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Why Difference is the Future of Civil RightsWhat is the future of civil rights?Like a living thing, discrimination evolves, adapting to its time. As discrimination becomes more individualized, as difference becomes more pronounced, we need a civil rights that is attuned to the way identity is performed today. Outsiders is filled with stories that demand attention, stories of people whose search for identity has cast them to the margins. Their stories reveal that we need to refresh our vision of civil rights. Taking its cue from religious discrimination law, Outsiders proposes two major changes to civil rights law. The first is a right to personality. Identity comes from within. The goal of civil rights law should be to take people as they come, to let each of us determine who we are and how we relate to the world around us. The second change is a shift in how the law responds to discrimination. The critical question driving equality law should be whether there is space to accommodate a person's identity. Accommodations are about respecting difference, not erasing it. Accommodations are a way to bring outsiders in. Outsiders seeks to change the way we think about identity, equality, and discrimination. It argues that difference, not sameness, should be the cornerstone of civil rights. Mixing doctrine and theory, art, and personal narrative, Outsiders proposes a civil rights for everyone. Being different is universal. We are all outsiders.
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