Richard Delgado is the author of more than 180 journal articles and 29 books and is one of the most cited legal scholars on race and the law in the nation. Delgado was among those who sought to bring civil rights into the modern age with critical race theory (CRT), a body of scholarship that explores how racism is embedded in laws and legal institutions.
Delgado and others—including the late Derrick Bell, who was considered CRT’s intellectual father figure—say CRT casts doubt on many long-held assumptions by suggesting racism is not an aberration but part of the fabric of American society. Most forms of racial discrimination are nearly invisible to those who perpetrate them, according to Delgado.
A guest on numerous national television and radio talk shows, Delgado frequently writes with his wife and co-author Jean Stefancic, a Seattle University research professor. His influential books include Latinos and the Law, The Latino/a Condition, Race and Races: Cases and Resources for a Diverse America and Justice at War: Civil Liberties and Civil Rights During Times of Crisis.
Eight of Delgado’s books have won national awards, including six Gustavus Myers Awards for outstanding books on human rights in North America, the American Library Association’s outstanding academic book and a Pulitzer Prize nomination. His works also received praise in The Nation, The New Republic, The New York Times, Washington Post and Wall Street Journal.
Legal scholar and New York Times opinion columnist Stanley Fish, in describing Delgado’s book The Rodrigo Chronicles: Conversations about America and Race, says “Richard Delgado is a triple pioneer. He was the first to question free speech ideology; he and a few others invented critical race theory; and he is both a theorist and an exemplar of the importance of storytelling in the workings of the law.”
Delgado, an SU faculty member since 2008, says he’s best at writing, especially carving out new terrain, followed by teaching and interacting with young, questioning minds. He’s motivated by the idea of bringing a well-crafted text or new idea to an appreciative reader or learner.
Currently, he serves as series co-editor for two series, The Critical Educator and Everyday Law. His long list of law review publications includes everything from “Of Cops and Bumper Stickers: Notes Toward a Theory of Selective Prosecution” to “Can Lawyers Find Happiness?” and “Why Universities are Morally Obligated to Strive for Diversity: Restoring the Remedial Rationale for Affirmative Action.”