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culture of silence, pervasive racism, structural racism of contemporary legal education


It seems to me that by drawing on the myth of Prometheus, Harry Arthurs has struck an important chord that we may find will resonate throughout the papers that are to be presented today. Particularly, by emphasizing the idea of being "unbound," President Arthurs has opened up a conversation that is premised upon the connection between law and freedom. I propose to take up and expand that conversation and, hopefully, to give it a significantly different orientation. Specifically, I want to identify and attempt to come to terms with an issue which, I fear, does not engender sufficient concern within the legal community: the manner in which contemporary university legal education perpetuates and reinforces "the culture of silence," and, more generally, the way in which Canadian society seems unwilling to acknowledge the pervasiveness of racism. To substantiate these propositions it will be necessary for me to oscillate between theoretical reflection on the one hand, and practical suggestions on the other. My presentation will be structured as follows:· Part II is a reflection on the nature and ramifications of the historical context in which we currently find ourselves, what I broadly identify as "modernity." The third part of my paper develops, briefly, a critique of contemporary university legal education. Part IV connects this critique with what can be described as the existential malaise of modernity and tentatively develops an alternative, reconstructive vision. Part V concretizes this vision through some tentative proposals that are designed to confront the structural racism of contemporary legal education in Canada. In Part VI, I will return to the theme of sameness and difference, while Part VII demonstrates that reconstruction is not unprecedented, even for law.