A perilous path Talking race, inequality, and the law

Sherrilyn A. Ifill

Book - 2018

"This blisteringly candid discussion of the American dilemma in the age of Trump brings together the head of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the former attorney general of the United States, a bestselling author and death penalty lawyer, and a star professor for an honest conversation the country desperately needs to hear. Drawing on their collective decades of work on civil rights issues as well as personal histories of rising from poverty and oppression, these leading lights of the legal profession and the fight for racial justice talk about the importance of reclaiming the racial narrative and keeping our eyes on the horizon as we work for justice in an unjust time. Covering topics as varied as "the commonality of pain," &qu...ot;when lawyers are heroes," and the concept of an "equality dividend" that is due to people of color for helping America brand itself internationally as a country of diversity and acceptance, Ifill, Lynch, Stevenson, and Thompson also explore topics such as "when did 'public' become a dirty word" (hint, it has something to do with serving people of color), "you know what Jeff Sessions is going to say," and "what it means to be a civil rights lawyer in the age of Trump." Building on Stevenson's hugely successful Just Mercy, Lynch's national platform at the Justice Department, Ifill's role as one of the leading defenders of civil rights in the country, and the occasion of Thompson's launch of a new center on race, inequality, and the law at the NYU School of Law, A Perilous Path will speak loudly and clearly to everyone concerned about America's perpetual fault line."--Amazon.com.

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New York : The New Press 2018.
Main Author
Sherrilyn A. Ifill (author)
Other Authors
Loretta Lynch, 1959- (author), Bryan Stevenson, Anthony C. Thompson
Physical Description
viii, 112 pages ; 19 cm
Includes bibliographical references.
  • Preface / by Anthony C. Thompson
  • A perilous path : race, inequality, and the law
  • Postscript / by Anthony C. Thompson
  • Acknowledgments.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

A symposium on racial injustice and law in the U.S. after the 2016 presidential election, convened in celebration of the establishment of NYU Law School's Center on Race, Inequality, and the Law, unfolds here as a smoothly flowing but less-than-revelatory conversation. Anthony C. Thompson, the center's faculty director, moderates a panel composed of Ifill, president of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund; Loretta Lynch, former U.S. attorney general; and Bryan Stevenson, executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative. Each expert, steeped in their office's history, articulates the various roles of federal, state, and local governments in combating discrimination. Their dialogue is at times extemporaneous and warm, reflecting shared experience between the speakers, as when Thompson recalls, "Loretta was a great ally as we moved forward on the Civil Rights front." However, the many fleeting references to both current events and past historical touchstones, including Jim Crow, residential redlining, and civil rights protests, assume more prior knowledge than many readers will possess. Eschewing moralizing, the speakers opt instead for practical suggestions for combating inequality and finding hope in Americans' renewed interest in politics. It's unclear who the book would most appeal to; the length suggests novices, who will be lost with no context, but the lack of depth will be disappointing to scholars. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review

To recognize the founding of New York University's Center of Race, Inequality, and the Law, Thomson (New York Univ. Sch. of Law) invites three contributors-Sherrilyn Ifill (president, NAACP Legal Defence Fund), Bryan Stevenson (executive director, Equal Justice Initiative; Just Mercy), and former attorney general Loretta Lynch-to discuss how race and inequality impact the U.S. legal system. Presented as a series of transcripts, the chapters here feature prominent African American legal minds grappling with the process of identifying legal priorities relating to race and justice. A variety of topics are touched upon: investing in local activism; coalition building among racial, social, and economic lines; countering post-Obama backlash to legal reform; working against the school-to-prison pipeline; and enforcing citizens' guaranteed rights. The authors also engage in conversations about broader issues such as gerrymandering, affordable housing, and police reform, all in an effort to construct a new legal civil rights agenda. The result is a candid analysis of current political and policy landscape. VERDICT Highly recommended for those interested in racial and social justice, law, politics, and political commentary.-Tiffeni Fontno, Boston Coll. © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review

An edited transcript of a probing, provocative conversation on the national narrative in the Trump era.To commemorate the opening of the Center on Race, Inequality, and the Law at the New York University School of Law, founding director Thompson, a professor at the school, convened a panel including former attorney general Lynch, NAACP Legal Defense Fund president Ifill, and Equal Justice Initiative executive director Stevenson to discuss the major problems and challenges facing the country. Thompson launches the discussion by saying, "racism is embedded in the DNA of America. But while people of color have disproportionately felt its effects, it's an American problem. In fact, it is the American problem." Such framing is crucial because the narrative the participants hope to advance is not one of marginalized minorities but rather of the moral, economic, and human costs to the nation as a whole. Law and government play important parts in this conversation, but the discussion makes clear just how deeply embedded these problems are within American society and how solutions must be addressed in our schools, libraries, neighborhoods, and even transportation systems. As Ifill wisely notes, "people think about civil rights as something that over there, these black people are doing. And what I always want people to understand is that that kind of equality principle is actually unifying, and essential to unite us all." The discussion presents a striking contrast between governmental initiatives today and those of the Obama administration while suggesting that if these are times of great struggle, they are also times of great determination and hope. The participants are pretty much in agreement and all on the same side, but one of the precepts of the book would seem to be that there is no other side.A wake-up call for the American dream. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.