Antioch Law Journal


have been asked for my views on the civil rights agenda for the 1980s. Such an agenda cannot be proposed in a vacuum, for the roots of current civil rights problems extend deep into the nation's history. In fact, public acceptance of civil rights remedies has been impeded precisely because their historical predicates are so little understood. While the civil rights thrust has broadened to include gender, ethnic, and age considerations, the basic problems in shaping remedies continue to center around race and the nation's treatment of racial groups. This fact confounds those who had come to believe that problems of racial discrimination were behind us. Public responses to the remedies targeted at the vestiges of discrimination remain the most accurate gauge of contemporary attitudes. For an understanding of the relevance of these remedies, it is necessary to go back to the institution of slavery and note that until 1868 blacks had nonperson status under the Constitution. Overcoming that exclusion and its effects has been the fundamental objective of those engaged in eradicating our dual society. These efforts have been frustrated by stereotyped notions of race, perpetuated in one form or another, from the days of slavery to the present.