Does Race Matter? Minority Groups and Political Representation

Thursday, November 19, 2009 - 4:00pm
Salomon 101
Lani Guinier & Jim Sleeper

In her now-infamous speech to the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor declared, "Whether born from experience or inherent physiological or cultural differences ... our gender and national origins may and will make a difference in our judging." Sotomayor’s statement reinvigorated a national discussion regarding the issue of minority representation in American politics.  Our speakers shine a light on this topic in addressing the question: when, to what extent and why could members of a minority group or identity better represent that group’s interests than non-members?


Jim Sleeper is a writer and teacher on American civic culture and politics and a lecturer in political science at Yale. He is the author of The Closest of Strangers: Liberalism and the Politics of Race in New York and Liberal Racism.

Lani Guinier is an American civil rights scholar and the first black woman tenured professor at Harvard Law School.

Photos below by Scott Kingsley


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Lani Guinier, Jim Sleeper, Identity Politics
Lani Guinier and Jim Sleeper with PTP Faculty Associate Corey Brettschneider