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Prejudicial Appearances

In Prejudicial Appearances noted legal scholar Robert C. Post argues that the true motivation behind anti-discrimination laws should be acknowledged: that they exist not to uphold the inherent dignity of persons but to change society, to make it better and more just. Claiming that the prevailing logic - that of upholding dignity - is misguided, Post lobbies against obscuring the laws' legitimate goals. Each of the four distinguished commentators who respond to Post's evocative essay brings a distinctive perspective to this re-conception. K. Anthony Appiah investigates the logic of stereotyping. Thomas C. Grey examines whether Post's proposal can be reconciled with the values of the rule of law. Questioning whether the law ought to endorse any concept of a social practice that defines persons, Judith Butler explores the tension between post-modern and deconstructive approaches to anti-discrimination. And Reva B. Siegel applies critical race theory to query whether anti-discrimination law's reshaping of race and gender should best be understood in terms of practices of subordination. By representing the variety of views that have been propagated in attempting to reconceive the thrust of anti-discrimination law, both students and scholars interested in the relationships among law, rhetoric, postmodernism, race, and gender will be enriched by Prejudicial Appearances.
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Table of Contents

Prejudicial Appearances: The Logic of American Antidiscrimination Law/ Robert C. Post 1 Stereotypes and the Shaping of Identity/ K. Anthony Appiah 55 "Appearances Aside" / Judith Butler 73 Cover Blindness / Thomas C. Grey 85 Discrimination in the Eyes of the Law: How "Color Blindness" Discourse Disrupts and Rationalizes Social Stratification / Reva B. Siegel 99 Response to Commentators / Robert C. Post 153 Contributors 165 Index 167

About the Author

Robert C. Post is Alexander F. and May T. Morrison Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley. K. Anthony Appiah is Professor of Afro-American Studies and Philosophy at Harvard University. Judith Butler is Professor of Rhetoric at the University of California, Berkeley. Thomas C. Grey is Professor of Law at Stanford University. Reva B. Siegel is Professor of Law at Yale University.


"Post is one of the most sophisticated members of the legal academy, and, not surprisingly, he offers here an illuminating contrast between certain conventional, 'formal' approaches to analysing 'discrimination' and a far more contextual, sociologically nuanced understanding of social practices."- Sanford Levinson, author of Processes of Constitutional Decisionmaking: Cases and Materials "Post's argument is rigorous, inventive, and indeed groundbreaking. The commentators respond elegantly, maximising the potential of their disciplinary backgrounds to produce interesting differences in their approach to the issue. This is an excellent introduction to the real contours of anti-discrimination case law and to the best thinking about what equal protection can and should be."- Janey E. Halley, author of Don't: A Reader's Guide to the Military's Anti-Gay Policy

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