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Role Models
May 26, 1990 | The Economist pg. 46 |

The school claims to be recruiting hard: the trouble is that there are few black lawyers who want to do teaching jobs. It is only fairly recently that large numbers of blacks have attended the better law schools, and the brightest of them tend to become practising lawyers. A degree from a law school opens many doors, and a career in teaching is less likely to appeal to black graduates, relatively few of whom come from wealthy families.

The law school's contention that it is looking but not finding is not accepted by Mr Bell and his allies. It is looking for the wrong son of people, they answer: the school should look beyond “Gucci" candidates from an elite law school.

But Harvard is not alone in finding it to recruit black teachers. An American Council on Education survey, released last summer, indicated that eight out often colleges were making some sort of effort to hire more teachers from minority groups. Their effort is unlikely to lead to much in the way of results. The problem is simple: the demand is great but the supply of qualified blacks and Hispanics is limited.

Asians are another story. Although there are six times as many blacks as Asians in the United States, Asians got mine as as blacks in 1988. Relatively few black Americans go to college and only about a third of the students who do go are working in fields that are likely to lead to a graduate school of arts or sciences.

The push for a diverse faculty rests on the notion that black students, at all levels, need role models: teachers who are also black. This may be a tenable argument for schoolchildren: black children need to know that blacks can excel (and girls, of all colours, need to see that women can become doctors and astronauts). But the argument cannot be sustained at university level, where it may well lead to tokenism and lowering of standards. And role models, after all, come in all colours.
academia  African-Americans  children  Colleges_&_Universities  Derrick_Bell  diversity  Harvard  HLS  law_schools  professors  role_models  talent_pipelines  tokenism  women 
august 2012 by jerryking
Derrick Bell Dead at 80: Sad Loss of a Leading Legal Scholar
By: The Root Staff | Posted: October 6, 2011

A Pittsburgh native, Bell distinguished himself early in his law career through his work for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund during the civil rights era. Recruited by Thurgood Marshall, Bell oversaw 300 school-desegregation cases, according to The HistoryMakers. He also served as deputy director of the Office for Civil Rights in the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. He was known as a pioneer of the study of "critical race theory," which explores racism in laws and legal institutions.

According to his bio at The HistoryMakers:

In 1971, Bell became the first African American to become a tenured professor at Harvard Law School. There, he established a course in civil rights law and wrote Race, Racism and American Law, which today is a standard textbook in law schools around the country. Leaving Harvard, Bell became the first African American dean of the University of Oregon Law School, and in 1985, he resigned in protest after the university directed him not to hire an Asian American candidate for a faculty position. Returning to Harvard Law School, Bell would again resign in protest in 1992 over the school's failure to hire and offer tenure to minority women.
obituaries  lawyers  law_schools  African-Americans  Thurgood_Marshall  Derrick_Bell  HLS  scholars 
october 2011 by jerryking

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