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May 11, 2012

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SecondYearProf

President Obama. This language was included in the list of "possible group presentation topics" for his Spring '94 "Current Issues in Racism and the Law" course.

Alfred Brophy

SecondYearProf--you are, of course, correct! Nicely done. Might I hazard brief answers to his two questions: no and yes.

Patrick S. O'Donnell

One reason "such proposals [do not] have any realistic chance of working their way through the political system" is that many white Americans believe we're in a post-racial society, that racism simply does not exist, or if it does, it's isolated, fairly innocuous, and in the end inconsequential, etc., etc. And yet, despite the civil rights revolution of the 1960s, Blacks are now "taken advantage of by [de facto] discrimination in employment, education, and housing, by the ways in which the health care system, the criminal justice system, and the banking system skew opportunities and life chances along racial lines." Moreover, a

"large and unrefuted body of research reveals how the economic standing of millions of white families today stems directly from the unfair gains and unjust enrichments made possible by past and present forms of racial discrimination. A wide range of public and private actions protect the assets and advantages that whites have inherited from their ancestors, wealth originally accumulated during eras when direct and overt discrimination in government policies, home sales, mortgage lending, education, and employment systematically channeled assests to whites."

More remains to be said, publicized, discussed, understood...acted upon.

See, for example, George Lipsitz, How Racism Takes Place (Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 2011).

cpm

Elsewhere in the syllabus for his Spring '94 "Current Issues in Racism and the Law" course Obama writes:

"One final note: you'll see that much of the material has been marked up. I apologize for not giving you cleaner copies -- it's a consequence of not having a teaching assistant. (on the other hand, my wife tells me that she wouldn't have minded getting the professor's notations on her reading material when she was in law school." (available: www.nytimes.com/packages/pdf/politics/2008OBAMA_LAW/Obama_CoursePk.pdf )

Exams from his law courses are also to be found on the internet, but does anyone know if the marked-up readings are accessible anywhere?

Alfred Brophy

CPM--I haven't seen the readings packet, only the syllabus on the Times' website. I, too, was interested in his remark about having distributed copies that are marked up.

I blogged some about this back in February 2009:
http://www.thefacultylounge.org/2009/02/the-intellectual-origins-of-obamas-current-issues-in-racism-and-law.html

But I had a particular interest in this statement: "my wife tells me that she wouldn't have minded getting the professor's notations on her reading material when she was in law school."

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