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Professor Derrick A. Bell's book, Faces at the Bottom of the Well: The Permanence of Racism, challenges tenets and ideals deeply held by civil rights organizations and by the larger liberal-integrationist community. Professor Bell charges that white society has never relinquished, and more importantly, will never relinquish, a deep-rooted racism, and that there has been, even in recent history, no true diminution in racial discrimination.

I will endeavor to counter Professor Bell's claims by examining the historical record and by interpreting current American culture. Critics have yet to give Professor Bell's claims the fully objective assessment they merit, although one can always characterize the dispute as a "glass is half empty or half full" problem. I will therefore confront something quite deeper which is at stake, something unspoken, but implicit in Faces: its perspective, its attitude toward the future, and its view of the roles of strategy and law in race relations.



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