Racism vs. the Promise of America



Theodore R. Johnson, Senior Fellow and Director, Fellows Program at the Brennan Center for Justice

Date and Time

December 2, 2021 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM


RSVP Required.


Online, via Zoom

About the Seminar: Structural racism threatens the principles that undergird the American creed. A national, multiracial solidarity is the best means of mitigating racism’s effects. The sociopolitical strategies of Black America – grounded in moral claims consonant with the creed but fashioned to be in alignment with contemporary national interests – provide a model for the type of solidarity the United States desperately needs.

This argument is explored in detail in When the Stars Begin to Fall. Through an examination of political science and sociological frameworks, alongside personal and historical narratives, it argues that structural racism is a crime of the state, that color-conscious policy is preferable to colorblindness, and that the American civil religion is central to national solidarity. Concluding with policy recommendations, the book offers the next step forward on the intractable issue of racism.


About the Speaker: Theodore R. Johnson is a senior fellows and director the fellows program at the Brennan Center for Justice where he researches the intersection of race, electoral politics, and American identity. He is also a retired Navy officer, holding a variety of positions such as A White House Fellow in the first Obama administration and as speechwriter to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. His first book, When the Stars Begin to Fall: Overcoming Racism and Renewing the Promise of America, was published in June.



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