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The Coming Race War

And Other Apocalyptic Tales of America after Affirmative Action and Welfare

Richard Delgado

Publication Year: 1996

In The Washington Post, Julius Lester praised Richard Delgado's The Rodrigo Chronicles: Conversations about America and Race as free of cant and ideology. . . . an excellent starting place for the national discussion about race we so desperately need. The New York Times has hailed Delgado as a pioneer in the study of race and law, and the Los Angeles Times has compared his storytelling style to Plato's Dialogues.

In The Coming Race War?, Delgado turns his attention to the American racial landscape in the wake of the mid-term elections in 1994. Our political and racial topography has been radically altered. Affirmative action is being rolled back, immigrants continue to be targeted as the source of economic woes, and race is increasingly downplayed as a source of the nation's problems. Legal obstacles to racial equality have long been removed, we are told, so what's the problem?

And yet, the plight of the urban poor grows worse. The number of young black men in prison continues to exceed those in college. Informal racial privilege remains entrenched and systemic. Where, asks Delgado in this new volume, will this lead? Enlisting his fictional counterpart, Rodrigo Crenshaw, to untangle the complexities of America's racial future, Delgado explores merit and affirmative action; the nature of empathy and, more commonly, false empathy; and the limitations of legal change. Warning of the dangers of depriving the underprivileged of all hope and opportunity, Delgado gives us a dark future in which an indignant white America casts aside, once and for all, the spirit of the civil rights movement, with disastrous results.

Published by: NYU Press


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pp. c-ii

Title Page

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pp. iii-iii

Copyright Page

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pp. iv-vi


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pp. vii-viii


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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xviii

Even in his lineage, Rodrigo is telling us a story. His father is of African descent and his mother is Italian. Outside of the United States, he would be known and recognized as an individual of mixed parentage. Latin Americans might call him "mulatto" or "creole," depending on his features and hue. In South Africa, he would be...

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Introduction: In Which the Author Explains Who Rodrigo and the Professor Are, and What They Have Been Doing So Far

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pp. 1-3

In The Rodrigo Chronicles, published in 1995, the reader meets my brash, talented young friend and graduate lawyer, Rodrigo. When we first encounter him, Rodrigo has flown back to the States from Italy, at his sister's suggestion, to meet "the Professor" and discuss the young man's future. Rodrigo is thinking of obtaining an LL.M. (advanced law) degree from an American institution in hopes of a career...

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CHAPTER 1 Empathy and False Empathy: The Problem with Liberalism

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pp. 4-36

I was sitting in my darkened office one afternoon, thinking about life. To tell the truth, I was missing my young friend and protege, Rodrigo. Not long ago, I had consigned him to the Great Beyond. But now, I was flooded with regret and sadness. I missed his brashness, his insouciant originality. Odd, I had not thought of myself as sentimental....

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CHAPTER 2 Legal Instrumentalism and the Rule of Law: A Blueprint for Reformers in Hard Times

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pp. 37-61

I was sitting dejectedly in the airport waiting lounge, cursing myself for having taken a winter flight that changed planes in a northern city, when I heard a familiar voice from behind me.
"Professor, is it you?"
I turned. "Rodrigo, for goodness' sake! What are you doing here?"
"I'm just getting back from a speaking tour. I think I told you I'm...

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CHAPTER 3 Merit and Affirmative Action

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pp. 62-98

I had just put down my papers from the talk that, as one of three graybeards, I had just given to a roomful of eager new professors when a familiar face materialized in front of me.
"Rodrigo! I didn't see you in the room. Where were you sitting?"
"Over there," my young friend and protege replied, "behind Henry...

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CHAPTER 4 American Apocalypse

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pp. 99-129

Hee-hee, I caught myself muttering under my breath with a childish excitement unbefitting someone my age, as I walked up the last few stairs to Rodrigo's fourth floor office. In the past, my young enfant terrible had made a practice of dropping in on me unexpectedly, materializing as though out of nowhere. Now, courtesy of a board...

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CHAPTER 5 Cosmopolitanism and Identity Politics

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pp. 130-147

"Good timing/' I commented to Rodrigo as we waited to hail a cab in front of the airport. "I'm glad we managed to coordinate our arrivals."
"Me, too," said my young friend. "How was your flight?"
"Fine. And yours?"...

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CHAPTER 6 Citizenship: How Society Rejects the Very Persons It Most Needs

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pp. 148-165

"Professor! What are you doing?"
I looked up from my labors to find Rodrigo, to my great pleasure, standing in my doorway. He was looking concerned.
"Come on in. It's good to see you. Thanks for the card saying you were coming. I called, but your secretary said you'd already left."...

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pp. 166-168

So far as Rodrigo or any of the professor's other friends and acquaintances could tell, he completed his packing and left the next day. Out of curiosity, Rodrigo telephoned the citizenship review panel, but they declined to speak with him because of the confidentiality of the proceedings and his lack of an explicit letter of retainer or...


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pp. 169-bc

E-ISBN-13: 9780814744284
E-ISBN-10: 0814744281
Print-ISBN-13: 9780814718773
Print-ISBN-10: 0814718779

Page Count: 432
Publication Year: 1996

OCLC Number: 45733764
MUSE Marc Record: Download for The Coming Race War

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • United States -- Race relations.
  • United States -- Race relations -- Forecasting.
  • African Americans -- Civil rights.
  • Affirmative action programs -- United States.
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