The topics of race, racial attitudes, and racial advancement are everywhere today.With an unrelenting 24-hour news cycle and pervasive social media, we are continually besieged with issues of race and racialized conflict. We are constantly pressured to form instantaneous opinions about high-profile racial conflicts and to make snap judgments about them. We are heatedly primed to take bold sides in racial disputes long before we have all of the relevant facts. If we express openness to viewing some matters through a multicultural lens, we’re accused by some of being “politically correct.” If we express skepticism that every distressing or negative social interaction can be traced to race, then we’re accused by some of being callously insensitive to minority perspectives. If we attempt to call on America’s bitter racial legacy as a way of explaining current structural inequities, we’re accused by some of making excuses for people of color who are trapped in the underclass. If we acknowledge America’s undeniable progress when it comes to the topic of race, we’re accused by some of being hopelessly and dangerously naïve. All of this can be dispiriting even as we celebrate progress on race and many indisputably positive trends.
Despite the temptations and the incentives to view it differently, race and racial advancement are no different from other complex social, political, and economic phenomena. These topics can be studied, analyzed, and discussed with rigor, analytical sophistication, and intellectual elegance. Moreover, we can advance our knowledge and understanding through the same academic process used in other fields to create new knowledge and develop innovative solutions. Despite what some may think, we do not have to be stuck in a mode of visceral reactions, snap judgments, and reductionism. The articles that are a part of this special issue of the San Diego Law Review on the occasion of the 60th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education provide examples of how we can advance our thinking on race and racial advancement in rigorous and enlightening ways.
Mary J. Wiggins,
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San Diego L. Rev.
Available at: https://digital.sandiego.edu/sdlr/vol52/iss4/3