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Race, Wrongs, and Remedies: Group Justice in the 21st Century (Hoover Studies in Politics, Economics, and Society) Hardcover – November 25, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0742562868 ISBN-10: 0742562867 Edition: 1st Edition

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Product Details

  • Series: Hoover Studies in Politics, Economics, and Society
  • Hardcover: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers; 1st Edition edition (November 25, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0742562867
  • ISBN-13: 978-0742562868
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.8 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #868,927 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

(Amy Wax) reviews a great deal of social science data showing the pallid or perverse effects of policies aimed at teenage pregnancy, education, job training, prison rehabilitation, and many more. (American Lawyer, October 1, 2009)

Amy Wax's Race, Wrongs, and Remedies is a provocative discussion of policies to close the race gap in America. Using the insightful legal distinction between liability and remedy, she shows that self-help can be a powerful force for remediating social wrongs. This book will help change the dialogue of race in America from a discussion about passive victims, guilt, and reparations to a more active embrace of individual responsibility and human agency. Its message is bold and clear. (James J. Heckman, professor of economics, The University of Chicago)

Professor Wax's book is the quintessence of cool, clean, and unassailable good sense. One is to be pardoned for wondering whether the most important book on race of the year could be one by a white female law professor. Well, one need wonder no more—it is. (The New Republic 2010-07-14)

Amy L. Wax combines conceptual insights from the law of torts and remedies with a thorough reading of the scholarship on racial disparities to bring much-needed clarity to the discussion of the black man's burden. (Claremont Review of Books 2011-07-01)

Wax combines conceptual insights from the law of torts and remedies with a thorough reading of the scholarship on racial disparities to bring much-needed clarity to the discussion of the black man's burden.

(The Claremont Review Of Books)

Every officer in the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs should read this book. Indeed, every federal or state public servant delivering services to, and/or making policy for Aborigines should think deeply about the applicability to Aborigines of Amy Wax's insights into the plight of black Americans. (Public Administration)

Review

Professor Wax's book is the quintessence of cool, clean, and unassailable good sense. One is to be pardoned for wondering whether the most important book on race of the year could be one by a white female law professor. Well, one need wonder no more--it is.

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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Sammie on August 26, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Much is written about race these days, but little is said. The prevailing discussion about race and social welfare policy has become predictable and an unproductive. Authors focus on blame and how to craft polices to undo the harm of the past. Despite years of mounting evidence that this approach is systematically flawed, the march continues steadfastly on: improvements for racial minorities can only come with additional government policies which must focus on how the dominate culture will cure the ills of minorities.

Professor Wax's contribution is a welcome departure from this mindset. In this book, she provides compelling and thoughtful arguments that the traditional role of social welfare policy is fatally flawed. Some change simply comes from those afflicted by the wrongs and no amount of help from those who inflicted the damage will make things better. As Wax notes in the Pedestrian Parable, at some point, the affliction becomes internal and only those affected can ameliorate the damage. While I'm sure this book will be vilified by some and ignored by many, those who are willing to read it with an open and discerning mind will be the better for it.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Richard B. Schwartz TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a courageous book. Describing its perspective as `self-help', the author argues that structural, governmental, `external' solutions for inequalities by race have now largely run their course and their returns have diminished significantly. The solutions to inequality now rest with the black community itself. `Hard struggles' remain, but `brick walls' have largely been removed. The principal problems causing the continuing inequalities are behavioral and cultural.

Given the response to arguments along this line from Bill Cosby, Juan Williams, et al., this is not a point of view that is likely to be warmly and enthusiastically embraced. She comes to the argument with a lawyer's perspective, one informed particularly by the laws governing liability and remedies.

Her key insight/example concerns a parable of an injured pedestrian. The pedestrian is hit by a guilty motorist. The motorist is directed to do all in his power to make the injured pedestrian whole. He attempts to do so. However, there are certain things that the injured pedestrian must do for himself. The guilty driver will pay for his medical care, medications and physical therapy, for example, but the injured pedestrian must show up for his appointments, fill and take his prescriptions and perform the exercises required by his physical therapist. In some ways this seems unjust. The motorist was guilty, the pedestrian innocent, but his return to health is dependent on his, not just the motorist's actions.

The author's argument is that this does in fact appear to be unjust, and that we cannot absolve the motorist of guilt.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Herbert Gintis on January 10, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Since about 1985 I have held a "blame the victim" attitude towards minority oppression. By this I have never meant in any way that the victims deserve their plight. Far from it: victims are victims and will remain victims until they end their victimization. Rather, I have been arguing that only by banning together in collective struggle can the victimization be defeated, and only the victims have a real interest in ending their own oppression.

Jews, Gypsies and gays were not responsible for being gassed, shot, hanged, and simply kicked to death by Hitler, with the deep appreciation of a large section of the German and surrounding peoples. But they are responsible for making sure this does not happen again. This can happen only if they blame themselves for their near-eradication. Of course, the non-oppressed have a moral obligation for aiding in any way they can the cause of the oppressed. But, the bottom line is people must end their own oppression however they can manage to do so.

In this lucid and hard-hitting essay on the politics of race in the United States, Amy L. Wax, a University of Pennsylvania law professor, makes a completely different argument, coming not from history and collective action, but from tort law. She takes without argument the premise that the position of poor blacks in America is due to a culture of poverty that was foisted upon the urban black community by virtue of centuries of slavery and racial bigotry. I believe that this premise is completely accurate and serves as an auspicious starting point for the analysis. Wax then distinguishes between liability and remedy. While others are liable for the position of poor blacks in America, remedy lies wholly in the hands of the inner-city black community itself.
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3 of 30 people found the following review helpful By delores ripley on May 2, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This is a great book if you want to be affirmed in your prejudice against black people and don't care about facts. I've read carefully and checked her "analysis" of the sociological and economic evidence. It's nearly criminal how she twists things to make her point that blacks don't deserve help.

For example, to make the argument that discrimination is not a real problem, she cites an audit study where black people and white people present identical resumes in order to get a job in Milwaukee businesses advertising positions. She argues that the data show if blacks and whites indicate on their resumes that they have a criminal record, the white will get the callback, and the black person won't. But this is a massive distortion of the data. The study, conducted by sociologist Devah Pager, actually found that if you were white WITH a criminal record, you had more callbacks than a black person with a CLEAN record. This is a very different picture, one that highlights how unfair things still are in the labor market if you are black. These applicants had college educations, and were well dressed and well spoken. And yet they were black and so were less attractive to employers than whites with a criminal record. Why the disdain for the truth?

I found about 7 distortions of the same magnitude in this brief book. If she thinks she is telling the truth, then she doesn't know how to read social science evidence and is simply a stupid racist. If she is aware of these distortions, she's simply a rabid, evil one. Either way, you are not getting the real evidence here.

One need not be a liberal or support remedies to be offended by such lies.
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