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Law Class Lecture Summaries, Fall 1999

California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Latest update: October 2, 1999
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Summary Lecture on Race, Black Men, and the Law

October 22, 1999

This lecture jumps to Chapter 6 of Images of Color, Images of Crime of Mann and Zatz: "Reflections on Black Manhood," by William Oliver, starting on p. 81.

William Oliver, whose work we will return to in The Violent Social World of Black Men, focuses in this section of Mann and Katz on the damage done to black identity by the image of black people that was socially constructed out of slavery. "One of the great tragedies associated with prejudice and racial discrimination against black people is the negative effect it has had on how black people view their worth as human beings." (at p. 81.) Oliver describes the Million Man March on October 16, 1995, as a political and social statement by black men that they are going to assume the responsibility of caring for themselves, their community, their family, and undoing the social harm that has befallen them and their community, acknowledging that "an increasing number of black people have lost faith in the belief tht the white majority will ever commit themselvesto the ideals of justice and equality for all." (At p. 82.)

I would like to review that concept: that individuals can take on personal responsibility and take charge of their own lives when the infrastructure reflects bad faith and fails to maintain legitimacy through a good faith consideration of their validity claims. Several theoretical orientations come to mind, and I would like for us to discuss them in class and in our threaded discussions.