Justice at War
Civil Liberties and Civil Rights During Times of Crisis
Publication Year: 2003
The status of civil rights in the United States today is as volatile an issue as ever, with many Americans wondering if new laws, implemented after the events of September 11, restrict more people than they protect. How will efforts to eradicate racism, sexism, and xenophobia be affected by the measures our government takes in the name of protecting its citizens?
Richard Delgado, one of the founding figures in the Critical Race Theory movement, addresses these problems with his latest book in the award-winning Rodrigo Chronicles. Employing the narrative device he and other Critical Race theorists made famous, Delgado assembles a cast of characters to discuss such urgent and timely topics as race, terrorism, hate speech, interracial relationships, freedom of speech, and new theories on civil rights stemming from the most recent war.
In the course of this new narrative, Delgado provides analytical breakthroughs, offering new civil rights theories, new approaches to interracial romance and solidarity, and a fresh analysis of how whiteness and white privilege figure into the debate on affirmative action. The characters also discuss the black/white binary paradigm of race and show why it persists even at a time when the country's population is rapidly diversifying.
Published by: NYU Press
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I GRATEFULLY ACKNOWLEDGE the assistance of the Bogliasco Foundation and the Ligure, Italy, Study Center, where much of this book was written, and the support of the University of Colorado School of Law Dean’s Fund. Jean Stefancic provided incisive comments and an editor’s sharp eye; Noah Markewich, much of the case and statutory...
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FEW SCHOLARS write with not only incisive analysis but also graceand wit, and even fewer can thread a tender love story through thatanalysis. But Richard Delgado has done all of those things in Justice atWar, producing a book that is simultaneously charming, thought-pro-voking, maddening, and deeply important. I disagree with some of...
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WHO IS RODRIGO? What about his mentor and straight man, “the Professor”? And, what are law professors doing writing stories, anyway? The reader curious about these matters will find answers to most of them in the dialogs themselves. Written simply and with as little jargon...
PART I: TEN MONTHS
1. Introducing Rodrigo
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“Professor, is that you?” The familiar voice from behind gave me quite a start. Wheeling around so suddenly that my cart almost collided with that of an oncoming shopper, a young woman who smiled at me indulgently, I sputtered, “Rodrigo! What are you doing here?”...
2. A Terrible Tale
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AFTER THAT HAPPY AFTERNOON at Teresa’s apartment, Rodrigo and I saw each other only once over the next three months, an unusually long interval for us. Our next meeting took place in his city, where I had gone for the funeral of a onetime colleague of mine. I had dropped in on Rodrigo’s law school unannounced, having a little time on my...
3. Rodrigo Returns
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I STARTED, as the telephone on my desk rang with unexpected loudness. Then I remembered why. I had gone next door to check a detail with a faculty colleague about our last faculty meeting a few days ago. For years, our dean had been in the habit of assigning the most junior member of the law faculty the onerous duty of recording...
4. Justice at War
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I ARRIVED AT Teresa’s townhouse on the other side of town a few minutes early. With a little repressed pleasure, I recalled her slightly breathless voice when she had called, just two days earlier, to invite me over. Rodrigo, her daughter, and the new baby had been staying in her extra bedroom, getting caught up with each other. But they were going...
5. Taming Terrorism
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WHEN WE RECONVENED next afternoon, I had to force myself to concentrate and seem normal. Rodrigo’s voice welcoming me and asking how my seminar had gone seemed to be coming out of a pinktinged fog. Teresa had met me on the steps of the townhouse and, glancing around to see if anyone was looking, given me a quick hug and kiss...
6. Interracial Love, Sex, and Marriage
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THE TIME WAS several months later. The term had ended, and much had happened. Rodrigo and Giannina had returned home. I had finished my semester, discharged that onerous obligation the dean had imposed on me, and passed the responsibility for note-taking onto an unsuspecting senior professor, even older than I, who had come...
PART II: REMEMBERING AND FORGETTING
IT TURNED OUT, indeed, to be the baby-sitter, announcing that little Gus was getting fussy. After paying our bill and leaving a tip, we stood on the sidewalk outside, blinking in the bright sunshine. As we started toward Teresa’s apartment, I said: “Speaking of solidarity, I wonder if, when we get back, the three of...
7. Hate Speech, Free Speech: Speech as Struggle
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MINUTES LATER, we were back in Teresa’s apartment. The baby- sitter was just picking up her equipment, and little Gustavo was in the kitchen with Giannina, having a snack of baby food and something that looked like polenta. “He’ll be ready for a nap soon,” said Giannina as we stood and watched. “Why don’t you all go into the living room...
8. The Trouble with Principle
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ALTHOUGH WE CONTINUED to exchange letters and cards, I did not see Rodrigo nor his family for several weeks. They returned home shortly after our conversation in Teresa’s apartment, and Rodrigo’s letters spoke about the myriad details of resuming his teaching career, Giannina’s summer plans—it turns out that she was, indeed, selected for...
9. On Causation and Displaced Rage: Forgetting What Provoked Your Indignation in the First Place
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THE CONFERENCE WENT WELL. My dinner speech, fortified by a few choice ideas from that airport talk, received a standing ovation. I ran into several old friends from the States, a few classmates from my own law school days, and even Laz late one afternoon in a near-deserted corridor in the giant conference hotel. We talked for a few...
10. Selling Short: The Rise and Fall of African American Fortunes
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WHEN I EASED into the breakfast line in the hotel cafeteria early the next morning, at least half the guests were wearing some type of exercise outfit. It came as no surprise, then, when I spied my two young friends, a little ahead of me in line, wearing running gear and conversing animatedly as they picked out their breakfast food. I selected...
11. Black Exceptionalism: Two Mistakes
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I WAS SITTING in a booth in the basement coffee shop of the giant hotel where the AALS annual meeting was being held, eyeing a small pot of tea steeping on the small round formica table in front of me. I had gone there to calm my nerves after what seemed like an unending threeday round of thirty-second conversations with wired law professors...
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THE NEXT DAY, on the plane back to home and Teresa, I reflected on the many conversations I had had with Rodrigo and his friends since his miraculous return from exile off the coast of Baja. I recalled our discussions of justice at war, and Rodrigo’s startling but well documented assertion that conflict is the usual state of affairs in American law and...
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About the Author
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Page Count: 240
Publication Year: 2003