Faces at the Bottom of the Well: The Permanence of Racism

Front Cover
Basic Books, 1992 - History - 222 pages
2 Reviews
Imagine America on the first day of the 21st century. At the break of dawn, a thousand space ships descend from the sky, landing on the shores of the East Coast, bearing treasures of gold, safe nuclear power and detoxifying agents that could pay all debts and save the earth's environment. In exchange for these goods, guaranteed to rescue America from the excesses of its past, the Space Traders want just one thing -- to take all African Americans back to their home star.

What would our leaders do? White Americans were once capable of rationalizing Black slavery; would they be capable of justifying the trade of all African Americans to space, to improve their own lot on earth?

The situation is a chilling fantasy. But for Derrick Bell, the prominent civil rights activist and former Harvard Law School Professor, the danger is very real. In "Faces at the Bottom of the Well: The Permanence of Racism," Bell uses allegory and historical example to argue that racism has always been an integral, permanent and indestructible component of American society."A starkly existentialist vision . . . chilling. . . . The stories challenge old assumptions and then linger in the mind." "--New York Times Book Review"

"A testament of faith--faith in the importance of fighting back." "--The Nation"

"Stingingly effective....He is pushing a sort of racial existentialism...anchored in what is rather than in hopes of what will be." "--Washington Post Book World"

"Even the unconverted will have to admit that the fictional parables that function as his sermons are powerful in their eloquence." "--Los Angeles Times Book Review"

 

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Faces at the bottom of the well: the permanence of racism

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Bell, in the news because he is on leave from Harvard Law School to protest its never having hired a tenured black woman, has written a provocative and creative book that nicely follows his And We Are ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - awhayouseh - LibraryThing

Bell provides a fictional platform to talk about real -life racial issues. This book helps facilitate dialogue about race in a seemless yet intelligent way. Read full review

Contents

Racial Symbols A Limited Legacy
15
The Afrolantica Awakening
32
The Racial Preference Licensing Act
47
The Last Black Hero
65
Divining a Racial Realism Theory
89
The Rules of Racial Standing
109
A Law Professors Protest
127
Racisms Secret Bonding
147
The Space Traders
158
Beyond Despair
195
Notes
201
Index
215
Copyright

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About the author (1992)

Derrick Bell, a visiting professor at New York University Law School, was dismissed by Harvard University from his position as Weld Professor of Law for refusing to end his two-year leave through which he protested the absence of minority women on the law faculty. He is also the author of Faces at the Bottom of the Well, Confronting Authority, and And We Are Not Saved.

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