The Rodrigo Chronicles: Conversations about America and Race

Richard Delgado, Author
Richard Delgado, Author New York University Press $65 (275p) ISBN 978-0-8147-1863-6
Reviewed on: 04/03/1995
Release date: 04/01/1995
Borrowing the storytelling style-though with less emphasis on parable-of Derrick Bell's And We Are Not Saved, Delgado, who teaches law at the University of Colorado, offers challenging thoughts on race and law. In nine ``chronicles'' originally published in various law reviews, Delgado posits Rodrigo, an audacious black graduate law student, in dialogue with an older professor of color scarred by ``years in the trenches'' of civil rights scholarship. Rodrigo observes how informal law-school hiring criteria-personal ties to professors-function as a ``sort of affirmative action for whites'' and, by sketching racism as a ``cultural paradigm,'' demolishes law-and-economics scholars who call discrimination a matter of individual preferences. Some memorable-and debatable-passages invert conventional wisdom: Rodrigo proposes that the middle class have sinned more than the ghetto poor because they ignore inner-city anguish; he suggests that the racial imagery of ``enlightenment-style Western democracy'' is the source of black subordination; and he argues provocatively that crime committed by whites, which includes most ``white-collar crime,'' is far more harmful to society than crime committed by blacks, so many of whom are poor. (May)
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