Beyond Good and Evil: The Black–White Divide in Critical Race Theory
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Derrick Bell’s work challenges the dichotomy that separates legitimate legal reasoning from “mere” fiction through hybrids that play across science fiction, Platonic dialogue, and autobiography. Despite its merits, I argue that Bell’s position reifies and strengthens, rather than deconstructs, structures of tyranny; it maintains the problematic rhetorical construction of United States race relations in terms of the black–white divide, either alienating, or leaving little or no room for other racial groups constructively to revise power and identity. In contrast, bell hooks’, Mari Matsuda’s and Robert Chang’s work, though tentatively sketched, construes current race and gender relations in terms of a chiaroscuro of power, rather than a simple dichotomy.