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African American Studies

Download e-book for kindle: And We Are Not Saved: The Elusive Quest For Racial Justice by Derek Bell

By Derek Bell

ISBN-10: 0465003281

ISBN-13: 9780465003280

ISBN-10: 046500329X

ISBN-13: 9780465003297

A uncommon felony student and civil rights activist employs a sequence of dramatic fables and dialogues to probe the rules of America’s racial attitudes and lift traumatic questions about the character of our society.

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Extra resources for And We Are Not Saved: The Elusive Quest For Racial Justice

Sample text

And because participants had been transported to the conference site, I was unable simply to leave, my usual remedy for unproductive discussions. In fact, I was not even sure where we had been meeting for two long days, with one more to go. Sadly, I was sure that the sessions, while interesting, had not fulfilled the high expectations set during the exciting trip to the conference site. At dawn on the day of the Convention, the delegates who represented every point on the civil rights spectrum, had met-as our invitations directed-on Harlem's Lenox Avenue at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, known better as the Schomburg Library and famous for its contributions to black scholarship.

The weapon instantly glowed red hot and burned his hand. At that point, several delegates tried to rush out of the room either to escape or to seek help-but neither doors nor windows would open. "Gentlemen," I repeated, but no one heard me in the turmoil of shouted orders, cries of outrage, and efforts to sound the alarm to those outside. Scanning the room, I saw a swarthy delegate cock his long pistol, aim carefully, and fire directly at me. But the ball hit the shield, ricocheted back into the room, and shattered an inkwell, splattering my intended assassin with red ink.

Even in the face of this enormous obstacle, the commitment of those who seek racial justice remains strong. Tangible progress has been made, and the pull of unfinished business is sufficient to strengthen and spur determination. But the task of equal-justice advocates has not become easier simply because neither slavery's chains, nor the lyncher's rope, nor humiliating Jim Crow signs are any longer the main means of holding black people in a subordinate status. Today, while all manner of civil rights laws and precedents are in place, the protection they provide is diluted by lax enforcement, by the establishment of difficult-to-meet standards of proof, and, worst of all, by the increasing irrelevance of antidiscrimination laws to race-related disadvantages, now as likely to be a result as much of social class as of color.

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