Redefining Equality

Redefining Equality

Language: English

Pages: 256

ISBN: 0195116658

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


The idea of equality is central to American civic life and one of the foundations of our national identity. Charges of unequal treatment continue to be voiced nationwide, in both the public discourse and the courts, yet there is no consensus on the meaning of equality. Competing views on this topic have erupted into a cultural conflict that looms large in contemporary American politics.
In this collection of insightful essays, distinguished scholars in law, history, and social science present varying perspectives on this fundamental concept. Addressing the specific cases behind the headlines and the abstract arguments within the legal texts, the contributors look closely at everything from school bussing programs and affirmative action to the role of the courts and the politics of equality. Various examples and definitions of equality, culled from America's past and present, are summarized and examined in ways that illustrate how and why equality issues directly affect men and women of all races and backgrounds.
Redefining Equality, a balanced array of assessments regarding our nation's historical and contemporary thoughts on equality and civil rights, will prove most informative to students of law, political science, and recent American history.

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of, and support for, Brown may not have been high. Brown was not greeted with an outpouring of public support by African Americans. Overall, the reaction within the African American community to Brown was muted. After Brown, "there were no street celebrations in Negro communities"41 and no "grand celebrations."42 Ralph Abernathy understood the lack of public response this way: "[M]ost blacks in the Deep South states looked with curiosity at what was going [on] in the high courts, shrugged their

"Wife Torture: A Known Phenomenon in Nineteenth-Century America," Journal of American Culture 10 (1987): 39, 42. 10. C. C. H. of East Orange, New Jersey, "Crimes against Women," Woman's Journal (December 25, 1875): 413. 11. Henry B. Blackwell, "Crimes of a Single Day," Woman's Journal (January 29, 1876): 34. 12. Elizabeth Pleck, Domestic Tyranny: The Making of American Social Policy against Family Violence from Colonial Times to the Present (New York: Oxford University Press, 48 Redefining

other students." The court, acceding to the parents' insistence on making a federal case out of a temporary suspension, ordered the student reinstated.52 Of course, beyond removing the most disruptive students, public schools need to cultivate orderly habits and a sense of academic discipline among the ordinary students. Some educators have urged that it would be helpful to separate boys and girls, particularly in early grades, because boys tend to be much more restless and aggressive, becoming

white population that still maintains that white and black students should go to separate schools and the 70 percent that at one time maintained it; (3) the size of the correlation between the researchers' racial intolerance scale and a seven-point antibusing item is .36, leaving much of the variation unexplained so that one might reasonably conclude that all racists may oppose busing but not everyone opposed to busing is a racist; and (4) the researchers' definition of self-interest is too

though such modifications inevitably will return certain facilities in the black community to largely one-race status.20 Of course, we must not lose sight of the fact that constitutional rights are individual. Whether a school district has satisfied its responsibility under Brown and its progeny to dismantle a dual system is not subject to resolution by referendum. The difficult legal question, one with which the Supreme Court continues to grapple, is how we determine whether the dual system is

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