Dignity is the most compelling value in racial reform. Racial inequality is expressed as an ongoing attempt to deny minorities dignity. Dignity requires that to truly have freedom and equality, each of us has equal ability to exercise our fundamental freedoms. In order to ensure that this is possible, persons must possess the material wherewithal to exercise that freedom. The government, in order to combat racial inequality, must ensure that persons have the capability to live a “safe, well-nourished, productive, educated, social, and politically and culturally participatory life of normal length.” This approach requires structural changes in the obligations of the state, and promotes a culture of racial equality that traditional race jurisprudence is unable to realize. This article presents a dignity centered model of racial empowerment, and explores and critiques its viability.
GW Paper Series
Chicano Latina/o Law Review, Vol. 26, 2006