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Civil Rights and Discrimination

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On Class-Not-Race, Samuel R. Bagenstos Jan 2015

On Class-Not-Race, Samuel R. Bagenstos

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Throughout the civil rights era, strong voices have argued that policy interventions should focus on class or socioeconomic status, not race. At times, this position-taking has seemed merely tactical, opportunistic, or in bad faith. Many who have opposed race-based civil rights interventions on this basis have not turned around to support robust efforts to reduce class-based or socioeconomic inequality. That sort of opportunism is interesting and important for understanding policy debates in civil rights, but it is not my focus here. I am more interested here in the people who clearly mean it. For example, President Lyndon Baines Johnson—who ...