22 Harv. C.R.-C.L. L. Rev. 301 (1987)
The Ethereal Scholar: Does Critical Legal Studies Have What Minorities Want

handle is hein.journals/hcrcl22 and id is 307 raw text is: THE ETHEREAL SCHOLAR: DOES CRITICAL LEGAL
Richard Delgado*
What does Critical Legal Studies (CLS) have to offer racial
minorities in their quest for social justice? More generally, what
legal theory or program best meets the needs and desires of
minorities? Any acceptable theory must be radical, or at any
rate progressive, one would think, since minorities want to
change the world. Although CLS purports to be a radical the-
ory,' minorities have not flocked to it. And CLS has not paid
much attention to minorities, not placing racial questions on its
agenda until this year, ten years after its formation as a legal
This article suggests that the current schism between CLS
and minorities results from a fundamental difference between
what CLS proposes and what minorities seek in a legal theory.
Part I describes what may be called the negative and positive
aspects of the CLS program, and explains why they are trou-
blesome for minorities. Part II reveals how a common theme of
the CLS critique-the advocacy of informality-ignores the
need for structure in containing and eliminating racism. The last
section of the article describes what a radical political program
must include to serve the interests of minorities, and outlines
the social arrangements that could best provide the safe and
decent conditions necessary for minorities to flourish.
* Professor of Law, University of California, Davis. J.D., University of California,
Berkeley (Boalt Hall), 1974.
'See, e.g., Hutchinson & Monahan, Law, Politics and the Critical Legal Scholars:
The Unfolding Drama of American Legal Thought, 36 Stan. L. Rev. 199, 199-202
(1984); Sparer, Fundamental Human Rights, Legal Entitlements, and the Social Strug-
gle: A Friendly Critique of the Critical Legal Studies Movement, 36 Stan. L. Rev. 509,
509-10 (1984).
2 Approximately 40 minority lawyers, law students and law professors, out of a
total of approximately 150 people, attended the 1987 annual meeting of the Conference
on Critical Legal Studies. (The minority attendance at previous meetings has been much
smaller.) The topic of the 1987 annual meeting was race. The program was entitled The
Sounds of Silence: Racism and the Law.

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