Law Journal Bans Questioning of Systemic Racism as a Concept

Law Journal Bans Questioning of Systemic Racism as a Concept

( – It’s common for scholarly journals to solicit tributes or memorials about a scholar’s work, even if one offers a critique of the scholar’s thinking. Recently, Emory Law Journal asked University of San Diego law school professor Lawrence Alexander to write a tribute to Emory Law School professor Michael Perry; the two are long-time professional friends. In it, Lawrence argued that Perry’s work on disparate racial impact and equal protection in his early days of scholarly work led to today’s political discourse regarding systemic racism.

Writing from a conservative perspective, Lawrence rejected Perry’s philosophy of systemic racism; the editor of Emory Law Journal censored his work. Editor-in-Chief Danielle Kerker Goldstein said Lawrence’s words were hurtful, insensitive, and unnecessarily divisive.

So, what did Lawrence write that was so inappropriate? Goldstein disapproved of the words “black” or “the blacks” to discuss African Americans, discussions on criminality and heredity and Lawrence’s suggestion that racism isn’t an issue today as was many years ago.

Lawrence refused to make the requested changes. He stated that while the editor doesn’t have to agree with his assessment, he stands behind what he wrote. As a result of the censorship, two fellow contributors threatened to withdraw their submissions unless the journal allowed them each to write a blurb at the beginning of their essay protesting the censorship of Lawrence’s writing.

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