Richard Thompson Ford considers The Race Card: How Bluffing About Bias Makes Race Relations Worse.
The George E. Osborne Professor of Law at Stanford Law School, Richard Thompson Ford has published regularly on civil rights, constitutional law, race relations, and antidiscrimination law. In his new book, he asks what Katrina victims waiting for federal disaster relief, millionaire rappers buying vintage champagne, Ivy League professors waiting for taxis, and ghetto hustlers trying to find steady work have in common, and answers that all have claimed to be victims of racism.
Few people these days express openly racist beliefs or defend bigoted motives. So lots of people are victims of bigotry, but no one's a bigot? Ford considers whether a lot of people are lying about their true beliefs and motivations, or if a lot of people are jumping to unwarranted conclusions or just playing the race card.
Ford brings sophisticated legal analysis, lively and eye-popping anecdotes, and plain old common sense to this heated topic, offering ways to separate valid claims from bellyaching, and calling for us to treat racism as a social problem that must be objectively understood and honestly evaluated- Cody's Books
Richard Thompson Ford
Richard Ford is the George E. Osborne Professor of Law at Stanford Law School. An expert on civil rights and anti-discrimination law, his academic work focuses on the definition of political and legal boundaries as instruments of social regulation, and as cultural phenomena (with an emphasis on their racial and demographic implications).
He is also interested in humanities and the law and the intersection of critical theory and the law. Previously, Ford was a Reginald Lewis Teaching Fellow at Harvard Law School, a litigation associate with Morrison & Foerster, a housing policy consultant in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and commissioner of the San Francisco Housing Authority.
He publishes regularly on civil rights, constitutional law, race relations, and antidiscrimination law, and he is the author of The Race Card: How Bluffing about Race Makes Race Relations Worse and Racial Culture: A Critique.
While reading an excerpt from his book The Race Card: How Bluffing About Bias Makes Race Relations Worse, Stanford Law Professor Richard Thompson Ford explains how false accusations of racism harm society.
Stanford Law Professor Richard Thompson Ford explains the reason victims of Hurricane Katrina were predominantly black was not due to present day racism, but a result of segregated neighborhoods and housing practices established in the 20th century.
Any action, practice, or belief that reflects the racial worldviewthe ideology that humans are divided into separate and exclusive biological entities called races, that there is a causal link between inherited physical traits and traits of personality, intellect, morality, and other cultural behavioral features, and that some races are innately superior to others. Racism was at the heart of North American slavery and the overseas colonization and empire-building activities of some western Europeans, especially in the 18th century. The idea of race was invented to magnify the differences between people of European origin in the U.S. and those of African descent whose ancestors had been brought against their will to function as slaves in the American South. By viewing Africans and their descendants as lesser human beings, the proponents of slavery attempted to justify and maintain this system of exploitation while at the same time portraying the U.S. as a bastion and champion of human freedom, with human rights, democratic institutions, unlimited opportunities, and equality. The contradiction between slavery and the ideology of human equality, accompanying a philosophy of human freedom and dignity, seemed to demand the dehumanization of those enslaved. By the 19th century racism had matured and the idea spread around the world. Racism differs from ethnocentrism in that it is linked to physical and therefore immutable differences among people. Ethnic identity is acquired, and ethnic features are learned forms of behaviour. Race, on the other hand, is a form of identity that is perceived as innate and unalterable. In the last half of the 20th century several conflicts around the world were interpreted in racial terms even though their origins were in the ethnic hostilities that have long characterized many human societies (e.g., Arabs and Jews, English and Irish). Racism reflects an acceptance of the deepest forms and degrees of divisiveness and carries the implication that differences among groups are so great that they cannot be transcended. See alsoethnic group; sociocultural evolution.