Racism and Resistance

Essays on Derrick Bell's Racial Realism

Edited by Timothy Joseph Golden

Subjects: African American Studies, Social Movements, Religion And Politics, Philosophy, Politics
Series: SUNY series in African American Studies
Hardcover : 9781438485973, 308 pages, November 2022
Paperback : 9781438485966, 308 pages, May 2023

Alternative formats available from:

Table of contents

Tommy J. Curry

Introduction: I Want My Ham
Timothy J. Golden

Part I: Racial Realism, Religion, and the Negro Problem

1. The Last Decade of Derrick Bell’s Thought
George H. Taylor

2. Derrick Bell and the “Negro Problem”
Bill E. Lawson

Part II: Racial Realism and Legal Theory

3. From Psychology to Resistance: Racial Realism and American Legal Realism
Timothy J. Golden

4. A Rock and a Hard Place: Interest Convergence for the Racial-Religious Minority
Audra Savage

Part III: Racial Realism and Hope

5. The Authority of Hope: Hopeful Illusions in Brown v. Board of Education and Beyond
Vincent Lloyd

6. Between Hope and a White Body: The Challenge of Racial Realism and Interracial Love
Desiree H. Melton

Part IV: Racial Realism and Theology

7. Rethinking Hope: The Importance of Radical Racial Realism for Womanist Theological Thought
Keri Day

8. Liberalism, Christendom, and Narrative: Paradox and Indirect Communication in Derrick Bell and Søren Kierkegaard
Timothy J. Golden

Epilogue: Critical Race Theory as Paradox: The Propositional and the Poetic
Timothy J. Golden


Essays providing a multi-disciplinary look at Derrick Bell's thesis of racial realism.


African American legal theorist Derrick Bell argued that American anti-Black racism is permanent but that we are nevertheless morally obligated to resist it. Bell—an extraordinary legal scholar, activist, and public intellectual whose academic and political work included his employment as a young attorney with the NAACP and his pivotal role in the founding of Critical Race Theory in the 1970s, work he pursued until he died in 2011—termed this thesis “racial realism. ” Racism and Resistance is a collection of essays that present a multidisciplinary study of Bell's thesis. Scholars in philosophy, law, theology, and rhetoric employ various methods to present original interpretations of Bell's racial realism, including critical reflections on racial realism’s relationship to theories of adjudication in jurisprudence; its use of fiction in relation to law, literature, and politics; its under-examined relationship to theology; its application in interpersonal relationships; and its place in the overall evolution of Bell’s thought. Racism and Resistance thus presents novel interpretations of Bell’s racial realism and enhances the literature on Critical Race Theory accordingly.

Timothy J. Golden is Professor of Philosophy at Walla Walla University.