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The Color of Law: Richard Rothstein

January 15 @ 1:00 pm - 3:30 pm EST

Richard Rothstein, a distinguished fellow at the Economic Policy Institute, will visit Michigan State University to speak about his book, “The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How our Government Segregated America.”

According to the book, racial segregation characterizes every metropolitan area in the U.S. and bears responsibility for our most serious social and economic problems – it corrupts our criminal justice system, exacerbates economic inequality, and produces large academic gaps between white and African American schoolchildren. Rothstein argues that we’ve taken no serious steps to desegregate neighborhoods, however, because we are hobbled by a national myth that residential segregation is de facto—the result of private discrimination or personal choices that do not violate constitutional rights. The Color of Law demonstrates, however, that residential segregation was created by racially explicit and unconstitutional government policy in the mid-twentieth century that openly subsidized whites-only suburbanization in which African Americans were prohibited from participating. Only after learning the history of this policy, he says, can we be prepared to undertake the national conversation necessary to remedy our unconstitutional racial landscape.

Rothstein’s talk will be followed by a Q&A session with the audience and a book signing.

In addition to his role at the Economic Policy Institute, Rothstein is a fellow of the Thurgood Marshall Institute of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and of the Haas Institute at the University of California (Berkeley). He is also the author of “Grading Education: Getting Accountability Right” with MSU Associate Professor Rebecca Jacobsen and Tamara Wilder (2008) and “Class and Schools: Using Social, Economic and Educational Reform to Close the Black-White Achievement Gap” (2004). He is also the author of “The Way We Were? Myths and Realities of America’s Student Achievement” (1998). Other recent books include “The Charter School Dust-Up: Examining the Evidence on Enrollment and Achievements” (co-authored in 2005, also with Jacobsen); and “All Else Equal: Are Public and Private Schools Different?” (co-authored in 2003).


252, Erickson Hall
620 Farm Ln
East Lansing, MI 48824 United States
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