Paul L. Caron

Monday, February 14, 2022

The Law School Curriculum And The Movement For Black Lives

Teri A. McMurtry-Chubb (Illinois-Chicago; Google Scholar), The Law School Curriculum and the Movement for Black Lives, 31 U. Fla. J.L. & Pub. Pol'y 27 (2020): 

This Article discusses how faculty can substantively address white supremacy in the law school curriculum as part of the Movement for Black Lives. Because legal education sets how law students are taught to think about public policy and racial justice in the legal system, law schools’ failure to educate students critically about white supremacy in the core law school curriculum makes them active participants in the legal system’s devaluation of Black lives. 

Representation is important—if you cannot see yourself in your teachers, professors, and lawyers, then it is hard to believe that you can aspire to be them one day. But representation is not representation when lawyers and law professors of color are recruited who conform to normative standards that center white supremacist, patriarchal, and hierarchical notions of quality and excellence. As its mirror, representation can neither stand as a sole challenge to imbedded white supremacist and patriarchal practices in professional education, nor as a proxy for the substantive changes needed in professional school curricula to advance the cause of justice. 

In sum, the time for performative DEI measures has come to an end. Law schools must move beyond the superficial to examine how they perpetuate inequities in the core curriculum. They must enact critical interventions that underscore the simple truth - Black. Lives. Matter. Without these steps and more, legal education will continue to challenge
the fundamental humanity of Black people and question the value of Black lives.

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