Rights Gone Wrong by Richard Thompson Ford
How Law Corrupts the Struggle for Equality

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Synopsis

A New York Times Notable Book for 2011

Since the 1960s, ideas developed during the civil rights movement have been astonishingly successful in fighting overt discrimina­tion and prejudice. But how successful are they at combating the whole spectrum of social injustice--including conditions that aren't directly caused by bigotry? How do they stand up to segregation, for instance--a legacy of racism, but not the direct result of ongoing discrimina­tion? It's tempting to believe that civil rights litigation can combat these social ills as efficiently as it has fought blatant discrimination.


In Rights Gone Wrong, Richard Thompson Ford, author of the New York Times Notable Book The Race Card, argues that this is seldom the case. Civil rights do too much and not enough: opportunists use them to get a competitive edge in schools and job markets, while special-interest groups use them to demand special privileges. Extremists on both the left and the right have hijacked civil rights for personal advantage. Worst of all, their theatrics have drawn attention away from more seri­ous social injustices.


Ford, a professor of law at Stanford University, shows us the many ways in which civil rights can go terribly wrong. He examines newsworthy lawsuits with shrewdness and humor, proving that the distinction between civil rights and personal entitlements is often anything but clear. Finally, he reveals how many of today's social injustices actually can't be remedied by civil rights law, and demands more creative and nuanced solutions. In order to live up to the legacy of the civil rights movement, we must renew our commitment to civil rights, and move beyond them.

 

About Richard Thompson Ford

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Richard Thompson Ford is the George E. Osborne Professor of Law at Stanford Law School. He has pub­lished regularly on the topics of civil rights, constitutional law, race rela­tions, and antidiscrimination law. He is a regular contributor to Slate and has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, and the San Francisco Chronicle.
 
Published October 25, 2011 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 283 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference, Law & Philosophy, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

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The organized San Francisco bicyclists who disrupt traffic, the Million Man marchers, the Promise Keepers, plaintiffs, protesters, even the Jena Six criminal defendants—all vigorously assert their "civil rights" and all, writes Ford, injure the social compact that recognizes a corresponding duty ...

Jul 06 2011 | Read Full Review of Rights Gone Wrong: How Law Co...

The New York Times

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According to Ford, the urge to condemn discrimination in all its forms — a legacy of the civil rights movement — has led people on the left and the right to reject “reasonable, prudent and innocent distinctions.” It has also led activists, judges and government officials to concentrate on elimina...

Nov 11 2011 | Read Full Review of Rights Gone Wrong: How Law Co...

The New York Times

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The author of “The Race Card” argues in his new book, “Rights Gone Wrong,” that both the left and the right stand in the way of sensible approaches to discrimination.

Nov 11 2011 | Read Full Review of Rights Gone Wrong: How Law Co...

Publishers Weekly

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Ford (The Race Card), a professor at Stanford Law School, seeks to apply a rationalist analysis of the efficacy of a multitude of antidiscrimination laws.

May 30 2011 | Read Full Review of Rights Gone Wrong: How Law Co...

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