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“Altheimer Symposium on Racial Equity in the 21st Century: Culturally Significant Speech: Law, Courts, Society and Racial Equity,” 21 U. Arkansas Little Rock Law Journal 845(1999).

DOWNLOAD ARTICLE HERE:21UArk(LittleRock)LRev845(1999)CultSigSpeech

Abstarct: Even a modest goal of racial equity that looks to the amelioration of the negative economic, social and political effects of the racial difference our society embraces has eluded several generations of litigators and lawmakers. This paper looks to the interaction of law and culture for an understanding of this failure. It suggests that only by acting in culturally significant ways can there be an effective conversation about race equity. Culturally significant speech is comprised of three elements, pain (sacrifice), power (cultural voice), and time (institutional incorporation), the effective use of which determines our perception of differences and sameness, of fairness and unfairness, of inclusion and exclusion, of toleration and suppression. The paper ends with a consideration of the means through which it is possible to speak in culturally significant ways in contemporary America.


“Toleration, Suppression and the Public/Private Divide: Homosexuals Through Military Eyes,” 34 Tulsa Law Journal 537 (1999).

DOWNLOAD ARTICLE HERE: 34TulsaLRev537(1999)Military

Abstract: The essay examines the limits of the liberal model of toleration, the way in which it enforces the lines drawn between difference, which is tolerated, and deviance, which is suppressed, through the example of the American military’s “don’t ask/don’t tell” scheme. The military, like liberal society, makes room for difference by confining difference to those private social spaces it is willing to tolerate. While the differences between “progressive” and “traditionalist” is great, it is still merely one of degree. The basic postulates of the closet are accepted. Sexual subterfuge on the part of sexual non-conformists is the order of the day. The cases in which men and women have been separated form service on grounds of their sexual non-conformity provide a vivid if poignant picture of the boundaries that liberal toleration has drawn for our society. The implications of the public/private binary and its corollary–that public expressions of “being” is another form of “doing”–reach their limit in the military context. The essay then considers the cases brought by gay men and lesbians under the don’t ask/don’t tell policy. Though much of the case law is couched in the formalistic language of status and conduct, the real boundaries of toleration are formed by the public expression of acts which are offensive when the institutions of dominant society are required to publicly acknowledge them. This is the point at which society will tolerate prejudice and accommodate offense. The military cases make that evident.