Race and the Law in 2014: Still Separate and Unequal?

60 years after Brown v. Board and 50 years after the passage of the Civil Rights Act, although de jure segregation has been relegated to the history books, massive disparities persist in the U.S. along racial lines in wealth, employment, education and the criminal justice system. De facto segregation endures in our neighborhoods and public schools. Meanwhile, conservatives continue to advance a jurisprudence that views the Equal Protection Clause as requiring "race-blindness" or "race-neutrality." What are the implications of such an approach for affirmative action programs and landmark statutes like the Civil Rights Act and the Fair Housing Act that prohibit practices with a disparate impact? How should progressives respond to this view of equal protection? Should we support measures aimed at ameliorating socioeconomic disparities that often fall along racial lines? In what areas can race potentially be disentangled from class, and in what areas can it not?


Tomiko Brown-Nagin, Daniel P. S. Paul Professor of Constitutional Law and Professor of History, Harvard University
Juan Cartagena, President and General Counsel, LatinoJustice PRLDEF
Sheryll Cashin, Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center
Gail Heriot, Professor of Law, University of San Diego School of Law; Commissioner, United States Commission on Civil Rights
William Yeomans, Fellow in Law and Government, American University Washington College of Law