Are Law Schools Oppressing Minority Faculty Women? A Critique of Meera E. Deo, “Unequal Profession: Race and Gender in Legal Academia” (Stanford UP 2019)

17 Pages Posted: 4 Jun 2020 Last revised: 18 Aug 2020

See all articles by Dan Subotnik

Dan Subotnik

Touro University - Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center

Date Written: 2020

Abstract

In our highly polarized political environment, race and gender issues have come to pervade and then agitate our formerly staid academic world. Some of the literature is angry, much of it is self-righteous; a public letter already signed by 153 scholars, artists and social critics of all colors and soon to be published in Harper’s, underscores the latter point. Query: Is the race and gender talk genuine? More specifically, are white male professors responsible for the professed unhappiness of their minority women colleagues? If so, can such men be trusted to help defuse tensions?

This essay specifically tests Professor Meera Deo's assertion that “implicit bias” in law schools is holding minority female (and to a lesser extent male) faculty back. It then considers her second and more provocative claim, that minority faculty can generally offer better training in “solving complex problems.” (“Unequal Profession: Race and Gender in Legal Academia.” (Stanford UP (2019)).

Regarding the former claim, Deo’s explains that minority women are not hired according to fair standards, not welcomed when they are hired, and not fairly evaluated for promotion. In addition, she argues, minority women professors are abused by their students. Because Deo barely tries to substantiate the second claim, it is dealt with only briefly in this essay.

The finding here is that the principal claim is not proven. Close analysis of its components, along with Deo’s own statistics, bears out that for all of society’s failures to establish full equality, our overwhelmingly liberal law faculties offer far more equitable treatment than Deo acknowledges.

Deo is to be commended for dealing with an issue close to the heart of academic life today. In pitting race and gender groups against one another, however, Deo does unnecessary damage to our self-understanding and sense of well-being.

Keywords: Law School Teaching, Racism, Legal Education, Sexism, Diversity, Law Schools, Discrimination, Conservatives, Oppression, Minority Faculty

Suggested Citation

Subotnik, Dan, Are Law Schools Oppressing Minority Faculty Women? A Critique of Meera E. Deo, “Unequal Profession: Race and Gender in Legal Academia” (Stanford UP 2019) (2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3581892. or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3581892

Dan Subotnik (Contact Author)

Touro University - Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center ( email )

225 Eastview Drive
Central Islip, NY 11722
United States

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