Editor's Note: This Essay is a response to Justin Driver, Rethinking the Interest-Convergence Thesis , 105 NW. U. L. Rev. 149 (2011).
Professor Derrick Bell was one of the most influential constitutional scholars of the last fifty years. He helped create a genre of legal scholarship—critical race theory—and pioneered storytelling as a scholarly method. His insights spurred civil rights scholars as well as thinkers in other fields. One of his most important legacies—he died on October 5, 2011—is the interest-convergence thesis, which asserts that, historically, African Americans gained social justice primarily when their interests converged with the interests of the white majority. Many scholars not only accept the validity of Bell's thesis but also extend its application to other contexts.
In a recently published article, Rethinking the Interest-Convergence Thesis, Professor Justin Driver calls this legacy into question. After acknowledging the prominence of Bell's scholarship in general, and the significance of the interest-convergence thesis in particular, Driver vigorously criticizes the thesis. He argues that it suffers from "four analytical flaws":