Foreword: Why Retry? Reviving Dormant Racial Justice Claims

Two familiar arguments oppose lawsuits and legislative efforts to address racial injustices from our national past, and a third tacit argument can be discerned. “Why open old wounds?”: this question animates the first argument. The evidence is stale – this expresses the second argument. The third, less explicit objection reflects worries that exposing some gross and unremedied racial injustices from the past will reveal the scale of imperfections in the systems of justice and government and thereby undermine the legitimacy of those systems. To introduce the meticulous and passionate essays in this Colloquium, I elaborate and respond to each of these questions. Like the Colloquium authors, I think it far more important that public attention come to these issues than that any particular remedy be secured. For inattention has been the insult laid upon the injuries of the past.