Abstract

In their contribution to this symposium honoring Professor John Calmore, Professors Robert Chang and Catherine Smith analyze the recent school desegregation case, Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1, through the lens of Professor Calmore's work. In particular, they locate this case as part of what Professor Calmore calls the Supreme Court's Racial Project. Understood as a political project that reorganizes and redistributes resources along racial lines, the Supreme Court's Racial Project creates a jurisprudence around race that solidifies the work of the new right and neoconservatives. Borrowing from Calmore's methodology, Professors Chang and Smith clarify the unspoken past in Parents Involved, challenge the paradigmatic present embodied in its plurality opinion, and then envision the uncreated future. In narrating the unspoken past, Professors Chang and Smith focus on Seattle. They examine the way that segregated neighborhoods and schools were created at the national level and in Seattle. In tracing the creation of a segregated Seattle, they pay particular attention to the unique histories of its various racial groups. Though having a greater level of integration than ever before, the Seattle of today nevertheless remains a city where Whites are the most racially isolated group, producing a city with largely segregated schools. In challenging this paradigmatic present, Professors Chang and Smith critique the neoconservative colorblind constitutional doctrine that characterizes segregated housing patterns as private choice in order to shield segregated and unequal educational opportunities from constitutional scrutiny. As they envision the uncreated future, Professors Chang and Smith draw from Professor Calmore's work on coalition building in a multiracial, multicultural world. They discuss the challenges that lie in store for people of color and for Whites. For people of color, one challenge is moving beyond the Black-White racial paradigm; for Whites, a primary challenge, one that is often ignored, is overcoming White racial bonding. They argue that Professor Calmore's methodology-clarifying the unspoken past, critiquing the paradigmatic present, and envisioning the uncreated future-can help us to figure out what must be done to achieve the kind of America that is consistent with its best aspirations, the kind of America that Professor Calmore has worked so hard to achieve.