The Miner's Canary, by Lani Guinier and Gerald Torres

Deep underground, miners need a way to monitor the purity of the air. Before technology offered precise monitoring instruments, miners brought canaries with them. When the air became toxic, the canary would be affected long before the people. Just so, Lani Guinier and Gerald Torres argue, problems faced by people of color, poor people and women indicate danger in the cultural environment. What affects them first eventually affects us all.

Guinier, a professor at Harvard Law School, and Torres, a professor at University of Texas Law School, creatively envision ways to change toxic cultural and political environments so that the "canaries"--and, by extension, everyone--can thrive. Instead of putting tiny gas masks on the canaries, they say, cleanse the air so that both miners and canaries can stay healthy.


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