Article Title

Militant Covering

Publication Title

Washington University Journal of Law & Policy


In Militant Covering, Paradise considers the much-debated question of "authentic" black identity as manifest in the debate over whether Barack Obama is "black enough." He contends that "the cultural legacy of black power—black pride in black identity—has taken precedence over what was black power's organizing and governing goal: increasing black power." Paradise shows that legal scholars urging "rights to difference" ironically then have missed one of the central goals of the Black Power movement. Borrowing Kenji Yoshino's term, he contends that blacks may "militantly" cover in the service of "gaining access to the economic and social capital that is critical to improving the circumstances of black people." Obama, then of course, is a "model case of covering and power." Paradise then uses this insight to intervene in the "rights-to-difference" debate, engaging claims by Richard Ford, Barbara Flagg, and Kenji Yoshino about identity and its broader political meaning.