The Third Reconstruction: An Alternative to Race Consciousness and Colorblindness in Post-Slavery America

78 Pages Posted: 14 Feb 2008


This article establishes a foundation for changes to an American jurisprudence based on universal human dignity instead of the present race-conscious law and policy. In guiding such contemporary reform, there should be minimal reliance on the concept of race and the illusion of a racially divided humanity. Instead, Americans should turn to a new conception of humankind, one that emphasizes the commonality among all individuals. This theory is deemed "humanity consciousness" - a mental transformation necessary to the universal recognition of human dignity and to the effectuation of universal human dignity by legal discourse.

This article argues that the equal protection doctrine's focus on "equality" and "race" has failed to move America's disadvantaged groups past the remnants of a post-slavery world. It also asserts that a colorblind application of constitutional principles fails such groups because it ignores the reality of continued subordination of racialized people in America. A shift in emphasis from the Equal Protection Clause to the Privileges or Immunities Clause would best redress violations for all based on the principle of dignified treatment to all people. Ultimately, the intention should be to set forth a post-racialized, reconstructed vision of humanity and make the case for its support under the Constitution.

Keywords: Constitutional law, humanity consciousness, race-conscious law and policy, equal protection, Reconstruction, Privileges or Immunities Clause, post-slavery America

Suggested Citation

Magee, Rhonda V., The Third Reconstruction: An Alternative to Race Consciousness and Colorblindness in Post-Slavery America. Alabama Law Review, Vol. 54, No. 2, 2003, Available at SSRN:

Rhonda V. Magee (Contact Author)

University of San Francisco ( email )

2130 Fulton Street
San Francisco, CA 94117
United States
415-422-5055 (Phone)

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