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New York, Feb. 18, 2011—The Columbia Journal of Race and Law launched this week, at a time when the “post-racialism” heralded after the election of President Obama has yet to be realized, according to the journal’s editor-in-chief.
“In short, the relevance of race in our society and, thus, the law, continues to be very much a reality, and the increasingly multi-racial and multi-cultural nature of our communities both complicates and enriches this sphere of academic inquiry,” Sheila Adams ’11 writes in the début issue.
As examples, Adams cites the controversial immigration law in Arizona that opponents say effectively authorizes racial profiling of Latinos. Also of issue, she said, is the “gross inequalities” of wealth and home ownership between different racial groups that were laid bare by the recession.
Among the authors in the first issue is Kendall Thomas, the Nash Professor of Law and Director of the Center for the Study of Law and Culture. Thomas contributes a foreword where he writes that the journal can play a vital role in furthering the conversation about racial justice. He serves on the journal’s Board of Advisors.
“Race and racism today are not what they were in 1960,” Thomas writes. “Nonetheless, the spectral fear of a Black public—or of a Black president—has not been completely exorcised from the U.S. body politic.”
The editors plan to publish articles that make a substantive contribution to the current dialogue surrounding issues such as affirmative action, immigration, employment law, community development, criminal law, environmental justice, voting rights, and education. The journal will publish twice a year, and is the successor to the National Black Law Journal, which had been hosted at Columbia for the last decade, and was returned to its birthplace, the UCLA School of Law, in 2010.
The journal is a co-sponsor of a Feb. 21 panel on civil rights featuring professors Jack Greenberg, Jamal Greene, Olati Johnson, and Susan Sturm. Topics up for discussion include education equality, employment, and the current generation’s engagement with key civil rights issues.
The event, which starts at 12:10 p.m. in Jerome Greene Hall, room 105, is also sponsored by the Black Law Students Association and the Civil Rights Law Society.
The journal had also held a symposium in October on the Arizona immigration law featuring Nina Perales ’90, now the litigation director at MALDEF, the nation’s leading Latino civil rights organization.
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