• Feb 23, 2008

Seeking a Color-Blind Society: Is It Possible?

  • 9:00 AM
  • Ames Courtroom, Austin Hall, Harvard Law School, 1515 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02138

Sponsored by the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race & Justice as part of the Harvard BLSA Spring Conference

The recent Supreme Court decision involving voluntary integration public school programs in Seattle and Louisville has sparked a renewed debate concerning the meaning of the 1954 decision, Brown v. Board of Education. Are we striving, as some members of the Court seem to hold, to be a color-blind society in which we no longer see color because we no longer look at it? Or must we continue to observe the late Justice Harry Blackmun’s admonition, “In order to get beyond racism we must deal with race.”

What are the benefits and consequences of being color-blind in the face of pervasive racial disparities that continue to characterize American society? To what extent are new models necessary and viable in addressing these issues, and which show the greatest promise of succeeding in the 21st century? This panel will discuss and debate whether there are areas of agreement that unite us, and whether we have a vision of the future of America that allows race to be an important and constructive aspect of our discussions.


  • Professor Charles Fried, Beneficial Professor of Law, Harvard Law School
  • Judge Nancy Gertner, U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts
  • Phil Mazzocco, Assistant Professor of Psychology, Ohio State University at Mansfield
  • Professor Charles J. Ogletree, Jr. (Moderator), Jesse Climenko Professor of Law, Harvard Law School; Founder and Executive Director, Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice
  • John Payton, Partner, WilmerHale
  • Theodore M. Shaw, Director-Counsel & President, NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund

Panel at HLS discusses how to achieve a color-blind society – HLS News

Project Implicit