The Miner's Canary: Enlisting Race, Resisting Power, Transforming Democracy
By: Lani Guinier
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Like the canaries that alerted miners to a poisonous atmosphere, issues of race point to underlying problems in society that ultimately affect everyone, not just minorities. Addressing these issues is essential....Read more
Like the canaries that alerted miners to a poisonous atmosphere, issues of race point to underlying problems in society that ultimately affect everyone, not just minorities. Addressing these issues is essential. Ignoring racial differences - race blindness - has failed. Focusing on individual achievement has diverted us from tackling pervasive inequalities. In this work, Lani Guinier and Gerald Torres propose a way to confront race in the 21st century. Given the complex relationship between race and power in America, engaging race means engaging standard winner-take-all hierarchies of power as well. Terming their concept "political race," Guinier and Torres call for the building of grass-roots, cross-racial coalitions to remake those structures of power by fostering public participation in politics and reforming the process of democracy. Their stories of political race in action include the coalition of Hispanic and black leaders who devised the Texas Ten Percent Plan to establish equitable state college admissions criteria, and the struggle of black workers in North Carolina for fair working conditions that drew on the strength and won the support of the entire local community.
The aim of political race is not merely to remedy racial injustices, but to create truly participatory democracy, where people of all races feel empowered to effect changes that will improve conditions for everyone. In this book, Guinier and Torres envision a social justice movement that could transform the nature of democracy in America.
How can a book that advocates for something as ethereal-sounding as the "magical realism of political race" amount to a powerfully reasoned and concretely grounded call for the proliferation of...Read more
How can a book that advocates for something as ethereal-sounding as the "magical realism of political race" amount to a powerfully reasoned and concretely grounded call for the proliferation of multiracial coalitions in challenges to inequality and exclusion in American society? Law professors Guinier and Torres have managed to do so in their gracefully written book, which is both an analysis of the distinctive contours of the post-Civil Rights Era's racial fault lines and a manifesto for a politics that is decidedly color conscious. Indeed, the purpose of the book is to challenge not simply the calls for colorblindedness on the part of conservatives, but more significantly, similar calls on the part of political leftists.--P. Kivisto"Choice" (10/01/2002)
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