Miriam Harris: Elena Kagan’s Weak Cultural Competence

No one is more delighted than I am that esteemed presidential historian, Annette Gordon- Reed will join the faculty at Harvard Law School. Despite the fact that she was recruited by then Dean Elena Kagan, I respectfully disagree with Charles Ogletree that Elena Kagan is a good choice for the Supreme Court.

Ogletree argues that from 2003 until the end of Kagan’s deanship in 2009, the number of African American students matriculating rose to an all time high. I am sure this is accurate, but how relevant is it?

Do these numbers speak to the quality and caliber of student life? Are Harvard graduates fully engaged and can they provide an effective and vigorous understanding with matters pertaining to race? Or, are they merely defenders and justifiers of the status quo?

I suggest that Professor Ogletree look at the April 30, 2010 blog post written by Diane Lucas. Ms. Lucas was a guest blogger for FEMINISTE and authored a piece entitled, "The Racist Breeding Grounds of Harvard Law School". Lucas wrote this article to discuss the racist behavior of Stephanie Grace, a graduating student, and to discuss her own experience as a Black student at HLS. Lucas critiqued Kagan’s leadership before she knew that Kagan was the U.S. Supreme Court nominee.

 

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