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LESSONS STILL UNLEARNED: The Continuing Sounds of Silence1

  • Luke Charles Harris (a1)

In this essay, I contend that the elevation of Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court, and the evisceration of civil rights it has enabled, should be understood in part to reflect a tragic mistake on the part of Black America writ large. I will argue it represents the absence of a fully embodied vision of racial justice—one that genuinely symbolizes the entire panoply of concerns that must be addressed if the quest for racial equality is to ever be fully realized in the United States. Importantly, what this essay will point to is a political and discursive failure to center the concerns of Black females at the heart of our racial justice agenda.

Corresponding author
Professor Luke Charles Harris, Box 397 Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York, 12604. E-mail:
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I have benefited greatly from numerous comments and observations from colleagues, including Devon Carbado, Andy Davison, Marianne Engerman, Eve Dunbar, Kiese Laymon, Alvin Starks, Michael Hanchard, Adelaid Villamoare, Rachel Gilmer, and Paul Butler. I also want to offer very special thanks to Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, Barbara Tomlinson, and George Lipsitz who pushed me to complete this essay when I was about to give up on it, and to the Negril Social Justice Writers Workshop where I workshopped an earlier version of this essay.

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Du Bois Review: Social Science Research on Race
  • ISSN: 1742-058X
  • EISSN: 1742-0598
  • URL: /core/journals/du-bois-review-social-science-research-on-race
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