In The Washington Post, Julius Lester praised Richard Delgado's The Rodrigo Chronicles: Conversations about America and Race as free of cant and ideology. . . . an excellent starting place for the national discussion about race we so desperately need. The New York Times has hailed Delgado as a pioneer in the study of race and law, and the Los Angeles Times has compared his storytelling style to Plato's Dialogues.
In The Coming Race War?, Delgado turns his attention to the American racial landscape in the wake of the mid-term elections in 1994. Our political and racial topography has been radically altered. Affirmative action is being rolled back, immigrants continue to be targeted as the source of economic woes, and race is increasingly downplayed as a source of the nation's problems. Legal obstacles to racial equality have long been removed, we are told, so what's the problem?
And yet, the plight of the urban poor grows worse. The number of young black men in prison continues to exceed those in college. Informal racial privilege remains entrenched and systemic. Where, asks Delgado in this new volume, will this lead? Enlisting his fictional counterpart, Rodrigo Crenshaw, to untangle the complexities of America's racial future, Delgado explores merit and affirmative action; the nature of empathy and, more commonly, false empathy; and the limitations of legal change. Warning of the dangers of depriving the underprivileged of all hope and opportunity, Delgado gives us a dark future in which an indignant white America casts aside, once and for all, the spirit of the civil rights movement, with disastrous results.