This review of Mary Dudziak’s hugely important book contends that the author conflates the struggle for civil rights in the United States with the struggle for black majority rule in Kenya. While the two struggles are linked by white domination and the quest for blacks to free themselves from that domination, the book fails to interrogate and contextualize the limitations of equal protection norms for minorities in two vastly different political milieus. Dudziak does not problematize Thurgood Marshall’s blind insistence that the independence Kenyan constitution accord the economically dominant and oppressive white minority in colonial Kenya the same equal protections that he sought for marginalized blacks in the United States. While the latter would enhance the likelihood of racial equality in the United States, the former would freeze white privilege in Kenya and doom any real chance at social transformation.
Human Rights Quarterly
Copyright © 2009 The Johns Hopkins University Press. This article was first published in Human Rights Quarterly 31.4 (2009), 1146–1155. Reprinted with permission by Johns Hopkins University Press.
Makau W. Mutua,
Mary L. Dudziak's Exporting American Dreams: Thurgood Marshall’s African Journey (book review),
Hum. Rts. Q.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.buffalo.edu/book_reviews/46