The DEI Podcast with Max Gaston

by Max Gaston

The DEI Podcast at Notre Dame Law School explores concepts of diversity, equity, inclusion, culture, belonging, and justice as they arise in law and key social and cultural issues. The podcast is hosted by Max Gaston, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Notre Dame Law School.

Podcast episodes

  • Season 2

  • Stereotypes, Representation, and Real Talk: Black Law Students Speak Out

    Stereotypes, Representation, and Real Talk: Black Law Students Speak Out

    In this episode, three students from the Notre Dame Black Law Students Association join Max for a lively discussion on the power of representation in law school, the complexity and pervasiveness of stereotypes, and contemporary social issues in the Black community, the legal profession, and beyond.

  • JUST ACTION: How to Challenge Segregation Enacted Under the Color of Law

    JUST ACTION: How to Challenge Segregation Enacted Under the Color of Law

    In his best-selling book, The Color of Law, Richard Rothstein demolished the de facto segregation myth that Black and White Americans live separately by choice, providing the most forceful argument ever published on how federal, state, and local governments gave rise to and reinforced neighborhood segregation. Aware that twenty-first-century segregation continues to promote entrenched inequality and underlie our most serious social problems, Richard has partnered with housing policy expert Leah Rothstein to write JUST ACTION: How to Challenge Racial Segregation Enacted Under the Color of Law.  JUST ACTION provides bona fide solutions, based on decades of study and experience, that activists and their supporters can undertake in their own communities to address historical inequities, and shows how community groups can press those in government and the private sector that imposed segregation to finally take responsibility for reversing the harm, creating victories that might finally challenge residential segregation and help remedy America’s profoundly unconstitutional past.

  • Stop Making the Business Case for Diversity

    Stop Making the Business Case for Diversity

    In recent years, the business case for diversity has emerged as the go-to argument for why organizations should prioritize diversity in their recruiting efforts. Though most organizations don’t feel the need to explain why they care about core values such as innovation, resilience, or integrity, when it comes to diversity, lengthy justifications on the value of hiring a “diverse workforce” have become the norm. At Boston University's Questrom School of Business, Dr. Oriane Georgeac researches how individuals respond to organizations’ messages about diversity and their justifications for why they value diversity in their workforce. Her findings show that organizations relying on a business case to justify diversity among their ranks may inadvertently alienate and hurt their efforts to recruit members of historically underrepresented communities.

  • Protecting Law Clerks from Harassment

    Protecting Law Clerks from Harassment

    Judicial clerkships are typically characterized as an unadulterated good—lifelong mentor-mentee relationships between judges and law clerks that confer professional benefits. But little information exists to help law students identify positive work environments and avoid judges who mistreat their clerks. At the Legal Accountability Project, Aliza Shatzman works to ensure that law clerks have positive clerkship experiences, and to provide resources to those who do not. In this conversation, Aliza describes her personal experiences with gender discrimination, harassment, and retaliation by a former DC Judge. Aliza also explains how Title VII of the Civil Rights Act does not extend to federal judicial employees, the need for greater diversity within judicial chambers, and the work LAP is doing to support greater judicial accountability. Topics covered with timestamps: · 3:01 – Discussing what clerkships are, how they are messaged, and how students go about getting clerkships. · 8:23 – Aliza discusses her experience with harassment and mistreatment during her judicial clerkship and the reputational harm inflicted on her by her former judge following her clerkship. · 13:11 – Discussing the power disparity between judges and law clerks and how that disparity and the threat of retribution and reputational harm makes it difficult for law clerks to speak out in the face of mistreatment. · 17:17 – Discussing the mental health consequences for judicial law clerks who are mistreated by judges. · 19:32 – Aliza explains how she went on to found the Legal Accountability Project following her negative clerkship experience. · 22:22 – Discussing the problem of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act not extending to federal judicial employees and the role Law Schools can play in protecting students who will go on to be law clerks. · 30:55 – Discussing the importance of judicial ethics and the state of the judiciary overall regarding ethics and accountability. · 34:04 – Aliza discusses the centralized clerkships database being developed by the Legal Accountability Project—tech that democratizes information about judges so law students have more information about judges before making decisions on where to clerk. · 37:39 – Discussing the lack of diversity in judicial chambers and the hiring practices of judges as reported in the recent publication, Law Clerk Selection and Diversity: Insights From Fifty Sitting Judges of the Federal Courts of Appeals. · 43:27 – Aliza discusses the benefits of diversity in judicial chambers to support fair and equitable legal problem solving. · 46:24 – Discussing the role of judges in judicial reform and the work of the Legal Accountability Project.

  • The Danger of Racial Color Blindess

    The Danger of Racial Color Blindess

    Have you ever heard the phrase “I don’t see color,” when talking about race or ethnicity? Color blindness is the idea that ignoring or overlooking racial and ethnic differences promotes racial harmony and helps us treat people equally. But research shows that color blindness does just the opposite and can actually cause more harm in our interactions with people of different backgrounds. At the Questrom School of Business at Boston University, Dr. Evan Apfelbaum researches color blindness and uses behavioral science to reveal the challenges and potential of diversity and social change. In 2012, Dr. Apfelbaum published an article entitled “Racial Color Blindness: Emergence, Practice, and Implications." He has since published several papers on race, diversity, and how we relate to one another. Max and Evan discuss the findings of Evan’s 2012 paper and their importance today, including why color blindness is unsuccessful as a strategy for making race relations go smoothly. They then discuss the recent Supreme Court ruling striking down affirmative action in Students for Fair Admissions vs. Harvard, which was based on the view that the law requires racial color blindness in admissions decisions. Topics covered with timestamps: 2:10 - The growing relevance of color blindness as a decision making tool and the phenomenon of avoiding race as a social interaction strategy to try to be more culturally sensitive. 5:20 - Understanding and defining racial color blindness. 6:15 - A summary of the research and findings in “Racial Color Blindness: Emergence, Practice, and Implications," (Evan P. Apfelbaum, Michael I. Norton, Samuel R. Sommers, Current Directions in Psychological Science, Vol. 21, No. 3 (JUNE 2012), pp. 205-209) and how those findings hold up today. 9.53 - Discussing the mistaken belief that color blindness can prevent prejudice and discrimination. E.g., “the way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race” ~ John Roberts, Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court. 14:30 - Discussing how people do notice race when perceiving others, and why nevertheless by the age of 10 color blindness becomes children’s main approach for dealing with race. 18:00 - Discussing how color blindness can facilitate and justify racial resentment, thereby creating more bias in attitudes and behaviors. 21:58: Discussing how White individuals who ignore race come across as less trustful and more likely to be prejudiced to Black conversation partners. 24:23 - Discussing the affirmative action decision in Students for Fair Admissions and how universities and other organizations must now rethink their approach to diversity. 30:58 - Discussing the educational benefits of diversity using research findings on diverse juries vs all white juries. 35:27 - Discussing the problematic trend of using diversity as a reference for everyone except straight white men. 40:29 - Discussing fairness and the finding that when race is made salient, many White people shift from viewing color blindness as “everyone should have equal outcomes” to viewing it as “everyone should receive equal treatment, regardless of existing race-based inequalities.” 44:51 - Discussing the different concerns of liberals and conservatives when it comes to topics like fairness and affirmative action. 47:36 - Discussing how liberals and conservatives don’t actually have starkly different values on a whole but rather different understandings and concerns of fairness in relation to diversity. 49:25 - Discussing multiculturalism as an alternative approach to color blindness. 53:12 - Discussing Dr. Apfelbaum’s current research on how promoting diversity affects people's beliefs on fairness and meritocracy in decision making processes.