Diversity and Inclusion in Law School and Higher Education


Reflections on Racial Stigmas and Stereotyping

Document Type

Issue/Research Brief/Blog

Publication Date



diverse campus environment, implicit bias in admissions, implicit bias in the legal profession


I have been a member of the bar for over 50 years. When I graduated from law school, blacks were denied access to most meaningful positions in private firms, corporations, government jobs, the judiciary, and the academy. Today we can point to significant numbers of African Americans in prominent positions in every arena in which lawyers serve our society. Yet, with all the progress we have seen, we are still plagued by the pernicious effects of racial stigmas and stereotyping. And racial injustices still stain the landscape of our country.

In this piece, I reflect on our ongoing quest for racial justice. I respond to those who suggest that our pursuits are fruitless. I also ponder whether we too often label ourselves victims and, consequently, internalize stigmas and stereotypes that become self-fulfilling prophecies.