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Racial Culture A Critique By Richard T. Ford Princeton University Press/$27.95 Stanford Law School professor Richard T. Ford argues against society’s emphasis on diversity and cultural rights, both in the discourse of group cultural difference and within the moral and legal arguments that promote what he calls “rights-to-difference.” The resulting discussion of race within a legal framework is refreshing. Ford claims that the recognition of group cultural difference — combined with the forced assimilation of these groups — actually perpetuates these differences. He further contends that it creates an adverse effect on the rights of supposed beneficiaries of these policies. Under affirmative action policy, for example, Ford writes that by recognizing cultural differences, group members are forced to occupy confining social roles. He argues that racial consciousness must be narrow and limited to “its most formal and empty definition.” Ford also examines the effect that ideas about group difference have in the context of legal rules, and suggests reforms for antidiscrimination law. — The American Lawyer TORTURE A Collection Edited by Sanford Levinson Oxford University Press/$29.95 These 18 essays from lawyers, political theorists and social scientists include contributions from Alan Dershowitz, Ariel Dorfman and Richard Posner. Edited by University of Texas School of Law professor Sanford Levinson, the book is comprehensive and thought-provoking. Levinson divides the essays into four sections. The first, “Philosophical Considerations,” includes an essay by Michael Walzer, who explores the notion of “dirty hands” — how leaders remain faithful to moral principles. In the second, “Torture as Practiced,” authors write about the history of torture in the United States, Europe and South America. The third section, “Contemporary Attempts to Abolish Torture Through Law,” explores the Israeli General Security Service’s interrogation methods. In the last, “Reflections on the Post-September 11 Debate About Legalizing Torture,” Dershowitz, Posner, Elaine Scarry and Richard Weisberg debate torture in the 21st century. — The American Lawyer

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