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10 La Raza L.J. 127 (1998)
The Black/White Binary Paradigm of Race: The Normal Science of American Racial Thought

handle is hein.journals/berklarlj10 and id is 133 raw text is: The Black/White Binary Paradigm of Race:
The Normal Science of
American Racial Thought
by Juan F. Pereat
The Black/White Binary Paradigm of race has become the subject
of increasing interest and scrutiny among some scholars of color. This
Article uses Thomas Kuhn's notions of paradigm and the properties of
paradigms to explore several leading works on race. The works the
author explores demonstrate the Black/White paradigm of race and
some of its properties, among them extensive paradigm elaboration over
the years. Paradigms have limitations, however. Among them is a ten-
dency to truncate history for the sake of telling a linear story of prog-
ress. The author demonstrates how one constitutional law text truncates
history, by omitting entirely Mexican-American struggles for desegrega-
tion, and presenting a linear story of the Black struggle for civil rights.
Omitting important history from the narrative of civil rights history be-
comes extraordinarily damaging, since it distorts history and contributes
to the marginalization of non-Black peoples of color. While recognizing
the centrality of slavery and White racism against Blacks at the core of
American history and society, this Article seeks to expand our under-
standing of racism through the use of legal history. The author contends
that mutual and particularized understanding of racism as it affects all
people of color has the potential to enhance our abilities to understand
each other and to join together to fight the common evil of racism.
American society has no social technique for handling partly
colored races. We have a place for the Negro and a place for the
white man: the Mexican is not a Negro, and the white man re-
fuses him an equal status.'
Copyright © 1997 California Law Review, Inc.
f  Professor of Law, University of Florida College of Law. My thanks to Dean Richard
Matasar and to Professors Charles Collier, Richard Delgado, Joe Feagin, Jeff Harrison, Cynthia Lee,
Lyrissa Lidsky, Sharon Rush, Chris Slobogin, Hernn Vera and Walter Weyrauch for reading and

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