Alex M. Johnson, Jr.

The New Voice of Color

PUBLISHER
Yale Law Journal
DATE
1991
 

Abstract

Much has been written about whether scholars of color and feminists speak with a distinctive "voice" in addressing certain race- and gender-related issues.I This issue has generated significant controversy, including a recent colloquy in the prestigious Harvard Law Review. The publication of Professor Randall Kennedy's article, Racial Critiques of Legal Academia, in which he challenges the existence of the voice of color and its privilege to speak to certain racerelated issues, spawned much of the controversy. Recently, Professor Stephen Carter of Yale Law School added his voice to the debate with an article in the inaugural issue of Reconstruction Professor Carter reiterates several points made by Kennedy. My responses to Kennedy's and Carter's challenges appear elsewhere.' 

However, both Kennedy's Racial Critiques and Carter's The Best Black, and Other Tales, raise an issue not addressed in my Reply': their implicit incorporation of majoritarian standards in their arguments. These standards have crystallized over the years into an evaluative concept of merit employed by the academy in evaluating scholarship by all scholars, including scholars of color. In this Article, I contend that Kennedy and Carter have accepted the values of their "established" peers and that these values are reflected in much of what they assert. I argue that this set of values, especially when used to judge the worth of works written by other scholars of color who advocate the existence and use of voice, should be recognized as majority generated even if articulated by a Kennedy or a Carter speaking in the voice of color.

 

Citation

Alex M. Johnson Jr., The New Voice of Color, 100 Yale Law Journal 2007-2063 (1991).
 

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