53 UC Davis L. Rev. Online 1 (2019)

handle is hein.journals/usdlro53 and id is 1 raw text is: 










UC DAVIS LAW REVIEW ONLINE


         Metamorphosis: A Minority

                     Professor's Life

                          Richard Delgado*

   This article is a dark, semi-autobiographical takeoff on a famous novel
by Franz Kafka. I use the predicament of Gregor, the central character in
The Metamorphosis, as a thematic metaphor to explain a series of events
in the life of an outwardly successful man of color teaching law. It proceeds
in a series of 37 short vignettes told in the course of a bedside conversation
in which my young firebrand Rodrigo turns tables on his usual foil and
straight man, the Professor, and asks him a few questions about his life
and career. Until now, the two had focused on the young man's ideas and
prospects. In an expansive mood, with nothing better to do, the Professor
spills the beans. What emerges is a tragicomic description of a middle-aged
academic who has come to realize, with a shock, that he is undergoing a
jaw-dropping transformation.
  For the analytically inclined, the story's prime lesson is that just as race
is a social construction, the self-concept and even the soma of a person of
color are functions of thousands of racially inflected interactions with fellow
humans beginning at an early age. The arrow of social construction, in
other words, works both ways, not one. Literature shows this as well.
  Second, minorities who succeed by the standards of their profession face
increasing pressure to revert to their rightful places on the evolutionary

   I Copyright  2019 Richard Delgado. John J. Sparkman Chair, Culverhouse
School of Law at University of Alabama. Thanks to Jean Stefancic, David Hathcock, and
Chisolm Allenlundy for incisive comments and suggestions.


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