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Open Society News: Dream and Reality—Searching for Racial Justice in the United States

  • Date
  • Fall 2007

Several decades have passed since the civil rights movement compelled people in the United States to confront pervasive, systematic racism. Yet race continues to influence many of the social and legal injustices that riddle American society. Slavery and racial segregation systems like Jim Crow are gone, but the impact they have had on people of color are now reproduced through seemingly neutral processes and policies that yield unjust outcomes based on race. As a result, many Americans are living, working, and learning in environments that are just as separate and unequal as they were decades ago.

As the conclusion of a two-part series about international and U.S. justice issues, this issue of Open Society News examines the politics and policies that have eroded efforts to fight discrimination and foster diversity in the United States. It also provides examples of how racial justice advocates are responding by revising their use of traditional institutions and allies and developing new strategies to challenge resurgent segregation.

The Open Society Institute, particularly its U.S. Justice Fund, is dedicated to revealing how racism currently works and helping people confront it—whether it be the unequal treatment blacks and whites receive in a supposedly neutral legal system; education and development policies that undermine access to good schools and housing for people of color, or a new tide of racially tinged xenophobia that seeks to deny rights and the possibility of citizenship to millions of hard-working undocumented immigrants.


  • The Equality Myth, Ann Beeson
  • Young People of Color Find Little or No Justice in U.S. Juvenile Justice System, James Bell
  • Prejudice Is Thicker than Water: Racial Profiling in America and Europe, Olivier De Schutter and Reginald T. Shuford
  • Prosecutors Making the Punishment Fit the Crime: A Question of Race and Class, Angela Davis
  • Time to End Over 20 Years of Cracked Justice, Nkechi Taifa
  • From Lynch Mob to Death Penalty: A Continuum of American Racial Injustice, Theodore M. Shaw
  • A New Fight to Get Voting Rights for All Americans, Deborah Goldberg
  • Locked Up, But Still Counted: How Prison Populations Distort Democracy, Peter Wagner
  • Making Development a Source for Inclusion, Not Resegregation, John Powell and Maya Wiley
  • How the Intent Doctrine Put a Deep Freeze on Racial Justice, Eva Jefferson Paterson and Kimberly Thomas Rapp

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