Rights Gone Wrong

Rights Gone Wrong

How Law Corrupts the Struggle for Equality

Book - 2011
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"Since the 1960s, ideas developed during the civil rights movement have been astonishingly successful in fighting overt discriminaƯtion and prejudice. But how successful are they at combating the whole spectrum of social injustice--including conditions that aren't directly caused by bigotry? How do they stand up to segregation, for instance--a legacy of racism, but not the direct result of ongoing discriminaƯtion? It's tempting to believe that civil rights litigation can combat these social ills as efficiently as it has fought blatant discrimination. In Rights Gone Wrong, Richard Thompson Ford, author of the New York Times Notable Book The Race Card, argues that this is seldom the case. Civil rights do too much and not enough: opportunists use them to get a competitive edge in schools and job markets, while special-interest groups use them to demand special privileges. Extremists on both the left and the right have hijacked civil rights for personal advantage. Worst of all, their theatrics have drawn attention away from more seriƯous social injustices. Ford, a professor of law at Stanford University, shows us the many ways in which civil rights can go terribly wrong. He examines newsworthy lawsuits with shrewdness and humor, proving that the distinction between civil rights and personal entitlements is often anything but clear. Finally, he reveals how many of today's social injustices actually can't be remedied by civil rights law, and demands more creative and nuanced solutions. In order to live up to the legacy of the civil rights movement, we must renew our commitment to civil rights, and move beyond them"-- Provided by publisher.
"How successful is civil rights law in battling social injustice?"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780374250355
Characteristics: 272 p. ; 24 cm.


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Aug 02, 2012

A powerful book, written by an African-American legal scholar. It challenged a lot of my beliefs about human rights, and ended up changing them. His carefully reasoned critiques of school desegregation (which alienated whites without improving education for African Americans), affirmative action (which gives an often unfair advantage to relatively well-off members of certain groups defined by ethnicity rather than addressing the real limiting factor of poverty, which is race-neutral), special education (which shifts resources away from the general public school population in favor of expensive attention to "impaired" children who are disproportionately from the better-off), and the Americans with Disabilities Act (which ignores any notion of cost/benefit), has me rethinking them. That is what a good book does.


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