In the 2008 presidential race, the debate as to the role of race in past and present American life would benefit enormously had all the citizenry read The Lost Promise of Civil Rights, Professor Risa L. Goluboff’s extensively researched and impressively presented history of racial discrimination and the only partially successful efforts to combat it by a small group of government and private lawyers and those who supported them. In my review, I express doubt with her thesis that more progress might have been possible had civil rights advocates devoted more of their limited resources to litigation challenging employment discrimination. Refuting her position, though, enhanced my understanding of why in the abstract we Americans have more that unites than divides us. For that truth is, even today, too easily diluted by fears, suspicions, and deep-seated beliefs about the legitimacy of dominance by whites over people of color.
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