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Oregon Law Review






Thirty-four years ago, in his seminal book, "And We Are Not Saved: The Elusive Quest for Racial Justice," Derrick Bell provided a critical view of American history and constitutional jurisprudence to illustrate the challenges the United States faces in reaching true equality. In his enlightened observations about the structure of our republic, Bell refers to “the American contradiction.” To see true progress toward meaningful equality, he contends, we must reckon with the challenging truth of our history—that we are a nation founded on this “constitutional contradiction”... In his work, Professor Bell argued that this American contradiction, “shrouded by myth,” serves as a perpetual impediment to addressing historic and persistent forms of racial injustice. This, he says, is “the root reason for the inability of black people to gain legitimacy.” This reality of racial inequality is part of our culture and common history. It is the contradiction embedded in the ideology that formed our republic.



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