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October 11, 2011
The legal academy lost a giant with the passing of Derrick Bell, who pioneered the Critical Race movement and changed the way many academics think about how the law works. I think Bell's theories apply widely to different doctrinal areas of the law, including contract law. For example, I think we are seeing Bell's interest convergence theory in action in that many of the predatory lending (and contracting) practices that wreaked so much havoc on the economy were first targeted toward racial minorities. The government didn't act, however, until the interests of majority homeowners converged with minority homeowners - not just in terms of the lending practices becoming widespread, but the foreclosures that have a contagion effect.
R.I.P. Professor Bell.
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Thanks so much for posting this, Nancy. It's great that the blog is recognizing Professor Bell's tremendous contributions to legal theory.
I had the great pleasure of getting to know Derrick Bell a little bit while I was a student at NYU. My journal published a review of one of his books, and I was the editor tasked with seeing the review through our process. The author and I decided to approach Derrick Bell to see if he had any comments and in the hope that he might write a response. He was extremely pleasant and supportive, grateful to have a review of his book published, but alas, he declined the opportunity to publish with us.
In all my interactions with him, he radiated kindness, and even though there is a certain fierceness to aspects of his writings, that kindness is what I associate with him.
Posted by: Jeremy Telman | Oct 11, 2011 4:55:40 PM