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The idea of equality is central to American civic life and one of the foundations of our national identity. Charges of unequal treatment continue to be voiced nationwide, in both the public discourse and the courts, yet there is no consensus on the meaning of equality. Competing views on this topic have erupted into a cultural conflict that looms large in contemporary American politics.
In this collection of insightful essays, distinguished scholars in law, history, and social science present varying perspectives on this fundamental concept. Addressing the specific cases behind the headlines and the abstract arguments within the legal texts, the contributors look closely at everything from school bussing programs and affirmative action to the role of the courts and the politics of equality. Various examples and definitions of equality, culled from America's past and present, are summarized and examined in ways that illustrate how and why equality issues directly affect men and women of all races and backgrounds.
Redefining Equality, a balanced array of assessments regarding our nation's historical and contemporary thoughts on equality and civil rights, will prove most informative to students of law, political science, and recent American history.
something about the Court. In 1966, for example, nearly 40 percent of the American public could not identify Earl Warren, despite a decade of Court activism in which the chief justice was both loudly praised and vilified. And in 1989, while more than 25 percent of survey respondents identified Judge Joseph Wapner of television's People's Court, fewer than 10 percent could name the chief justice of the United States, William Rehnquist. Also, in 1966, despite important Supreme Court decisions on
"gender'' or "race" discrimination: it simply means that perpetrators take into account the fact that there are, for example, several racial variants of the gender female and that perpetrators can be insulated from legal reach if decisionmakers take one subgroup's experience of discrimination as a groupwide norm. These outsider insights also suggest that discrimination that operates through "neutral'' practices or otherwise without intent may have differential impact across different subgroups of
marital problems of this sort. The government needs flexibility so that all of its resources, including mental health agencies, can rectify the situation. Often criminal sanctions alone are ineffective. Moreover, domestic violence situation [sic] are different from other forms of criminal behavior in their complex emotional causes of behavior. . . . The government need not treat cases as the same, because it would be unproductive, and possibility counter-productive, to do so.59 The
contributors to this volume participate in these symposia, but the idea of assembling a multidisciplinary collection of essays on equality emerged from these symposia. Williamsburg, Virginia August 1997 N. D. D. D. This page intentionally left blank Contents 1 2 3 4 5 6 1 8 Contributors xi Introduction: The Pursuit of Equality 3 Davison M. Douglas and Neal Devins Equality and Impasse: Mobilizing Group-Based Perspectives in an Era of Group-Blindness 13 Kathryn Abrams Civil Rights
unapologetically religious in character." He says, "Let perverted civil libertarians and others who have worked to prevent inner-city blacks from target-hardening their communities (erecting concrete barriers, metal detectors in high schools, automatically evicting drug dealers from public housing) scream bloody murder about the church-state issues this ostensibly poses." "White Lies about Black Crime," Public Interest, no. 118 (Winter 1995): 40. 67. Title IX, Education Amendments of 1972,