National best-seller, Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word
In the wake of his controversial national best-seller, Nigger: The Strange Career of a Troublesome Word, Professor Randall Kennedy of Harvard Law School sits down for an exclusive 30-minute interview with Steve Murphy and grapples brilliantly and judiciously with another stigma of our racial discourse: "selling out," or racial betrayal, which is a subject of much anxiety and acrimony in Black America. Kennedy begins his exploration of selling out with a cogent, historical definition of the "black" community, accounting precisely for who is considered black and who is not. He looks at the ways in which prominent members of that community--Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, and Barack Obama, among others--have been stigmatized as sellouts. He outlines the history of the suspicion of racial betrayal among blacks, and he shows how current fears of selling out are expressed in thought and practice. He also offers insight and advice from successful African-Americans to the next generation of black leaders about these issues.
Professor Kennedy is a tenured scholar and author at Harvard Law School where he teaches courses on contracts, freedom of expression, and the regulation of race relations. Mr. Kennedy was born in Columbia, South Carolina. For his education he attended St. Albans School, Princeton University, Oxford University, and Yale Law School. He served as a law clerk for Judge J. Skelly Wright of the United States Court of Appeals and for Justice Thurgood Marshall of the United States Supreme Court. He is a member of the bar of the District of Columbia and the Supreme Court of the United States. Awarded the 1998 Robert F. Kennedy Book Award for Race, Crime, and the Law, Mr. Kennedy writes for a wide range of scholarly and general interest publications, and sits on the editorial boards of The Nation, Dissent, and The American Prospect. A member of the American Law Institute, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Association, Mr. Kennedy was awarded an honorary degree by Haverford College and is a former trustee of Princeton University.
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Professor Randall Kennedy
Harvard Law School