Law in Contemporary Society
Thank you for your comments Professor Moglen.

I think you touched on a key issue that I am struggling with: why am I willing to sacrifice aspects of my personal (racial, gender) identity to enter into a large firm—particularly in an economy that has now opened itself up to people taking risks that include minority owned and operated firms.

I guess the answer to that goes back to something we continually discuss in class, how to we deprogram ourselves not to believe that these firms are the pinnacle of success. I think for minorities that this deprogramming is especially difficult. As most minority communities are pushed to the periphery of American society, we often find ourselves defining success as the ability to push pass certain forces that we believe are institutionalized mechanisms to keep us impoverished, uneducated, and unhealthy.

I think that success is something that is judged in its binary. So for many minorities, myself included, the definition of success is calibrated by whiteness (See, “All Falls Down” by Kanye West, lyrics include: “they made us hate ourselves and love their wealth"). In particular, for me, as a black woman, to be able to say that I worked in an Am Law Top 100 firm, I am cracking into or opening up a world that would not have been open to me thirty or forty years ago.

Perhaps, what needs to happen, is that I (and those that feel like me) have to redefine this binary definition of failure vs. success. But, in all honesty, while that sounds rhetorically good, the actual way to go about effecting that change within myself and within society do not seem within my grasp.

Kayne's Video:

-- JStHill - 19 Apr 2009

  • Pushing past barriers is important when they stand between you and happiness, dignity, respect, equality or justice. But there's no success in knocking over barriers that stand between you and nothing you want. Even less in knocking over barriers that stand between you and your chance to improve the position of the forces that made the injustice you grew up wanting to change in the first place. Are you sure it's all that hard to accept those propositions?

  • So what's left? Money. But money that comes at the expense of principles, at the expense of building the community, at the expense of a sense of independence from the traditions of hierarchy that racism depended on—that money has always been around. Some of it is bigger and more respectable than it used to be. But knocking down the barriers between people of color and the money that comes with forms of despondency, corruption, and meaninglessness that used to be available only to those with white skin privilege—there's nothing new about refusing to be part of that.


Webs Webs

r3 - 07 Jan 2010 - 22:39:31 - IanSullivan
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