What's (Race in the) Law Got to Do With It: Incorporating Race in Legal Curriculum

28 Pages Posted: 15 Feb 2022

See all articles by Sonia Gipson Rankin

Sonia Gipson Rankin

University of New Mexico - School of Law

Date Written: February 8, 2022


The title of the 2021 Connecticut Law Review Symposium, “What’s Law Got to Do With It?,” provides insights into why cognitive dissonance has such an impact on discussing race in legal education. In the same way that Ms. Turner sang that love can be a second-hand emotion in relationship-building, race is often treated in legal education and bar examinations as a second-hand consideration. And it is impacting the future of the profession.

In this paper, Section I will describe cognitive dissonance theory, color blindness ideology, and the relationship of these theories to racial inequality.

Section II will outline the knowledge, skills, and values students need to discuss racial inequality in the law school classroom. It will also provide classroom techniques that encourage dialogue and address tensions related to difficult conversations, using implicit bias and microaggressions in the legal community as examples. This training can serve as teaching/modeling for students to lead peer conversations and support students’ preparation in working with clients.

Section III will conclude that adding these skills and training to our curricula could lead to much-needed systemic change in the legal profession and society.

Suggested Citation

Gipson Rankin, Sonia, What's (Race in the) Law Got to Do With It: Incorporating Race in Legal Curriculum (February 8, 2022). Connecticut Law Review Online, Forthcoming, UNM School of Law Research Paper No. 2022-01, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4033862

Sonia Gipson Rankin (Contact Author)

University of New Mexico - School of Law ( email )

1117 Stanford, N.E.
Albuquerque, NM 87131
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics