Williams permits us to work out. the result's a testomony of substantial attractiveness, a triumph of ethical tactfulness. the outcome, because the name indicates, is magic.
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Additional info for Alchemy of Race and Rights: Diary of a Law Professor
An anonymous caller to the police reported their presence as "black troublemakers"; a patrol car came, found no trouble, and left. After the men had eaten, they left the pizzeria and were immediately surrounded by a group of eight to ten white teenagers who taunted them with racial epithets. The white youths chased the black men a distance of approximately three miles, beating them severely along the way. One of the black men died, struck by a car as he tried to flee across a highway; another suffered permanent blindness in one eye.
Othello is put on trial. The students were to identify the elements of murder. " K. had gone first to the professor and told him she thought the exam racist; the professor denied it, saying it was not he who had dreamed up the facts but Shakespeare. Then K. went to the administrator, who called her an activist but not before he said that she should be more concerned about learning the law and less about the package in which it comes. As I read the exam, I think about this assertion that the exercise is not racist because, after all, it was Shakespeare who made race part of the problem.
I say I'm concerned that he shares a deep misunderstanding of the struggle, a misunderstanding that threatens to turn the quest for empowering experiential narrative into permission for the most blatant expressions of cynical stereotypification. I cite the example of an exam given by another professor at another school, who handed out to his class a detailed and luridly violent wife-battering hypothetical in which a man knocks out his wife's teeth, urinates on the floor and throws their baby down into it, rips her blouse off, calls her a "castrating bitch;' and arranges for a friend to come in and rape her.
Alchemy of Race and Rights: Diary of a Law Professor by Patricia J. Williams