Silent Covenants by Derrick Bell
Call Number: KF4155 .B38 2004
Publication Date: 2005-08-18
"On May 17, 1954, the Supreme Court unanimously declared that separate educational facilities are "inherently unequal" and, as such, violate the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which guarantees all citizens "equal protection of the laws". Hailed as a landmark decision, Brown vs. Board Education promised the nation's citizens equality and racial justice at last. Yet despite Brown's promise for what law and society might be and the awe and respect it evokes with the passing years, it has achieved little and is little used as legal precedent. The noble image, dulled by resistance to any but token steps toward compliance, has transformed Brown into a magnificant mirage, the legal equivalent of that city on a hill to which all aspire without any serious thought that aspiration will ever become attainment. In a sure-to-be controversial work, Derrick Bell argues that though Brown has come to be regarded as the Perfect Precedent, its true lesson is that advocates of racial justice should rely less on judicial decisions and more on tactics, actions, even attitudes that challenge the continuing assumptions of white dominance. Turning history on its head, Bell suggests that if we had had more realism in our racial dealings, we might have kept Plessy, kept separate but equal in place, and attacked instead, at its root, the racial discrimination that continues to haunt the nation. It is only by petitioning for racial justice in forms that whites will realize serve their interests, Bell argues, that true equality will ever be achieved."