Fighting Racism in the Twenty-First Century

15 Pages Posted: 17 Jul 2014

Date Written: 2004


As the late Justice Thurgood Marshall noted, twentieth century racism was blatant, intentional, and its existence generally undisputed. The obvious nature of how racism operated in the twentieth century led to the passage of civil rights laws. Twenty-first century racism, on the other hand, is more subtle. It is harder to prove intentional racial discrimination today, and as a result, its existence is widely disputed. The widespread skepticism of the existence of racism in the twenty-first century was the motivating factor for this Symposium issue, entitled Critical Race Theory: The Next Frontier.

Critical Race Theory (CRT) examines how the law and legal traditions impact people of color, not as individuals, but as members of a group. Although CRT does not employ a single methodology, it seeks to highlight the ways in which the law is not neutral and objective, but designed to support White supremacy and the subordination of people of color. One of CRT's central tenets is the pervasiveness of racism in American society.? At its core, CRT accepts the notion that even in the twenty-first century, if you are a person of color in America, you are the victim of racial subordination.

Given that argument, what is the purpose of the statistical data found in several of the Symposium articles? Is it to prove that subordination and discrimination exist? Why prove something that is a given? This Symposium raises the fundamental question of whether empirical legal scholarship can ever co-exist with CRT.

Suggested Citation

Brown, Dorothy Andrea, Fighting Racism in the Twenty-First Century (2004). Washington and Lee Law Review, Vol. 61, No. 1485, 2004, Emory Legal Studies Research Paper, Available at SSRN:

Dorothy Andrea Brown (Contact Author)

Emory University School of Law ( email )

1301 Clifton Road
Atlanta, GA 30322
United States
404-712-8218 (Phone)
404-727-6820 (Fax)


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