49 DePaul L. Rev. 673 (1999-2000)
Complicity and Complexity: Cosynthesis and Praxis

handle is hein.journals/deplr49 and id is 683 raw text is: COMPLICITY AND COMPLEXITY: COSYNTHESIS
Peter Kwan*
Theorists are often accused of not having much to offer to people
engaged in political struggles.1 This is an accusation frequently made
of critical or postmodern theorists whose language is perceived, often
correctly, to be difficult to comprehend and uselessly alienating.2
Without wishing to defend critical or postmodern theorists against this
accusation (even though I believe it to be defensible), in this article I
wish to offer a counter-example to this accusation. I wish to begin this
article by grounding it on a narrative about an actual public event. At
this event, and as a member of the invited guests, I witnessed a rather
* B.A., LL.B, LL.M (Hons.) (Sydney), LL.M (Columbia). My deepest gratitude goes to my
research assistant, Travis Wise, for his invaluable service and friendship on this and many other
enterprises. Good luck Travis.
1. See Eric K. Yamamoto, Critical Race Praxis: Race Theory and Political Lawyering Practice
in Post-Civil Rights America, 95 MICH. L. REV. 821, 825 (1997). In recounting the case of Ho v.
San Francisco Unified School District, No. C-94-2418-WHO (N.D. Cal. Mar. 8, 1996), where a
group of Chinese Americans challenged the legality of a school district's desegregation order,
Yamamoto notes:
Interestingly, progressive race theorists have not joined lawyers and activists behind the
scenes or in the litigation trenches. Nor has their work, which critically interrogates
questions of race, culture, and law, informed the framing, concepts, or language of the
suit ....
The Ho litigation, I suggest, reveals a disjuncture between progressive race theory
and frontline political lawyering practice ... Yet, with much to share and with racial
conditions in the balance, progressive theorists and lawyers seemingly fail to connect in
meaningful ways.
Id. at 825-27.
2. See Kenneth Lasson, Scholarship Amok: Excesses in the Pursuit of Truth and Tenure, 103
HARV. L. REV. 926, 943 (1990).
Let us suppose that the purpose of law is the betterment of society. Although it is hard
to see how the esoterica so often offered up by law reviews has any measurable applica-
tion to real-life problem-solving, let us assume these writers do have something serious
to say that may be of value to society's decisionmakers, whether it is about law and
literature, critical legal studies, feminist law - or dog bites in South Carolina. Is there
any justification for not saying it with greater clarity?
All too frequently the language of scholars is far removed from the emotions, lan-
guage, and understandings of the great majority of human beings, and the law they
seek to analyze, criticize, explain, or change is lost in a sea of verbal molasses.

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