A Perilous Path: Talking Race, Inequality, and the Law

Sherrilyn Ifill et al. New Press, $19.99 trade paper (128p) ISBN 978-1-62097-395-0
A symposium on racial injustice and law in the U.S. after the 2016 presidential election, convened in celebration of the establishment of NYU Law School’s Center on Race, Inequality, and the Law, unfolds here as a smoothly flowing but less-than-revelatory conversation. Anthony C. Thompson, the center’s faculty director, moderates a panel composed of Ifill, president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund; Loretta Lynch, former U.S. attorney general; and Bryan Stevenson, executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative. Each expert, steeped in their office’s history, articulates the various roles of federal, state, and local governments in combating discrimination. Their dialogue is at times extemporaneous and warm, reflecting shared experience between the speakers, as when Thompson recalls, “Loretta was a great ally as we moved forward on the Civil Rights front.” However, the many fleeting references to both current events and past historical touchstones, including Jim Crow, residential redlining, and civil rights protests, assume more prior knowledge than many readers will possess. Eschewing moralizing, the speakers opt instead for practical suggestions for combating inequality and finding hope in Americans’ renewed interest in politics. It’s unclear who the book would most appeal to; the length suggests novices, who will be lost with no context, but the lack of depth will be disappointing to scholars. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 01/22/2018
Release date: 03/01/2018
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