Summer reading list: Equal protection and discrimination


Author: Joshua Thompson

In the coming weeks some of the PLF attorneys are going to blog on some books that we recommend for the summer.  While some of the books may be more appropriate for the those interested in legal issues, I hope that a lot of the books will also be appropriate for the layman interested in ideas of liberty, property, natural rights, environmental policy, equal protection, free enterprise, and other PLF areas of expertise.  Without further ado, here are three books I recommend for those interested in discrimination and equal protection issues.

1.  Diversity: The Invention of a Concept by Peter Wood.  I recently finished reading this book, and I found it so wonderfully insightful that I cited it throughout a recently filed brief in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.  Professor Wood, as the title suggests, tackles the concept of diversity — from a historical and anthropological starting point through to a modern and "progressive" one.  He explains how the current strive for diversity is a very modern invention that began with a singular opinion by Supreme Court Justice Powell in Regents of the University of California v. Bakke.  But the book is much more than a historical recitation of events.  Professor Wood argues in favor of a colorblind government by laying bare the philosophical foundations of progressive "diversity."

2. Affirmative Action Around the World: An Empirical Study by Thomas Sowell.  As I've written before, Sowell is one of the premier writers on race in American today. In this book, he examines affirmative action policies around the globe and convincingly demonstrates how governmental policies based on skin color lead to racial strife, antagonism, and economic deterioration.

3. The State Against Blacks by Walter E. Williams.  This is one of those eye-opening books the first time you read it.  It was one of the first books I read on race in America, and remains equally poignant today.  While the book does not center on preferential government programs, it explains how otherwise race-neutral laws (taxi-cab licensing) disproportionately fall on blacks.  While the book is over two decades old now, the principles Williams discusses remain prevalent in America today.  I highly recommend this book that to anyone interested in the racial economics of the regulatory state.