In his new book, “The Color of Law,” Richard Rothstein argues that government policy was responsible for segregation in America, not private enterprise. Using historical examples and data, he makes the case that from Reconstruction to the present day, explicit racial discrimination by governments at all levels has been a key factor in creating and perpetuating residential segregation.
For who is this book for ?
Rothstein’s book is for anyone who wants to better understand the roots of America’s racial segregation. He provides a comprehensive and well-documented history of government policies that have led to generations of black Americans being denied access to quality housing, education, and employment opportunities.
- Rothstein provides ample historical evidence to support his argument.
- He makes a clear and concise case for how government policy has resulted in segregation.
- The book is written in an accessible way that will be interesting to a wide audience.
- The author’s points are often difficult to follow due-to his dense writing style and use of legal jargon
- He largely ignores the role of individual choice in perpetuating segregation
- The book concludes on a somewhat unsatisfying note, as Rothstein offers few concrete solutions
Learn more about the author
Richard Rothstein is a research associate of the Economic Policy Institute and senior fellow at the Thurgood Marshall Institute of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. He has written for The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s Magazine, and other publications. This article originally appeared in the May 2012 issue of The American Prospect magazine.
“A damning, deeply researched history of governmental racism in America…essential reading for anyone interested in understanding the American landscape.”
“A powerful and disturbing history… Rothstein has emerged as one of the most important American voices on the persistent legacy of racism.”
“This is an important, groundbreaking book that tells a story about our past that we have not been told. Rothstein’s meticulous research and clear writing make The Color of Law accessible to general readers as well as specialists. He brings the history of American segregation vividly to life, demonstrating how it has shaped the lives of generations of African Americans and others.”
“This is an important, groundbreaking book that exposes the myth of de facto segregation. Rothstein’s meticulous research shows how government policy-from Reconstruction to today-has led to the residential segregation we see in every metropolitan area in the country.”