Reflections on Racial Stigmas and Stereotyping

16 Pages Posted: 6 Nov 2017

See all articles by Harry T. Edwards

Harry T. Edwards

Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit; New York University School of Law

Date Written: March 25, 2017


I have been a member of the bar for over 50 years. When I graduated from law school, blacks were denied access to most meaningful positions in private firms, corporations, government jobs, the judiciary, and the academy. Today we can point to significant numbers of African Americans in prominent positions in every arena in which lawyers serve our society. Yet, with all the progress we have seen, we are still plagued by the pernicious effects of racial stigmas and stereotyping. And racial injustices still stain the landscape of our country.

In this piece, I reflect on our ongoing quest for racial justice. I respond to those who suggest that our pursuits are fruitless. I also ponder whether we too often label ourselves victims and, consequently, internalize stigmas and stereotypes that become self-fulfilling prophecies.

Keywords: Legal Education, Race Relations, Equal Opportunity, Racial Stigmas

JEL Classification: I124, Z10, Z13

Suggested Citation

Edwards, Harry T., Reflections on Racial Stigmas and Stereotyping (March 25, 2017). Available at SSRN: or

Harry T. Edwards (Contact Author)

Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ( email )

333 Constitution Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20001
United States

New York University School of Law ( email )

40 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012-1099
United States

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